3 Productivity Tools for the Young Piano Student
by Cassie Clouser
Even though sitting down at the piano bench is half the battle for your son or daughter (or maybe YOU are the pianist here), it doesn’t guarantee that much is going to get done! I’m here to make sure you get the most out of your practice time, and to start, here are three tools to increase productivity at the piano bench.
1) Egg Timer
When it comes time to practice, the clock on the wall can be a major distraction. I can just picture it:
“OK. 30 minutes. Let’s practice. (looks up at the clock) 29 minutes left, alright, a little more practice. What time is it? (looks up at the clock again) What? Still 29 minutes left??”
One solution to this distraction is an egg timer, and if you can find a silent one, even better. Removing clocks in the pianist’s practice area will help allow them to get in the zone.
2) Practice Journal
Journaling how long, how often, and what pieces played are all important, but I’ve found the most productive material for a young pianist to write in their journal about is success. Have them write about practice techniques that really worked for them. For example, Jason may write,
“I practiced a segment at a time instead of running through the whole piece over and over today. That made such a big difference! Instead of practicing the same mistakes over and over, I focused on my challenge areas, corrected them, and practiced the right notes!”
Journaling successful practice techniques promotes self-awareness, and affirms the success their memory. Their journal becomes a practice tool box of its own.
3) Recording Device
Yes, a young pianist can hear what they’re playing, but with a recorder, they can pay full attention to just listening to the music they’ve made. For example, Ali may be pausing awkwardly every 5 seconds, but doesn’t hear it because her focus is on note reading. Have her listen to a recording of her playing, and she may be surprised!
A recorder for practicing does not have to be fancy. You can find recorders at your local office supply store, or you can use your smart phone or tablet if you have one.
Remember to record only for personal listening. When posting on the internet or playing a recording publicly, make sure you have the appropriate copyright license.