This is the first week of the spring term at the Studio and I have all of my piano students setting goals. #1: Practice ___ times per week, #2: Practice ___ minutes per day. The idea came in part from a suggestion from a parent on an assessment that I sent out at the end of last semester. She was seeking a way to keep her 7-year-old daughter more accountable at home. To paraphrase, “She loves playing and she looks forward to lessons; yet somehow she never forgets to do her homework but she always forgets to practice the piano.” In response, I created a one-page chart listing Monday-Sunday with a column for items practiced and number of minutes. The two goals are listed at the top.
It’s interesting to hear the goals these students set for themselves: most say they will aim to practice 4-5 times a week with practice sessions ranging from 15 minutes to 25 minutes. They also get a thrill adding up the number of minutes they will practice per week.
I think goal-setting is extremely important. I could dictate that my students practice 5 days a week for 30 minutes each day but I feel that it’s important for the students to set these initial goals themselves. After a few weeks of hopefully successful practicing, I might suggest that we increase those goals. This way, however, the student has the ownership. It’s not a mandate from me or from their parents, it’s a goal they themselves set out to achieve.
This is the first time I have presented practicing goals to my students so we’ll see how much they achieve in the weeks to come!