Music Perception

How much practice should my child be doing?

I prefer to ask how often, as frequency makes a big difference in a student’s progress. For beginner piano students, 15 minutes a day, 5-7 days a week is all that is required. However, if there is a day that they only get 5 minutes, I prefer that over 0 minutes! If a student practices more than this, then generally they will progress at a faster pace. As a student progresses, I will advise them on how long I think they should practice, but generally when they reach the 2nd method book, they should increase practice time to 20-25 minutes a day, 3rd book 30-35 minutes a day, and 4th book 45 minutes. At the early intermediate level, they should be doing 1 hour per day of practice. Also, practice time can be broken up to have the same if not better effect. So, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after school works just as well, if not better, than all at once.

For voice students, a lot depends on where in their development they are starting, their overall health, and what level of repertoire they are learning. Most young beginners should do 15-30 minutes a day, consisting of vocalises (vocal warm-ups) and work on repertoire. If a student is not feeling well, especially if they do not have a solid technique, I strongly recommend waiting until they feel better before practicing. Without a solid technique, they can cause some damage and develop poor singing habits. As with piano, the more frequent the practice, the faster the progress. Also, voice students need to spend time listening to good singing. Since most singers on the radio do not sing with a healthy technique, I will often provide recordings for them to listen to, and should be a part of their practice time as well.