This month, I asked 3 well known teachers for their input on the practice issue. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to examine it from all sides and that is what these teachers have collectively done (although there are undoubtedly more sides to this complex issue!). Andrew Eales (on the cover) and blogger at Pianodao.com digs in deep as he dissects what might really be going on when students are not practicing. He provides a lot of food for thought in his article Let's Talk About Our Practice Expectations.
Notes with Nick
Nick Ambrosino is also back with some soul searching advice as he answers another question in Notes with Nick.
12 Ways to Motivate Students to Practice
Are there things we can do, as teachers, to help motivate our students to practice more (and practice more effectively)? Jennifer Foxx shares her thoughts on this in 12 Ways to Motivate Students to Practice. While we have all probably used at least some of these ideas, you will most likely find at least one or two new ideas (and maybe more) that you haven't tried yet.
Breaking News! Practice Isn't Always the Answer
Tracy Selle approaches things from a different angle in Breaking News! Practice Isn't Always the Answer. This thought provoking read might challenge everything you thought you knew about the place and importance of practice in lessons. Definitely worth your time.
More Than ‘Just Blues': How a Handful of Pieces Changed My Studio
In 2012, I was working with a piano coach. We were working on some blues riffs. Little did I know when we started that work how it would impact my teaching (in a positive way). Those riffs became short compositions that I use with me students even now. They have become confidence boosters, motivators and so much more. Learn more about my story in More Than "Just Blues" How a Handful of Pieces Changed My Studio.
Play to Learn: Let's Play! By Michael Katz
Michael Katz brings some improv ideas this month focusing on using chords in his column Play to Learn: Let's Play! He starts at the beginning, with a unique way of teaching students to find the notes in a major chord and goes from there. Chords are so important for students to learn and these exercises are a great way to develop improv skills while learning them.