There are very, very few books that deal with the subject of pure music practice. Most of those that are available deal with the topic in a dry, academic way. Not Until You’ve Done Your Practice is almost unique in that it presents issues and remedies around practice in a way that is simple and accessible to children.
Many products and resources in the practicespot portfolio suffer from design and presentation that is less good than the content. Happily this book is not one of them. The cover is bright and appealing which is very important when trying to convince students that they should read it. The design continues inside with many amusing and informative drawings and cartoons to supplement the written content.
The book begins with a simple explanation of the main problem students, parents and teachers face around practice – not wanting to do it. We then move to some general solutions to the problem, principally more frequent, regular sessions.
The main body of the book is given over to ‘making it easy’ or what I would call practice methods. Johnston outlines in a very clear way the answers to most common practice issues such as memorisation, fingering, relaxation, metronome use and so on.
Towards the end there are suggestions on how to make practice more fun by setting out reasons for practice and by introducing rewards and elements of randomness. There are also suggestions for how to make standard exercises interesting.
This is a truly excellent book and I would recommend it without any reservation (not something I do often). The very clear way that it is written makes it perfect for students and parents to read. If parents and students have and read a copy of this book and then follow the advice inside it will make the teachers job in lessons much easier.
Not Until You’ve Done Your Practice by Philip Johnston and David Sutton, (2004, Practicespot Press, ISBN: 978-0646402659) is available from:[amazon asin=064640265X&template=htp price]