Practice Makes Perfect
The dreaded moment when you turn to your child and say,
"It's time for you to practice for an hour".
Every parent that wants the best for their child has said this.
Afterall, you're spending decent money on music lessons, and you want your child to make the most of it.
Perhaps concern enters your head about your child's motivation to sit down and practice?
It's best to dismiss this thought quickly. Even graduated adults have trouble sitting down and doing what's best for them without some sort of incentive.
Speaking of incentives, in an ideal world, the act of practicing would be a reward in its own right, or the ability to perform an exercise or piece perfectly would be the prize, but alas, this is not always the case.
Is an hour of practice ideal?
Once again, in an ideal world, one solid hour of practice cannot be beat. Keeping your focus and stamina for 60 minutes works wonders for your life physically and intellectually. But! We do not live in a perfect world.
The law of diminishing returns works against us, as well as distractors (tv, phone, sunny days, etc).
Naturally one starts to think,
"If the private lesson my child attends lasts a half hour, then indeed, this should be the duration of each practice session."
But truth be told, it can be hard to do a solid half hour for the reasons mentioned above.
So, what if in just 5-10 minutes, 3-5 times a week, we see long lasting and sustainable results?
It's not only possible, but highly probable that this habitual form of practice shows results. This is called "Spaced Practice", and it leads to improved rote memory of the studied material.
The studies are mounting and and it makes complete sense that after a few moments of learning/practicing that your brain needs time to digest the material.
The one BIG catch is that those 5-10 minutes absolutely must be completely engaged and free of distraction. One must be actively practicing, meaning that repetition must be deliberate with the intention of reaching a goal.
Mindless practice of the C minor scale for 10 minutes will not achieve too much. Yes, it's important to understand the scale, but a conscious repetition of the scale, in preparation for a challenging passage in the key of C minor, will work wonders.
So, you can send your child to practice for 5-10 minutes, provided they practice with a goal in mind.