Accents Music Practice Guide

Practice Guide

At home practice is the key to long term success when learning any instrument!  Practicing the skills that your (child’s) teacher introduces at each lesson in the time between these lessons helps to solidify this new knowledge and allow you/your child to build on those skills!  We hope that this guide will help to start a solid practice foundation at home. 

It is important for parents to communicate with their child’s teacher about the amount of time they have to commit to practice each week as this helps the teacher to plan homework assignments and gauge progress.  

When should I practice?

Ideally you should choose a practice time that will allow you/your child to be consistent and habitual each day.  Choose a time of day that is not likely to be overtaken by another activity and allows enough time to complete all the homework activities laid out by the teacher. 


  • Practice while Mom and Dad are making dinner 

  • Practice right after finishing up supper 

  • Practice as soon as your homework is done for the day 

  • Practice right after you arrive home after school. 

  • Practice before tablet/phone time 

Pairing your practice with something you already do everyday helps too! 

What should I practice? 

Your teacher will email practice notes at the end of each lesson.  These notes will detail all the things that they would like you to practice that week.  It may include: 

  • Flashcards review

  • Technique (Scales, triads etc.)

  • Warm Ups exercises

  • New Pieces/Songs

  • Review Songs 

  • Theory assignments


How should I practice?

Each element of your lesson will need to be practiced in different ways.  These ways may change as you grow and learn!  We’ll list some of the ways below! 


With a parent:  Have a parent or sibling show you each flashcard so that you can name the music symbol.  

By yourself: Look at the card and say what you think the symbol is and check the back to see if you are correct.  

Make a pile of any that may be incorrect or that you forget to review! 


Play the listed scales or triads.  

Your teacher may specify a certain number of times and/or suggest a metronome marking to play them at.

If not, play it as many times as you need to so it feels comfortable (this may be once or twice, but it may take 10 times in the beginning)


Play through any pieces or songs that your teacher has listed. 


  • Start with line 1 only 

  • Name the notes

  • Clap and count the rhythm/beats

  • Play the right hand of your song 

  • Play the left hand of your song

  • Try playing hands together

When line 1 feels comfortable, repeat the process with line 2, 3, 4 etc. 

Adding 1 new line per day 

You may be asked to review a song or piece and add in dynamics (loud and soft playing), try different tempos (speed) and maybe even memorize it!

How long should I practice? 

This will vary based on level and the students goals. 

Some students will be playing just for the fun of it and will follow the lower end of the range for practice time.  

For students participating in the Kiwanis Music Festival or preparing for an examination, practice should be on the higher end of the range. 

For beginners, 10 to 15 minutes per day, 4-5 days per week is usually enough time to finish all the homework elements.

For Late Elementary students 20 to 30 minutes per day, 4-5 days per week is recommended.

For Intermediate students 30 to 45 minutes per day, 4-6 days per week is recommended. 

For Advanced students 45 to 60 minutes per day, 5 to 7 days per week is recommended. 

Another good way to decide on a practice length is to practice for 2 x your age! For a 6 year old this will be 12 minutes, etc. As they get older they will understand the need to practice a bit longer.

*Progress will be made even with 1 or 2 days a week - it will just be slower!    

Practice Tips 

  1. For young beginners we recommend that parents sit with them at the piano as they start their music journey. 

    1. The parent can let them know what to do next by reading through their homework 

    2. The parent can give praise and encouragement

    3. The parent can help them keep track of how many times they have done each element. 

      1. One trick here is to take 5 items (coins, small toys) and set them on the left side of the piano. 

      2. Each time they play their song they get to move the item to the other side of the piano.  When all the items have moved they will have played their song 5 times and will know they are done their song! 

  2. Create a welcoming practice space without distractions! 

    1. Make sure the piano or keyboard is away from televisions, computers. (Or keep these devices turned off or muted during practice time). For many singers having a private space to practice is really important while they get comfortable and confident with their voice.

    2. Make sure that piano books, a pencil, an eraser, a metronome are right by the piano for easy access when needed

    3. Decorate with images that you love and that feel artistic and musical! 

  3. Set a timer 

    1. Set a timer for the amount of time you want to practice!  When it beeps you are done!  

  4. Always start and end your practice with something you enjoy!  

    1. Start by playing/singing a review song that you really love before you tackle the new scale or song 

    2. Or end your practice by making up your own song with the new notes you now know!

  5. Create a practice routine (make a list and put it near your piano)

    1. Decide what order you want to do your practice elements 

    2. Example 

      1. One review song 

      2. Scales and Triads

      3. New song(s) 

      4. Review song

      5. Theory 

  6. Do your theory homework as soon after the lesson as possible!  That way the instructions are fresh in your mind! 

  7. Play for family and friends 

    1. Learning is always better when it is shared with family and friends

    2. Play/sing a review song when someone comes to visit!  Or show them a line of your new song that you are working on! 

    3. Video call a family member who lives far away and share a song with them!

Ebbs and Flows

There will be times when practicing is exciting and you/your child is eager to do it.  There will be other times when it feels like a struggle.  At other times students may not love the song that their teacher has assigned to help them work on a new technique or broaden their musical experience.  This is normal!  Particularly when students hit a point in their lessons that they are being challenged or don’t feel as confident.  These challenging moments are a part of the journey.  But once a child realizes they can tackle and conquer the new challenge, their confidence will be even greater! And remember, your teacher is there to support you through the challenging times.

Ideas for those times when practice is feeling challenging:

  • Parents/students can spend some time listening to new music that they’ve never heard before. Talk about what you both like and what you hear!

  • Be silly and write a song together for fun!

  • Sing some karaoke!

  • Have your child teach you how to play a few notes or sing a line.

  • Point out the things they are doing well - being brave and performing in a concert, choosing to learn a new skill, showing focus and effort, taking on a new challenge, etc.

Happy practicing and music making! ♬