Practice Tips for Learning to Play an Instrument

Practice Tips for Learning to Play an Instrument

Detail from Still Music, 1948, Ben Shahn (1898-1969)


Does your child have a passion for learning an instrument?  Is daily practice an enjoyable part of her life?  Does she like to perform?  Learning to play an instrument is an excellent way to develop creative thinking, self-expression, perseverance, and responsibility.  If music is an important part of your lives, you will appreciate the following advice from virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell (via Kaufman Music Center).  He shared his knowledge with students at the Special Music School, New York City's only K-12 public school for musically gifted children.  Read more at Kaufman Music Center’s overviews of his sessions. 

Practice:  The more the better.  Joshua practices wherever and whenever – at home, in hotels, even at airports between flights.  “You feel good after you practice.  It’s just getting started that’s the hard part.  It’s like jumping in the water.  Sometimes you don’t want to jump in the water because it’s cold, but you know that once you get in, it feels great.”

Focus on challenging passages:  “Work on just one section at a time, until you can play it five times in a row without a mistake.” 

Improvisation:  “Even in pieces that you know, there’s a sense of improvising.  It should sound very spontaneous.  There’s an art to sounding improvised, which is very important.  Music should always sound as if you’re making it up at the moment.  You’re telling a story.” 

Tips for Learning to Play an Instrument

Contact Information

Debra Lemieux

If Then Creativity



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