I’ve been bragging on my students significantly the past few weeks. It pretty much came back to haunt me last week. Holiday weeks are always hard for most of my students. They get so hyped up about whatever exciting is going on that they just can’t/don’t focus like they need to. I’m pretty sure they all put in their practice time, but the lack of focus during that time and during their lessons was obvious. With the recital so close this was a bad time to lose a week. It’s rare that I end up saying that lesson was bad to the student or parent but it ended up repeated endlessly last week.
So as we head into the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas how do other teachers keep the disruptions to a minimum? Festival season is just around the corner and we don’t want to lose too much preparation time.
I’ve found the most effective check point is to have the parents listen to the students practice more often during times of distraction. Even if you don’t read music or play an instrument you can hear if progress is being made or if it sounds sloppy or even if there are wrong notes. You don’t need to listen to the entire practice session but a quick drop in will keep them honest. If you aren’t home when a student practices have them record their final run through of each piece at the end of their daily practice and then compare it to the previous day. Does it sound better?
Everyone has an unfocused lesson once in a while, but if that lesson is preceded by a week of unfocused practice then it goes from unfocused to ill-prepared. Let’s try to keep ourselves in check during the upcoming mayhem of the holiday season and to continue to progress in our musical education.