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Old 12-15-2013, 11:49 PM
501 posts, read 932,749 times
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For those of you had kids who played instruments, how much time did they actually spend practicing music? And what grades?

I spent 30 minutes a day practicing music in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. It petered out from there.

Some parents are claiming their kid practices for 1 hour each night. I'm finding this a bit hard to believe.

(Please do not move to music forum. I am specifically asking this in relation to formal music education at public K-12 education.)
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:23 AM
Location: Suburbia
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In 7th grade he had to practice trumpet for 180 minutes a week. There was a log we had to sign eacnph week. He got burned out doing it and quit in 8th grade.
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:39 AM
Location: southwestern PA
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Practicing an hour a day is NOT hard to believe when the kid chooses to be in band, orchestra and marching band (my daughter), or band, orchestra and jazz ensemble (my son).

How else are you going to learn the music for those?
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:05 AM
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My kids all started playing instruments in third or fourth grade. In elementary they had a log and, like tgbwc, were required to practice so many minutes per week. That worked well, but in middle school (6,7 and 8th grades) I think the teacher was afraid to lose the kids and didn't really require much. The kids that really liked playing auditioned for jazz band and then did practice more. I would guess that they would practice an average of 20 minutes a day. Closer to the concerts, there was quite a bit more practicing at home. Our MS had small group lessons two or three times a week and full band once a week. My one son played in both the orchestra and band.

Once they got into HS, practice at home was a bit less but they had band everyday so they were playing more. During marching band season there was in school band and often before school band and of course, summer band camp.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:23 AM
Location: The analog world
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I was a high school musician and still have my old practice logs. Looks like my individual practice was about 60-90 minutes a day, more on weekends, beginning in eighth grade. To be perfectly honest, though, I was a pretty serious musician, who had my eyes on a career in performance, so I think I should be considered an outlier. I also participated in several community ensembles and studied with a private music teacher, which required a lot more practice than the standard high school music repetoire.

Last edited by randomparent; 12-16-2013 at 06:56 AM..
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:48 AM
Location: USA
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I played clarinet from 3rd through 12 and don't recall a specific time having to practice. Daughter played saxophone and practiced an hour or so a week. Son played guitar and he and I were discussing the need to practice. Noted country music guitarist Roy Clark said he practiced 6 hours daily so as to maintain his ability. Son did not aim for such skill, but, did practice a lot.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:15 AM
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My son is a senior in high school and he is practicing for his college auditions right now. He practices around 90 minutes per day, but not all at one time. I don't think that the average high school music student practices that much though.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:18 AM
Location: Mount Laurel
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I have a 4th and 6th grader that plays violin at school. They started when they were 2nd grader.

It's going to be difficult to get kids at kindergarten age to do 30-60 minutes practice a day without re-enforcement. My 6th grader never got private lesson until 3 months ago. Private lessons is quite expensive and it still doesn't mean they will play everyday. I find it important that I set aside 30-45 minutes a day where I sit in the same room listening to him practice. My son is never going to be a musician but at this stage of his life, he does have interests so I will support that interests. I would not force playing musical instruments on my kids.

I know it's quite difficult to get 1 hour in a day (especially with homework, sports and family time). This is why I elected to make practicing as part of a family activity.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:46 AM
Location: UP of Michigan
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My son started trumpet in middle school band and I was surprised when attending his first concert he had a solo on the trombone. He now plays in a number of bands and the symphony. Granted I was traveling for work but I recall very little practice at home. He is now in his tenth year as a high school band director. He is pleased to have parents encourage their kids to practice, but the new schedule requirements and funding cuts make the future of music and art quite bleak in many schools. To push kids will burn them out. They need to come to love music on their own.
My daughter has a vocal performance degree and volunteers singing and directing church groups. She played sax and I remember her practicing more at home, like 15-20 minutes at a time. Both kids had daily practice at school (before and after too). Music is an academic pursuit shown to increase math test scores, as well as study discipline. Ask the teacher for suggestions as to practice time required.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:53 AM
Location: St Louis, MO
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I am not a musician. I picked this advice up from my wife's career as a music teacher:
First, the amount of practice is going to depend on the instrument. You can put in a lot more hours on string and percussion than you can on brass and woodwind. Daily quality practice is much more important than the quantity. Little kids (3~8) can get away with 15 minutes a day, and some of that can be just listening occasionally. Older kids (8~12) should be 30+ working their way up to 60 minutes per day. Older kids (13~18) should be consistently 60 minutes a day and aiming for 90-120 depending on instrument. A high school student targeting a conservatory probably should, depending on instrument, already be trying to hit 4 hours/day.

Once you hit college, practice becomes as much as you handle due to the need to work on multiple pieces at once (orchestra + chamber + musical + recital + studio, etc). 120 minutes is the minimum across all instruments, with 240 minutes being closer to ideal. String musicians can easily put in 5+ hours every day plus constant listening. But still, the quality of practicing is way more important than the quantity. As I mentioned, the reason college students and high school students preparing for auditions practice so much is that they have a lot of repertoire to work on at that time. That will drop back off to 2-4 hours pretty quickly after college, and an hour a day will suffice for most teachers.
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