With the new school year already having started for most students, this is the perfect time to begin a practice routine. Remember that, at least for the first year of instruction, it is far more important to spend time practicing on a regular basis, to have daily contact with the instrument, than the actual amount of time being spent.
It is usually helpful to schedule the daily practice time at the same time. Why? It helps establish a routine. Most of us realize right away if we go to bed without having brushed our teeth, because we tend to religiously do so right after dinner or before our heads hit the pillows. Practicing is no different. Find a quiet time during the day when everyone else in the family is doing other things, and bingo! there is your practice routine established.
I also recommend for my students to take one day off per week. Research has shown that giving our brains a break from rigorous mental activities -such as practicing – is a very good thing.
Finally, remember that not all practice has to be done in front of a piano. Some…in fact a lot of it, can be accomplished by studying the score, writing out the piece of music you are working on some staff paper, or by singing and picturing the notes away from the piano. The best practice strategy is a combination of strategies.
Whatever you do, practice often, and make practicing fun, spice it up and change it. Your skills will improve, and you will be a better musician for it!