A Simple Practice Scheduling Hack That Couldn’t Possibly Be as Effective as It Seems

A Simple Practice Scheduling Hack That Couldn't Possibly Be as Effective as It Seems

In my experience, practice room culture in music schools is a bit like the gym. There are people around at all hours of the day, but you’ll see a consistent group of folks who train in the morning, a different group of folks who always work out in the evening, and a few dedicated gym rats who are there at both ends of the day (or maybe they never left???).

So here’s an interesting hypothetical. Let’s say that you could practice 2 hours a day for the next week. Would it be better to do 2 hours in the morning? 2 hours in the evening? Or 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening? Or does it even matter?

Well, a recent study provides some intriguing clues that might just change how you plan your day.

A Metronome Practice Strategy for Musicians Who Hate Metronomes

A Metronome Practice Strategy for Musicians That Hate Metronomes

I imagine every musician has been encouraged to practice with a metronome at some point. And there are plenty of articles out there listing the reasons why metronome practice is important.

But I never liked practicing with a metronome. It was boring and annoying. Maybe it would have been different if instead of a beep or click, it was a quacking duck, but regardless, I dreaded the metronome and secretly tried to break more than one in my youth.

But then I recently stumbled across a handful of studies which found that golfers, soccer, and tennis players benefit from practicing with a metronome. Which made me go wha…???

How to Give Students Critical Feedback Without Crushing Their Confidence

One day, not so long ago, my wife and I sat down with our resident 5th grader to review his homework assignment – an essay about Christopher Columbus. The idea was to give him feedback on how to make his next draft even better.

It probably sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to do – except that when it comes to schoolwork, he does not like to hear what Mommy and Daddy have to say. He’s exceedingly receptive to feedback if it comes from a teacher, coach, or pretty much anybody else. Just not us.

So he err…expressed his displeasure.
It wasn’t the first time, so after he calmed down, we asked him about his reaction. As it turns out, something about the way we give him feedback comes across like a put-down (apparently, we have “a tone”). Instead of feeling supported and pushed in a positive way, he gets a message more in the vicinity of not trying hard enough, not good enough, and not “smart.”

Which I imagine must sting a bit.

So that led to a bit of a quandary. Do we stop providing feedback and leave this to his teachers at school? Or simply praise him for his efforts and leave it at that? Or sandwich less challenging bits of feedback between praise of mediocre work?

None of the options felt right. So I wondered…what does the research say? Is there a way to maintain high standards and provide critical feedback to people without crushing their motivation or self-confidence?