How to Practise Well
Have you ever had this conversation before?
Let’s call the student Lizzy for the story’s sake.
Dance Teacher: “We have been going over “x” in class for the past few weeks. Can you make sure Lizzy practices at home?”
Parent: “Yes, she practices all of the time at home.”
Either Lizzy’s mum thinks Lizzy is practising or Lizzy is not practising well.
Even if a child struggles to learn a new skill or fix a correction, if they are practising correctly on a regular basis, they will show signs of improvement each week.
If I see no improvement over a number of weeks and the parent tells me their child is practising, alarm bells will be ringing in my head!
This is where people go wrong.
Students practise their combinations or routines over and over which takes up a lot of time but if they are not stopping to fix the mistakes, all they are doing is mastering their errors by repeating them over and over.
Yes, that’s right. Mastering their errors.
Unfortunately, if you are practising errors, you are going to get very good at making mistakes and developing poor technique.
Good practice involves, slowing down, making the change and then repeating that change over and over until you get it right every time.
Nobody is too young to start practising like this.
We have private lesson students who practise this way and are under nine years old.
These are the ones that make the most improvement.
They put their music on, start their routine, make a mistake and then stop the music.
They then fix their mistake and go back to the part of the music where the error occurred so that they can try and master it the second time around.
Many practice sessions will not involve doing a combination or dance in full, rather, a small snap shot is all that will be focused on.
So how is your child practising?
Are they just repeating their combinations and routines over and over with little thought or are they finding the errors and then repeating the correction over and over until they master the finer details?
Director – Dance Stream Victoria