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    How do you make your students practice? Any suggestions?


    It depends on how old they are. I don’t teach harp, but I do teach violin, and the first thing you need to consider is their age. Next, I would look at their technique and style.

    From here, it all depends on their level of motivation. If they are beginners with little or no motivation, I would have to bribe them (ie: “Practice these things, and you’ll get a treat next week” or “Practic this piece, and if you learn it well enough, we can move on to THIS NEAT piece!” or “Practice and I’ll take you to the upcoming ______ harp concert.” Things like that.) If they have been playing for a while (intermediate/ lower advanced players), and they have a little motivation (but not much), I would show them some of the very advanced pieces, and play parts of the pieces for them. This way they can see how neat they are, and they will perhaps stay motivated.

    I believe the key for students to have successful practice time is for it to be interesting. If you just say “Learn these pieces by next time,” then of course they won’t practice. But if, perhaps, you throw in a little bribe, or competition, etc., this should help. You must constantly put yourself in their shoes. Consider why they may or may not like practicing, and work with that.

    For more help, I would look in a HarpColumn magazine, or contact your local AHS chapter. They will help more than I will- I’m no expert.

    Good luck!


    Sometimes it is difficult to convince a student that they need to practice, and other times the student may be practicing poorly but thinking they are practicing well.


    I agree! A reward system is good for younger students, (it’s amazing what one little sticker can do) but there is NO substitute for careful, consistent practice motivated by an internal desire to learn. As a student, I remember being very motivated to earn praise from my teacher. “I am SO proud of you. You have worked so hard and listen to the music you are making!” Providing really fun short term pieces helps too, so they are not always just doing exercises and long works that take weeks to learn. I also grill them about whether they have a dedicated practice time of day. Get them to think about making it a regular part of their schedule instead of something they try to work in when they feel like it. Some of my students like a chart to fill in so they have a visual record of the days and pieces practiced.


    When I was learning the main push to practice came from my



    Make sure they have regular performances to work towards. I have two

    students’ recitals every year, where the students have to play solos and

    ensembles. As well, ask your students to form duets with their friends who

    play other instruments. They should be encouraged to take on as much

    performing as they can handle. There is nothing more motivating than fear of

    messing up a performance.

    If they still don’t practice, then maybe they shouldn’t be studying a musical

    instrument at all!

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