'Once Upon My Cheek'

'Flight of the Bumblebee'

End of Year Dances

Upcoming Performances

The Road to Independent Practicing


Everyone who responded to a study said that practicing is difficult!

Also, everyone indicated that it is an immensely valuable arena to learn life

skills.  Numerous studies keep finding how practicers benefit academically as well as artistically from their instrumental music.


  1. At first, for the “Twinkler” stage, simply copy the lesson together with your child.  (See note taking at lessons) Do this daily as well as you can,  creating a routine for practicing and listening.  
  2. Next, you may learn in lessons with your teacher four ways of practicing:  Tonalization, Review, Preview and Repertoire.   When it’s time, we will add two more ways to practice: reading and Improvisation.
  3. Your next goal is to have practice patterns and listening routines  well established in your household.  Aim to become productive in each of the categories at home. 
  4. With your teacher, you start cultivating independance. You can begin by having your child practice one category on their own for a week.  How did that category play out in the lesson? Next, have your child prepare a different category.  Later, practice all the categories one day on your own that week.  This requires clear, specific notes including numbers of repetitions, and/or a number of minutes for each category.  Work with your teacher on this.   It’s fine, of course, for you, the parent and practice partner, to be close by, folding laundry, cooking, chopping vegetables, reading the news, etc.
  5. Have your child begin to use some of the practice techniques in the practice room (See practice techniques below)  Over time,  we continue to cultivate habits of daily listening and practicing.  We continue to support a young player to make appropriate decisions in the practice room.  We cultivate the ability to evaluate oneself.  You will learn about this in lesson and class time.





-You can decide to practice at least 5 days a week without being reminded


-You can remember to listen at least 4 days a week without being reminded


-You can tune your cello accurately


-You can use practice techniques other than “Play Through” most of the time


-You can come to your lesson having improved somehow in all the categories


-You can repeat things in the practice room at least 3 times before doing something else


-You can make adjustments in posture, tone, or intonation without helpful support


-You can evaluate what you are doing and what you are hearing.



Which of these skills 

would you like to develop this year?








Practice Techniques


Tonalization-Review-Preview-Repertoire-Reading and Improvisation

Each category is different way to practice


Experiment with the “texture” of a practice session…Start with easiest? Hardest? End with something satisfying and successful  


Some very common practice techniques are:


Spot Practice

Phrase practice

Section practice

Tempo of Control


Creative Repetition 

Concentrating on:

best intonationrhythms

best intonation of ___fingerdynamics


bow placementvibrato

bow planningmaking it easy

bow holdrelaxed weight

bow armswinging elbows

best toneFeet planted….etc.



You can also try:

Starting somewhere other than the beginning

Play the sections of the piece out of order, scrambled

Practice “Backwards” phrase by phrase, or section by section

Play something 100X

Create a “workout”

Listen and Play


Some Advanced practice techniques:

These all require lesson and/or class time, when you’re ready


Technique of the Pie

Cross Training

Revolving Concentration

Technique of “success at any cost”

Architecture of a phrase