The first post

A blog about practice, for musicians and the people who love them.

The first post.

A couple of days ago a Facebook friend posted an article titled “Why Students Really Quit Their Musical Instrument (and How Parents Can Prevent It).” http://www.musicparentsguide.com/2015/02/17/students-really-quit-musical-instrument-parents-can-prevent/ . Among other things, the article suggests that kids quit playing a musical instrument because their parents don’t know how to support their practice.

That’s when I knew that I had something to contribute to the conversation.

You see, I have been a flute teacher for 20 years. Before that, I studied music since the age of 5, earning both Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Flute Performance. Perhaps most importantly, I’m the parent of two children who take music lessons.

Practicing an instrument is something I think about… a lot. It’s something I talk about with other parents whose kids take lessons and it comes up daily in my private studio of flute and recorder students. Adults who take lessons have a lot of the same questions.

“How long should a practice session be?”

“Every day?”

“How exactly do you ‘woodshed’ hard parts?”

“What should I do if the practicing causes anxiety, anger, frustration,…”

“How do I motivate my kid (and/or myself)?”

“Is all this (effort, money, struggle, equipment) worth it?”

“What does the teacher mean when she says I should ‘mark the music'”?

These questions are good ones and the answers deserve thoughtful examination. Search the web and you’ll find lists of things to try, but this blog aims to start a conversation about ideas that are practicalinspiringcreative, grounded in research, and tested in the studio.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re self-taught, learning the instrument at school, the parent of a music student, or taking private lessons, this blog is here to support the very important work that is achieved in the practice room.

Let’s begin, remembering always that the journey is as important as the destination.

Marlene Metz Hartzler

Marlene Metz Hartzler

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