How long should they practice?

Ben Le said: Apr 14, 2020
 1 posts

Based on what suzuki book you are on how long should you pracitce?

Jennifer Visick said: May 13, 2020
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1072 posts

This is (probably) not the answer you’re looking for.

  1. ask your teacher for a level-and-age-appropriate “it”

  2. change it till it’s better, then practice it till it’s easy

  3. but not longer than 80% of your current longest attention span without a significant break (multiple practice sessions a day is fine, though)

  4. but not more than 3 hours total in a single day

Jennifer Visick said: May 13, 2020
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1072 posts

This might be more like the answer you’re looking for.

Absolute beginners:

5 minutes at a time (or less), 2 to 10 times a day, depending on age, maturity level, attention span, motivation, other stresses, family and peer support for practice, etc.

These are huge ranges because the physical age, mental age, emotional age, the goals, and the personality, as well as the other stresses and responsibilities and interests in a person’s life, alongside their family dynamics, job or homework load, and the quality of the tools and teachers available to them vary so much.

Book 1:
20 to 420 minutes a week, at least 1 minute a day, but never more than 2 hours in a single day

Book 2-3:
130-530 minutes a week, at least 1 minute a day, but never more than 2.5 hours in a single day

Book 4-5:
180-540 minutes a week, at least 1 minute a day, but never more than 3 hours in a single day

Book 6 & beyond:
360 to 1080 minutes a week, at least 1 minute a day, but never more than 3 hours in a single day

Alan Duncan said: May 17, 2020
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
81 posts

So much depends on age, level of advancement, temperament and probably more important than any of these variables—quality of practice.

We began with maybe 15 minutes/day at age 3, 30 minutes/day by the end of Book 1. By the time my daughter got to Book 4, it was 60-75 min/day. Right now, it’s around 2 hours/day (age 11, violin Book 10.)

I’d rather a half-hour of focused practice than 2 hours of ineffective work. If, for whatever reason, we have less time available on a particular day, then we work extra-hard to focus on high priority tasks. That way, neither of us feels guilty about putting in subpar effort.

Barbara Eadie said: May 21, 2020
Barbara Eadie
Suzuki Association Member
Flute
Victoria, BC
39 posts

I like to focus on tasks to complete rather than number of minutes practiced. This eliminates clock watching and helps the student focus on a specific goal. I have a chart that is fill in during the lesson with each activity listed and a place to check off the items as they are completed each day. Items on my chart include tonalization, scales, arpeggios, piece, studies, etc. depending on the level of the student’s achievement. I will often ID a specific measure or measures to play a certain number of times while focussing on a particular skill. I find that the practice is much more productive this way. Students can get stickers, etc. at the next lesson for completed charts. As a teacher, you can arrange it so that the assignment takes approximately the number of minutes you feel is appropriate for the student’s age, so they still will get the required number of minutes in per day.

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