Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Practicing

You will give your child a sense of the importance of practice if you require practicing even on holidays.  You may think I'm a scrooge for making my kids practice on days like Christmas or their birthday, but it works!  Practicing on a holiday is a great way to make it different, unique, or fun.  Here are some ways to do so:
  • Have your child pick her 5 favorite things to do - then practicing is done!
  • Have a small present to open after practicing (this could be a special present that has to do with music, practicing, or their instrument.)
  • Make it fun by doing an art project or craft - adding different sections between each song (adding feathers to a turkey or ornaments on a tree.)
  • If it's Christmas - only play Christmas songs.
  • Make a chain out of construction paper and put the name of a song on each link.  Either glue each link after they play, or have it already glued together and rip off a link and play what is on the paper.
Most of all - don't get upset about practicing on a holiday.  If it's not working - just stop!  The kids memory of the holiday should be a happy one!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Review boxes

Review is a fundamental part of the Suzuki method.  With my 7yo dd in book 4 she has a lot of review to do and it will just get more and more.  I am constantly thinking of new ways to do review.  This week it's one of her 15 minute sections of practice.  I made a chart with four boxes.  I divided the review songs in each of the four boxes.  She gets to choose a box and has to review everything in the box.  She needs to do all four boxes each week - only four days of review.

Practice Beads

I have been looking for these counting beads for a good price everywhere without success.  So, my husband and I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and found some materials to make them - and we even made them cute to personalize for our kids.  The kids LOVED using this at practice and they look cute on our piano as well.  We are selling them for $8.00 each if you would like one.  There will be more of a variety in the future.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Practice Chart

The piano teacher wants the kids to practice each song 5 times a day 5 times a week.  This week I made a chart with a simple 5x5 table for each song they are supposed to learn this week.  Every time they played the song they got to put an X in the square.  Some days they did it more than 5 times, others less.  They both got their practicing done early this week and were so excited to pick a prize out of my prize box when they completed it.  NO WHINING during piano practice this week.  Hooray!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

15 Minute Timer

I have a 7 year old who has to practice at least an hour a day. That is a lot of practicing for someone that young. My idea this week is to break down the practicing into four 15 minute sessions. One 15 minute session is working on her newest pieces. When the timer goes off we stop. Other 15 minute sessions include review, Christmas/Group pieces, and her “alone practice.” She’s learning to practice on her own so there are certain things that she practices without me.

So far, this 15 minute method is working well, except we don’t usually get all 4 sessions in each day. But, she’s been a happy practicer and that is so much better than the alternative!

Practice Makes It Easier

The phrase usually goes “Practice makes Perfect.” But we really don’t demand perfection out of our children or students. So, I have adopted the phrase from Ed Sprunger’s book (Helping Parents Practice) that “Practice makes it easier.” Makes what easier? Playing!!! If you practice your piece it will get easier and you will then get to start a new piece that you will practice and that is how we progress on an instrument.

I spend hours of my day practicing with my children and I am going to write about some of the tips and ideas to keep my kids motivated to practice. Perhaps that will help YOU with your practicing endeavors at home.