* Students should aim to practice daily, though they may not reach this goal every week. Repetition builds familiarity, and familiarity brings confidence.
* Create a habit of practicing! To set a habit, try picking the same time every day. For example, try practicing after breakfast, after their favorite show (or during commercial breaks!), before starting the bedtime routine, etc. Or, tie your practice routine to another, well-established habit (right before lunch, just after dinner, before you brush your teeth, etc.)
* Practice should not be strenuous! The goal is to review songs and skills taught in their lessons. Young beginners only need 5-10 minutes practice at a time, while 10-15 minutes can help older, more experienced players. Regular shorter practice sessions are more effective than fewer longer sessions.
* While repetition in practice can be helpful, it can be a struggle for young students to do the same thing over and over. Challenge them to change it up: play your song standing on one foot, with one eye closed, holding your breath, or sticking out your tongue... the possibilities are endless!
* The goal is not to play/sing until you can do it correctly once. Practice until you almost cannot "do it wrong!" * Instead of watching the clock, students should set a goal for that practice session. Pick a measurable goal or a specific number of repetitions and work towards that. * To truly master a song, find the spots that are giving you trouble and master those first. Then, slowly integrate those parts with the "easier" parts.
* The more slowly you play or sing while learning something, the more quickly you will master it. Slow down to learn, then you can speed up.
* Don't be scared of mistakes! As a wise student of mine taught me, "Mistakes are just good information!" They are part of the journey, and help us know where we can best focus our attention. You are GOING to make mistakes as a learner. If you are scared of them, you'll be tense, stressed-out, and much more likely to make even MORE mistakes. Relax. Your mistakes are often your best teachers.