Review: 101 Practice Tips

Lesson resources, Practice, Reviews, Tips

The subject of practicing is one that I have always been fascinated with and in turn have read and used many resources. I have even done a practicing camp session with my students a couple times and highly recommend doing something like it with your students. There are many great materials out there on practicing, but I haven’t come across anything as family friendly as a new book by Tracy Capps Selle called 101 Practice Tips.

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101 Practice Tips has tips that will help a brand new student to a student that have been taking lessons for years. It is not only chock full of 101 practice tips, but the ideas are short and easy to understand. Matter of fact, the layout even lends itself for some fun. A student can pick a number from a hat, use a random number generator or app and then use that practice tip that day or for a particular piece. Use a different tip each day! Try doing all 101 practice tips within 101 days!

101 Practice Tips are divided nicely into sections. Here are some samples of what you will find…

  • Introduction  (A short encouraging note from Tracy)

The Top Ten Things You Can Do Right Now  

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Create a Great  Environment  

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Make a Plan  

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Attitude is Everything  

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How to Encourage More Practice

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Make it Fun: Accountability

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Find Opportunities for Your Child to Perform

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How to Help Older Students

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All Practice Does Not Need to be at the Piano

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Things to Remember

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Tips from Kids

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Tips from Parents

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Help! My Child Wants to Quit Piano Lessons

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101 Practice Tips is an e-book that is available through the Kindle app. The kindle app is pretty much available on any mobile device in addition to Mac computers (not sure about Windows).

101 Practice Tips has a price tag that is affordable for every family to own a copy in their home. Whether you are a piano/music teacher, parent, student of any age, this book is a must have! I will be highly encourage families in my studio to purchase. For $2.99 there is no excuses, really.

Tracy has kindly offered to give away a copy of this book to a teacher! To enter please comment on one of your favorite practice tips that you like to share with your students. Deadline to enter is by Sunday, February 9th; 10:00pm (az mountain standard).  Giveaway has expired.

UPDATE  Turns out you CAN read via the kindle app from your PC as well! Check this link out here to explain how you do it.

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  1. Sheryl

    Looks like a great book and a great addition to every student family! Thanks for the great review, Jennifer!

  2. Debbie

    Be a cheerleader! A child’s confidence and self esteem boosts when they hear a parent telling someone of their child’s piano success.

  3. Cindy

    Five minutes is better than none! The hardest part is starting,

    Excited about the book!!

  4. Robbin

    Wow! Who DOESN’T need more ideas on encouraging students to practice?

  5. Robbin

    Oops – here’s my practice tip – have the student play a piece for anyone who walks into the house. “You have GOT to listen to this.” Of course this only works on pieces that are polished, but it’s a real morale booster. My own children (when they were very advanced) once had a teacher who asked them to play for a appliance repairman who appeared during their lesson!

  6. Beth T

    We have played Jennifer Fink’s “Musikopoly” for 3 years (not consecutive). It’s amazing what the kids will do for a little circle of paper to glue on their game sheet! My favourite tip is that I give double “Bach Bucks” if the first practice happens within 24 hours of the lesson – we all know that’s the most important practice of the week, & leads to fantastic retention & a much more productive week. Productive weeks make for happy students!

  7. Karen

    If I don’t win it here, I think I’ll buy it. I’m always looking for good ways to inspire my students to practice daily. I use music moneys to reward practice which are then used to purchase an item from my prize box

  8. MrsLorrie

    I have 2 Favorite Practice tips I teach all of my students.
    The first … Is simply taking a small chunk of the piece (2-4 measures) and repeating. BUT — I call it X-treme Repitition and have them record how many times they can play the section within a certain amount of minutes … Usually 3 , 5 or 7–& then they try to beat their record !!
    Second method is Lila ( or Larry ) the lizard. I bought several cute mini rubbery lizards in diff colors at a party supply store. You place Lila/ Larry on a piano key on the far right hand side ( 8-10 keys from the last key ). Play your selection. If played correctly, move Lila one key to the right. If incorrect, to the left. Continue until the lizard is off the keys.

    Would love to win this book. Always looking for new tips & hints to help my students.

  9. Robyn Harris, MT-BC

    Looks like a great resource! My practice tip: For those that say, “I just don’t have any time!” I ask, “Do you have a favorite show that you watch?” Most say “Yes…” So, I suggest that every time a commercial comes on during their show, they go and play one of their pieces (or phrases) 5 times. If they don’t have a show, we decided to do it every time they brush their teeth, or after each meal, etc.

  10. Ashley

    This sounds like a great book. I often use practicing by sections, starting slow with the metronome and bumping up the tempo when the section is perfect at each consecutive speed. It takes time but it becomes a game to get the section accurate and up to tempo before practice time is over. It makes the section learned thoroughly, perfectly, and makes memorizing much easier.

  11. Anita B

    Looks like a great resource! I encourage my students to practice their pieces slowly and to break the songs down to smaller more manageable sections. Stickers on their practice sheet and working towards prize box items always seem to help the younger ones.

  12. Merri

    I encourage reluctant practisers to time their practice. Then, as they improve their pieces they can see how much less time it takes by the end of the week. Not only are they spending less time practising, but they have a measurement for how much they have improved by putting in the effort.
    Sadly, I find it more difficult to get the parents on board with practise, so using the tips in this book will hopefully be very useful.

  13. Karen T

    I encourage a lot of spot practicing of difficult passages.

  14. Lisa Lukas

    I saw this idea on a piano blog a while ago, and wrote it down because I loved it!! Now…I can’t remember which blog I saw it on, in order to give credit…so please chime in, because I think it’s so great! Thanks! 🙂 Anyway…here it is: (Taken from Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret & adapted to piano practice): The student gets a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hangs it on a prominent wall. The next step: get a big red magic marker. Each day that the student practices, they will put an X over that calendar day. After a few days they will have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. They will like seeing that chain, especially when they get a few weeks under their belt. Their only job next is to not break the chain!

  15. Beth Yantz

    For a recurring problem note/rhythm/pattern or whatever, I tell my students to focus on getting that one (very) little detail correct. The other notes/rhythms/patterns in the song are “irrelevant” for this 1 time through. If they get the problem area correct, we celebrate as if the entire piece was perfectly performed. If an error occurs elsewhere in the song, I comment that it’s o.k, because that wasn’t our current goal, and we can catch that another time. What my students and I have observed is that because the goal is very attainable with no consequences for other parts of the piece not being done perfectly, they not only successfully execute the trouble spot, they usually improve the overall performance of the piece. Focusing on that one thing gets them doing one ultimately more important thing. Focusing! Who’da thought?

  16. Nicole D

    Start from the end and work backwards, and break practice into shorter sessions if you just can’t fit in the full block of time.

  17. Michelle D

    Looks like a great book. You can never have too many practice ideas. :o)

  18. Rebecca

    This looks great! My favorite practice tip is twofold: to schedule practice time or do it at the same time every day, and to practice for smaller chunks of time more often as opposed to fewer longer sessions. Thanks!


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