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Fight COVID’s Mental Toll with a Practice Routine

COVID hit hard in March. To borrow from Gandalf the White, COVID “threw down [our routines], and [they] fell from the high place, and broke the mountainside where [they] smote it in [their] ruin.”


Ouch...

Parents have been searching for new routines for themselves and their music students. There are good reasons to make sure we have established routines in place. Benefits of routines include:

  • Stabilizing our body clocks, which have been thrown out of whack (Psychiatric Times)

  • Predictability of routines reduces anxiety (Childmind.org)

  • Routines make us feel safe (this is especially true for children!) because we know what to expect.


Now is a great time to put practice to good use!

When it comes to practice I encourage adult students to schedule their practice time, and for parents to set their children’s practice schedule as needed. Creating a practice schedule for young children is especially important. Here’s why:

  • They enjoy their lessons more

  • Takeaways from their weekly lessons are massive in comparison to students who practice inconsistently

  • Playing improves so quickly and dramatically that they begin to stand out among their peers who lack practice routines

  • Students feel their own achievement, developing self-esteem and agency

  • Private music lessons are, among other things, about developing skills. A Practice routine makes skill development possible.


If you’re setting a practice schedule for a child, it’s important not to conflate scheduling with telling someone how to practice. Students learn how to practice at lessons. If you’re at a Suzuki lesson receiving instruction on practicing with your young child, that’s different.


Adult students can claim benefits from practice routines too. Though, it takes effort to schedule your own routine. Then more to defend the routine's spot in your calendar! Again, the skills you’re looking for are developed over time. So, keep coming to your weekly lesson and schedule that practice time.


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