New term, new year and possibly new musical resolutions. Are you seeking inspiration to get your new year off to a good start? If learning a musical instrument is a new year resolution of yours, Xanthe B (Year 6) has some excellent advice about the power or perseverance required. All our budding young musicians would do well to heed Xanthe’s guidance on how to tackle their music practice at home between lessons, especially with such an exciting term ahead of us.
In the weeks ahead, there are informal soloists’ concerts for all the year groups in Prep, a Performing Arts Showcase for Year 2, the SVPS Orchestra weekly ensemble rehearsals and individual music lessons starting again. As well as this, all our groups will be starting to prepare their performances for the Spring Concert later this term. These performances will give them, as well as our choirs, an opportunity to show off the results of their hard work.
Here are Xanthe’s suggestions for how to make the most out of your practice time:
‘When I was younger, I won a Head’s Prize for ‘Quiet Perseverance’. Comparing my Year 1 self to how I am now, I’m not so sure about the quietness, but perseverance I think may have stuck with me. Everyone has the power to persevere, and it is relevant to many aspects of life – such as athletics, developing artistic skills, and for me in particular, music! When I am given a new piece to play on my violin, more often than not, I cannot wait to get started! Picture this: you have just been given a new piece to play (if you don’t play an instrument just imagine you do). What’s your first reaction? If it is something about how hard it looks, then think outside the box, rather than waiting for the treble clef to swallow you all up! If staring at a page that is swarming with musical notes really daunts you, just try and play the first bar. It probably won’t be perfect, but you have made a start. Play it again and again, really paying attention to getting it spot on, then play the next bar with the same method as before. Before you know it, you’ll have played most of the piece!
You can use the same technique with a lot of other subjects, like breaking parts of a drawing up in Art or learning keywords for Science. However, what happens when you lose motivation? We have all been there – that annoying moment when everything that was going well then just falls apart – how do we deal with it? Firstly, try not to fry up all your ambition and feed it to that hungry treble clef who didn’t get its snack earlier on. Just do something you are good at! Play something that you enjoy, take a quick walk around the room, and there are loads more ideas that will help get you back on track.
Above all, just enjoy it! Yes, it may take time, but you will be pleased with it in the end. Now, I might go and practise my violin.’