As I work on my research for my final project, I came across this gem from “The Science and Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning” by Parncutt & McPherson. If you are a practicing musician or a teacher trying to motivate your students to practice, these points are really worth taking to heart:
- Engage in metacognition—become mindful about practicing and related physical and mental processes. Be consciously aware of your own thought processes.
- Approach practice systematically. Do not go about practice haphazardly. Practice is more effective when it is structured and goal-oriented.
- Engage in mental practice (cognitive rehearsal) in combination with physical practice.
- Invest time in score study and analysis, particularly when beginning a new piece.
- Plan regular practice sessions with several relatively short sessions distributed across time.
- Acknowledge the relationship between time spent practicing and achievement and set out to invest the time necessary.
- Be aware of the importance of motivation. When teachers and parents allow students to make some choices about goals and repertoire, student motivation is likely to increase.
- Listen to high-quality models of musical performance. This is particularly important for beginning musicians. Parents and teachers should invest in a library of fine recordings and, if capable, play and/or sing often for their charges.
- Support and nurture young musicians. Parents and teachers should demonstrate keen interest and involvement in music study and practice.
I would love to hear if anyone has any further practice ideas akin to the above list, or comments on these issues.