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Matova Music School

Champaign-Urbana-Savoy, IL  

Matova Music Studios
   Champaign-Urbana-Savoy area IL

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Practice: A time for discovery and awe

Posted by Nelly Matova on October 18, 2019 at 10:15 AM

The main problem for all students learning an instrument is practice time. It is a struggle for all involved: students, teachers, parents. Seen as a recurring burden, it takes away from the real meaning of learning an instrument. And what is that real meaning?


            During practice time one discovers many things.

1. Wow! -- interesting music, if I could only manage not to make errors

2. Maybe I can try just this measure a few times so I become better at it

3. Wow, I made it better!

4. I actually am getting good!!

5. What is the real mood of this music? Do I feel it?

6. Do my hands move smoothly?

7. How are my fingers feeling and looking?

The list is endless. The point here is that we do not just repeat stuff with a bored mind, thinking about other things and staring at the clock. For success we need to engage the brain, listen to our sound, continuously ask ourselves questions and give the answers back in sound.

Feel each of your movements. You will be amazed how smoothly the body works when playing an instrument. The smallest movement creates such a lovely gentle sound. You think your fingers cannot do this? Well, the good news is, they can, everyone can do this. BUT… only a few are really patient enough to observe themselves and give their body time to refine these movements, given by nature. So: don’t sabotage yourself. Give your fingers a chance to do what they need to do.

The take-away here is: for a lack of real effort leads nowhere. Since when is brain effort considered difficult and painful? Often looking at students thinking and focusing during lesson I feel they are in discomfort. Why?? Is is that difficult to navigate seven notes in a scale??

A desire for constant fun and brainless activity creates a generation that expects everything instantly and without effort. It prevents our children from understanding and feeling things of real value, it robs them from cultivating sophistication of the mind, soul, emotions, and senses. It robs them from discovering their limits and pushing them. It robs them from developing real self-esteem. And, in the case of learning and instrument, it robs them of a lifelong friend.

Practice is a process of discovery: about music, and about oneself. Practice gives balance, calms the soul, gives a sense of improvement, feeds curiosity, and builds character. Listen to the sounds you make and ask questions, answering them with sounds: are my notes even? Do my fingers move easily? Do I keep the tempo?

Discovery is a process. Life is a process. Discovery makes life interesting. So now, maybe practice time will be a discovery time full of surprises.

Happy discovery time!

Categories: practicing