Monday, August 15, 2011

Practicing Cards

I use practicing cards a lot with my own children as well as my students during their lessons and group lessons. Basically the practicing cards are cards with the names of all the stuff you're practicing on them. I love to use these adorable cards from Meredith Strings for the Suzuki pieces, but I've also found that I need to make my own set of cards that include the Suzuki pieces as well as extra pieces, scales, exercises, etc. I just make them in index cards and get an index card box to store them in. The Meredith Strings cards fit really well in a Really Useful Box (really, that's the name) found at any office supply shop.

There are lots of ways to use these cards during practicing.

* The parent or teacher lays out the things that need to be accomplished during a practice session so that the child can see everything and take turns choosing what to do and then take that card away. When the cards are gone - practicing is done! I like to take turns because if the child chooses all the time the hard stuff will be left to the end when they are getting restless. If I had to choose all the time the child might think it's not fair or fun.

* Today I practiced with my daughter by pulling out the things she absolutely needed to do, which were her new piece, last three songs, and scale. I put the rest of the cards in a stack and told her to separate them into two stacks. One stack today, one stack tomorrow. I shuffled all the cards up and she picked the top one up and did it. This way it was a mystery to both of us what she would play next, but everything got done.

* In a group lesson setting I put all the cards that I'm willing to play in the group, but since there is no way I will get to them all I let the kids take turns choosing the cards and we play those pieces.

* Combine these cards with other practicing cards that may have a posture point or particular way to play. Cards could include Keeping Eyes on the Highway, Straight Bow, Bent Thumb, and Straight Head. It could also include fun things such as Standing on One Foot, Bow Upside Down, and Play with Eyes Closed. Pick a piece card and an action card and combine the two. This would be most effective with review in a practice or group lesson setting.

What are some other ways you can think of to use these practice cards?

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