Practising A Musical Instrument
There are many reasons we should practise a musical instrument every day.
The benefits are scientifically proven, regardless of your perceived skill level. Playing an instrument increases the capacity of your memory, enhances coordination, boosts mathematical ability, improves reading and comprehension skills, helps to develop the ability to work in a team and empathise with others, just to name a few points.
Some of the more recent research has also found the profound effect that music has on our ability to heal, physically and emotionally. When we play, our brains produce activity found only when playing music - and these ‘happy’ brain chemicals surge to help boost mood, general well-being and immunity to illness.
We encourage students learning an instrument to practise most days of the week. It is better to practise more regularly for shorter periods, rather than wait until each weekend and do it once – as we are training our muscles as well as our brain, and the more regular the practise, the more benefits we receive.
An ideal practise session would include - warm-up activities (such as scales, arpeggios or rudiments), exercises to consolidate the understanding of key elements they are developing (such as triplet rhythms or tonguing patterns), some set pieces of music to learn (chosen for them or by them), and then some improvisation or ‘free play’ time on the instrument.
It is ideal if parents can supervise some practise sessions, especially for younger students as they can move off task quite easily, hindering progress. Even more mature students benefit from parental involvement as it can help with maintaining direction and sharing the progress to help them remain accountable.
If you would like advice or support on how you can help your son or daughter have productive and regular practise sessions, please speak with your instrumental teacher, or myself, and we can help point you towards some helpful resources.
Music Teacher and Instrumental Coordinator