2 steps forward 1 step back

April 8, 2018

Practicing is a process, and it should take all week to get through that process, so that come your next lesson you are ready to move on to a new and bigger challenge. So what do I mean when I say 2 steps forward, 1 step backward?


Each time you practice you will get better. And the better you get at practicing the quicker you will progress. This is your two steps forward. In the lesson we spend a lot of time modelling how to practice well, so that students build up the ability to critique their own playing and spot the deficits in order to fix them without the help of the teacher.


Then comes the tricky bit. After you practice and improve, you go to sleep, you go to school, you have many different lessons, you talk to friends, you get homework, you go to basketball chug, and during the process of all these differnet activities you inevitably forget some of what you learnt when you last practiced. This is taking one step back, and it's an inevitable part of the cycle. 


When you sit down to practice for the second time of the week you will be further along than you were straight after the lesson but not as far forward as you were at the end of the last practice. Remember, you have gone one step back. At this point some kids get disheartened and if they are not familiar with the cycle, will feel like giving up.


Pushing through this pain barrier, feeling the fear of not being as good as you think you 'should' be, and practicing for a second time is the most difficult thing for many of us, but this is where you really start to see the rewards of practicing. If you practice here, at this moment when you are aware of the 1 step back, you will go 2 steps forward, and this will give you the confidence that the system works.


On day 3 it will be easier to face yourself when you sit down and realise that you have gone one step backwards again, because you believe in the power of practicing and you have faith that you can push 2 steps forward just like you did yesterday.


Practicing is an art, and I can say with confidence that even as a music teacher, with many years of practicing under my belt, I am still learning. Great practice technique is the greatest gift a teacher can give their student and I hope that by helping parents understand the theory we can help build up confident and independent musicians in our young people.



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