It is critical to practice within 24 hours following the lesson. For this reason, I will discuss the best day and time for lesson when I meet a new student. It is important for students in my studio to practice within 24 hours following the weekly lesson.
In my weekly notes, I will detail some activities and games that you can initiate at home both at and away from the piano.
Often, parents will be invited into the lesson for perhaps 5-10 minutes at least once a month to "see what we do" in lesson. For some students, I will engage with the parent during lesson for up to 15 minutes of the lesson.
Practice should be part of our daily habit of practicing - that said, students should be encouraged to also "play" and "explore" on their own at the piano. Not all practice needs to be structured, nor does it necessarily need to be entirely prescriptive. Students at young ages enjoy exploring the piano. As long as students are gentle at the piano (no banging on the keys please!), and students use the techniques and approaches that Shad models in lessons (use the fingertips! Sit tall!) you can't go wrong by spending time at home with your child together on the piano bench.
In my policy guide, I recommend
(with young children) you will need have to be involved directly for the entire practice session at first.
Until after perhaps 3-6 months of study, your help may be needed for some or much of the practice time. Do not expect your child to carry out their practice entirely by themself until about 8-10 years old.
With children under that age, plan to sit in the room with the child, even if you are not on the bench with your child.
Research shows that maximum retention occurs if
repetition--that is, practice--takes place within 24
hours or less. Retention is approximately 90%.
If repetition does not occur until 48 hours later (skip
a day of practice), retention drops off drastically, as
the graph of time vs. retention is a curve rather than
a straight line.
If you wait 72 hours (skip two days), retention is virtually zero. (Material that is already learned is retained longer, of course. I speak here of new material, such as a new piece or a new section of piece begun very recently.)
Practice should be mindful, purposeful, and productive.