Sunday, August 28, 2011

Perpetual Motion

Here is a chart on of my student's mom made for her when she learned Perpetual Motion. She made up some really cute words to go with it. Try it out!

Roller coaster
See it climb clim
Climbing up to reach the top top

Roller coaster
See it climb climb
Getting ready to roll down down

Roller coaster
Going faster
Racing down to reach the bottom

Roller coaster
Going faster
Racing down to reach the bottom

Roller coaster
So exciting
Do you want to
Go and ride it

Roller coaster
So exciting
I can't wait to go and ride it!

Roller coaster
Now I'm climbing
Climbing up to reach the top top

Roller coaster
See me climb climb
Getting ready to race down down!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Practice Book

The start of the new school year has brought a new level of motivation for me and my kids. I've been thinking of making this practice book for a long time for my students, but I didn't know how well it would get used. So, I decided to make one for my own daughter and see if we liked it. If it's successful I may pass it on to my students.

First of all, I made the cover using one of my photos with her and her violin. This is a cute one from her solo recital last year.
Right at the front of the book, I put the calendar for the whole year through next August. I'm going to use this calendar to put her violin dates (since my calendar is full of our family's activities) so she can see for herself when she has lessons and group lessons. As a kindergartener this year she will be learning a lot about calendars. We will also put a sticker on each day that she practices so she'll have a visual of how much she practices

The bulk of the practice book is the 52 blank practice guides. I have lots of different practice guides, but since I'm sure she'll be in Book 2 before next August I wanted to ensure that this book would last all year.
One of our goals this year is to play every song in Book 1 100 times. This should be a pretty easy goal considering that we play every piece at least every other day. But it sounds like a lot and I'll come up with some sort of reward when we're finished. What I used here was a Book 1 review chart with 25 boxes and I copied it 4 times.
After the Book 1 review chart are a variety of other charts just for fun in case we want to use them. This is one reason I was debating whether or not to bind this or put it in a 3 ring binder. I know that we will want to use other charts throughout the year. But I liked the idea of a spiral-bound book because it will all stay together and it will be easy to fold back so it'll fit on my lap or my stand easier.
And the very last page is a picture that I let my daughter draw so she feels like this is HER book instead of my book. She loves looking at it!

Overall, laminating the front and the back and spiral binding it (I made the copies on my home copier so I'm not counting that cost) cost me $4.50 at Alphagraphics. I hope this will motivate us to practice all year long!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Etude can be Easy

There are various ways to learn and remember Etude - that song in book 1 that is a nightmare for some kids to learn....and remember. This latest paper was given to me by our violin teacher and really helped my daughter and my students learn Etude. All my girls sang it after a while, including my 2-year-old and 9-year-old in Book 6. When the 9-year-old reviewed the piece after learning this song she played it perfectly with all the parts in order. Give it a try...the kids love it!

Peanut butter peanut butter sandwiches are good to eat with watermelon watermelon
let me have some peanut butter peanut butter peanut butter sandwiches are good to eat
with watermelon watermelon let me have some more please with some
jelly beans all rolling to my tummy and some
peanuts, popcorn, pickles, pudding YUMMY YUMMY!
Peanut butter peanut butter sandwiches are good and sweet oh what a lot to eat!

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, extra pieces, and scales, exercises, etc. I just make them on index cards and get an index card box to store them in. The Meredith Strings cards fit 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 practice.

  • 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 piles. 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 a 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?