Everytime we get to the beginning of the year, we sort of “reset”, whether it be the beginning of a school year, or calendar year. I’ve had a lot of parents asking me lately how best to get their child back into the groove of practicing after the holiday break. So, here are a couple of my own thoughts.
For one, I think it’s great to take a little break from the piano during the holidays. Of course, we love our students to play for family, but I like the idea of my students getting a little break from regular practicing. The downtime is really essential to prepare for what’s coming ahead in the spring semester. With the exception of Spring Break, we go straight through until May with little time to rest: there is Honor Roll, Theory Test, Achievement Auditions, and the May Recital. Without this previous downtime, our students would most definitely lose motivation and would not make it through these important events!
Secondly, I think with all of these upcoming studio activities and the teacher’s new-found energy (teachers appreciate Winter Break too!), students naturally get pumped about the spring. It’s these events and incentives that help motivate our students. Honor Roll rewards our students for the work they put into their studies. The other part of the reward is merely preparing and participating in the special events.
Point being, I strongly believe that both teachers and students need a little down time before gearing up for a huge semester. We had a great break, now it’s time to set our goals! Our students will need a little extra encouragement and reminders to practice, and it make take a couple of weeks to really get back into the groove. Help them by establishing a routine for practice- set reminders to practice and then, be their personal cheerleaders! By the end of May, they will be so proud of how hard they worked and all they accomplish. This is what we gain by learning an instrument!