Getting Back into the Swing of Things

The beginning of a new school year is always an adjustment. Even if activities haven’t changed, maybe the rules at school have changed or maybe you’re in a class with unfamiliar students. Things just change. And it always takes a while to adjust into a new routine after summer, no matter how large or small the changes. Hopefully by now, the new things are just normal everyday things.

When it comes to cello lessons, it can be challenging to settle back into a routine of regular practice after summer vacation. Even if your child took regular lessons over the summer, summer lessons and practice routines are often times less structured than the school year and that also impacts practice and progress. Here are a few pieces of advice for getting back into a good routine.

Establish a routine. Pick a time of day and commit to it every day. It takes 3 weeks of daily effort to establish any habit. Then it’s routine.

Touch your cello at least once a day. Even on those days you really don’t want to practice, just play it for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about practicing your assignments. Just play and enjoy. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to practice…

Get a cello stand. This is a worthwhile investment. So many of us, students and professionals, struggle with practicing just because we need to get the instrument out of the case. A stand and dedicated cello ‘area’ in our homes helps mitigate this problem because the cello is always available and handy!

Dive in with a 100s chart. Nothing kick starts a routine better than committing to a 100s chart and completing the challenging. There are hundreds of 100s charts all over the internet. Here’s another great one based on a calendar. Have fun and make your own!

Keep Track. Write down your child’s practice for the day in a notebook. The key is to keep track and see how well you and your child have done together.

Practice is a skillKeep in mind that practicing is a skill to be developed just like learning to hold the bow. It involves many of the same steps as developing any physical skill – establishment of habit, refinement of said habit, increased endurance. Establish a practice habit but start small with achievable goals and then work up. You can’t run a marathon your first time pulling on running shoes. Your child probably can’t practice effectively for 30-minutes straight after not having a regular routine.

Establishing a routine once again will add some sanity to your life and it will make a big improvement in your child’s practice habits as well as progress. And it’s so rewarding!