Topic of the Week-Practice

Musicians practice to gain technical proficiency, learn new repertoire, develop musical interpretation, memorize music, and prepare for performances. Based on available empirical research, we set out appropriate practicing and learning strategies that can be incorporated into regular music teaching to encourage students to become autonomous learners. Research demonstrates that practice is more effective when musicians engage in metacognition (reflecting upon their own thought processes); employ mental practice in combination with physical practice; approach practice in an organized, goal-oriented manner; study and analyze scores; plan relatively short and regular practice sessions; are intrinsically motivated; and listen to appropriate musical examples including professional recordings and/or teacher demonstrations. Students may also benefit from understanding the relationship between time spent practicing and achievement, and the nature and the importance of motivation. The old adage practice makes perfect may not necessarily be true, because repetition of ineffective practice strategies can yield disappointing results.


Nancy Barry and Susan Hallam(2002), The Science & Psychology of Music Performance



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