Saturday, April 13, 2013

Practicing May Be Overrated

Yesterday I had the rare pleasure of receiving an email from a student I taught maybe 40 years ago.  He confided that he has become a lutenist and that he practices.  I take that to mean that he did not practice the piano when I knew him. At that time I was not confident enough as a teacher of children to do as I now do: I tell children not to practice and, if they do, to tell someone else.  I do this for two reasons:
  • First, I hate it when students begin our limited time together with the confession that they haven't practiced.  I can tell in an instant whether or not they have and besides that is not the critical factor in learning music.  
  • Second, I never practiced as a child so why should I require or expect it of my students?  I played all day, but that is not the same as practicing--it is better.