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made to realise that during practice they must endeavour to be their own teachers, and must be as self-critical as possible. The weekly criticism and guidance by the teacher are largely wasted if the pupil does not co-operate when working alone. The older and more experienced the pupil, the better he will succeed in this ; but the youngest and most elementary should have the necessity of careful listening impressed on them. Even if the result of this listening only goes as far as the detection of wrong notes, something is achieved, and in the elementary stages this is as much as can usually be hoped for.

Regularity of practice is of prime importance. It is not so much the actual amount that is done at a sitting (assuming that it is real practice) as the regularity of it which is of value. Half an hour daily is far better than two hours every third day. If a long break is made between practices, much that has been learned at one will have been forgotten before the next. For this reason, the more frequently pupils can practise, the better. Even if only a bare ten minutes is possible on some days, this should be done, as it at least keeps the pupil in touch with the work. A whole day's break will certainly cause a set-back. As to frequency and length of practice-times, these must vary according to the pupil. Beginners, especially children, need short and frequent practices. The child cannot concentrate for long, and tires quickly. In the very earliest stages as little as ten minutes at a time is enough, but preferably three times daily. Thus there is little chance of tiring, and there will not be time between the practices to forget what has been learnt. Moreover, the beginner will not have enough work set to cover a long practice-period without repetition ad nauseam. As progress is made, and greater ability achieved, the periods may be spread out and lengthened gradually to two separate half-hours a day, and then to the normal daily hour.

More than an hour's continuous practice is not to be commended. Normal people cannot concentrate properly for a longer period, and practice without real concentration is time wasted. The really advanced pupil who can do three or more hours' practice a day should be advised to make a break at least once an hour. This gives the brain a rest, and one is able to resume feeling refreshed.

Variety in practice is essential or staleness results. To work at one point for, say an hour, is undesirable, as the continuous repetition induces fatigue, and probably boredom. It thus becomes mechanical, which is fatal. It is far better to work at one point for a certain time, and as soon as any sign of fatigue is felt to take a rest and then proceed to something entirely different, returning to the original matter later.

Practice, like lessons, should be properly planned out. It is obviously best to begin with technical matters while the brain is fresh. Technical exercises, studies, &c., get the playing apparatus in good order, and pave the way for good performances of pieces. Similarly, singers would begin with breathing exercises scales, &c. The most mechanical things should always be taken first, as while the mind is fresh there is less risk of merely mechanical work. Pupils must be impressed with the fact that in no case must practice be merely mechanical ;

To be continued

 

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