It’s very hard for me to be open minded and creative about piano practice time, because when I was small, practice was not measured in time, but in achieving a goal you set for yourself, like lightly reading a passage without mistakes and interruptions. Sometimes it took 5 minutes, sometimes an hour, tears and angry fists on the keys. Such a magical time!
Nowadays, I understand all my students are different, they all have a different process when working on something, they all have different schedules…I have to improvise and compromise to get a little lovin’ for piano.
There’s the kid who is diligent and practices everyday and you can see palpable evolution from one week to another, you are amazed and you thank your lucky star that he’s your student. You even have to prepare extra work, because there’s not much to work on, since everything is perfect. You didn’t even know you could do so many things in 1 hour.
There’s the kid who practices occasionally and is doing his best, but somehow, the homework is not completed. The task is not completely finished, you still have to work on it when you meet and maybe also a few errors occur? Frustrating, but still, he practices, so at least he’s got alone time with himself and the piano, trying to work it out, finding solutions on his own and establishing a healthy habit.
There’s the kid who is very talented and very quick to learn, he sits down for 10 minutes, covers all his repertoire and he’s done. That’s all he needs. 10 minutes. Who knew? Sometimes if he’s really paying attention in class and remembers everything he learned, if he doesn’t practice at all…you wouldn’t know it.
But then there’s also a kid who is very smart, talented even, that doesn’t practice and, unfortunately, he doesn’t remember what we worked on, especially if it’s new material and I have to teach the same lesson again, without having the guarantee he’ll remember it or practice in between classes.
Some kids will need to review their homework just once a day on a daily basis to refresh and improve their skills. And it can take (depending on his level) anywhere from 10 minutes to 30.
Other kids will need to spend more time on each piece to improve it. Anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 minutes (for beginners).
But they ALL need to fight their daily moods and get the job done, however long it takes for each one.