I have a music student who just won’t practice.
Okay, to be fair, I have a lot of music students who refuse practice. But one child taking piano lessons literally never practices at home. Ever. She doesn’t touch that piano until she’s sitting in that lesson room in front of her teacher. However, she miraculously spent last Saturday at home drilling her songs over and over and over. The reason?
When this student shows up at her regular weekly music lessons on Fridays, she plays through the song once, trips over the difficult parts, throws her hands up in frustration, and tells me, “I don’t know where to put my hands.” I tell her, “Your pinky goes on the ‘G’.” She bangs her pinky on the ‘A’ over and over without even looking at the piano to know whether she’s playing a G, an A, or a Y, and gives me an exasperated look that says, “I am! What do you think I’m doing? See? G!”
Music lessons are tricky animals. Every music student is different. Every student has his or her own personal struggles when it comes to learning an instrument. Some learn more quickly than others. Some absorb music education like a sponge, practice like crazy, and end up learning five different instruments throughout their tenure in music lessons. Some spend six weeks on the same two songs, like my piano student.
But when faced with a performance opportunity, even the laziest students suddenly practice their songs. When I told my piano student on Friday that she had to play in front of other students on Sunday at our monthly repertoire class, she looked at me with eyes the size of dinner plates.
And she practiced.
When she showed up at rep class on Sunday, she played through her two songs flawlessly. She even had one memorized.
That’s the power of performance in music education.