Practice Guideline

Table of Contents

The Learning Curve

Overcoming the Learning Curve: Music Practice Tips for Young Musicians

Young music students are not just learning to practice music; they’re learning to overcome challenges and frustration. The “learning curve” of music education for children includes these three points:

  1. EXCITEMENT: Students usually start music class with energy and enthusiasm. It’s new! Excitement is the best way to start, but it doesn’t always last: they haven’t faced a challenge yet.

  2. FRUSTRATION: Young students often feel frustration when challenged. They haven’t had much practice dealing with this emotion, and the discouragement they think can make them forget the excitement they had.

  3. ENCOURAGEMENT: Young learners often need parents’ help to overcome their frustration when facing a difficult challenge. There are many strategies for encouraging your child to practice!

Support Strategies

Here are several methods to assist your child in developing effective practice habits. Please review the following music practice tips.

  • Create a dedicated practice space. It’s easier to practice in a quiet, private room. Minimize distractions during practice time to help your child focus.

  • Encourage positive reinforcement. Let your child know how much progress they’ve made! Learning is a reward in itself. Guide your child to be proud of their progress.

  • Find joy in making music. Music is fun! Clap along to your child’s practice, make practice into a game with rewards, and give praise and encouragement for a job well done.

  • Avoid negative pressure. Kids would rather play than work. Try to resist making practice time into a chore. They will practice better if they want to because it’s fun.

  • Don’t quit on a bad day. If frustration is frequent, maybe another instrument is a better choice. Make important decisions after intense emotions have faded rather than in the middle of them!

  • Keep realistic expectations. Education takes time, and each young learner is unique. Progress in small steps is still progress. Turn the page for a breakdown of appropriate practice expectations.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your MiFa Music School instructor for personalized music practice tips aligned with your child’s skill level. Alternatively, schedule a consultation session to evaluate your level.

Practice Stages and Expectations 

Different ability levels have different expectations for practice time.

STAGE 1: Weekly Showtime (4-6 years)

  • Encourage weekly musical performances at home.
  • Invite family and friends for the audience.
  • Make it special with applause, cheers, tickets, banners, and a designated stage area.
  • Being present while your child plays provides support!

STAGE 2: Daily Spotlight (4-6 years)

  • Make daily musical performances a routine.
  • Help the student find a consistent time each day to showcase their talents.
  • Encourage exploration and improvisation.
  • If sitting with your child during practice helps them stay focused, continue offering support!

STAGE 3: Daily Repetitions (5-7 years)

  • Practice a set number of times each day, exercises and songs.
  • Collaborate with your child’s teacher to establish achievable objectives and foster a sense of ownership over their progress.
  • Understand that lapses in meeting practice goals are normal!

STAGE 4: Timed Daily Repetitions (6-8 years)

  • Begin a “practice log” in which the student can keep track of daily practice and times.
  • Slow and deliberate practice—accuracy and detail—is possible for this age range.
  • Encourage students to strive for more extraordinary achievement and judge when improvements are made.

STAGE 5: Beginning Timed Practice

  •  Aim for 5-15 minutes of practice each day. Continue the practice log.
  • Encourage practice of old material as well as new. Use the “pizza slice” technique: break a song into sections and practice each, rather than practicing from the start.
  • Metronome practice is encouraged, as well as independent, self-motivated practice.

STAGE 6: Intermediate Timed Practice

  •  15-30 minutes for daily practice sessions.
  • Warm-ups, scales, exercises; work on assigned pieces; completing music theory homework.
  •  Memorization; prep for performances. 
  • Self-motivated improvisation.
  • Sightreading exercises.

For more detail, check out our essay on how to develop awesome music practice habits for children.