Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Circle Bow Bubbles

I got another positively adorable chart from one of my student's moms who is also taking lessons from me. Here is what she has to say about this wonderful chart!

This is a great way to work on bow control and stability, tone, posture, and my bow hold all at the same time without having to remember where I'm at in a piece, what note I'm supposed to be on, etc.

It's a silhouette of a child blowing bubbles combined with bubble graphics.  Each bubble represents 10 circle bows.  There are 150 bubbles on the chart.  The student will have done 1500 circle bows when the chart is completed.  I printed this one for us on card stock since it will be around a bit.

Thanks, Amanda!!  
You can find this chart here!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Results of Consistent Practice

This is a practice chart I made a long time ago, but have never used it until now.  My girl's teacher decided to give it out to all her students to have a SIX-WEEK PRACTICE CHALLENGE.  Practice every single day (including the day of the lesson, Sundays, Fridays, Saturdays, Holidays, Birthdays, etc.) for six weeks.  If you can do that - go for 100 days.  If you accomplish that you could even try for 1 YEAR of practicing without missing a day.  Our teacher puts a plaque on the wall for all the students who practice for 1 year (or more.)  In her 30+ years of teaching, she has about 10-15 plaques on her wall.  It is no easy task to practice without missing one day.

We decided to do the six-week challenge and we are on day 8.  For my family, we usually don't practice on the day of the lesson.  I don't have any qualms with practicing on Sunday, but sometimes I'm just too (ummm, busy isn't the word....lazy?)  Fridays I teach from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with only a few hours in the middle when the kids are in school.  After teaching all day - I want my weekend so it's hard for me to practice with the kids that day.  So, practicing every day is a challenge for my family, but we are up to it.  After only 8 days here is what I've noticed!

1.  We were prepared for the lesson.  We did not have to be guilty or nervous about going to the lesson because we knew we did the best we could do.

2.  Initiating practice was easier.  Once in the routine, getting the violin ready and sitting down was just what we did.  It hasn't been a battle.  I have noticed that instead of saying, "It's time to practice now."  I've changed it to, "We need to practice (before you go to school, before dinner, etc.) - when would you like to practice?"  The kid's response was usually, "How about 10 minutes."  This gave them the ability to choose and once that ten minutes was up..."It's time to practice."  "Okay, mom."

3.  Review is actually fun.  We differ when we practice review.  Sometimes at the beginning, sometimes at the end, sometimes scattered throughout the practice.  But the pieces have been fun to play because they are easier.  Practice more - playing gets easier.

4.  We are learning faster.  We struggled for months through Minuet 1 and Minuet 2 (when I was sick).  Since the beginning of January, we've perfected Minuet 2 for the recital AND learned Minuet 3, Happy Farmer, and previews to Gossec Gavotte.  We are really moving.  My oldest daughter just started book 7!

5.  She is playing more beautifully.  We have been working a lot on tone.  My youngest daughter has really struggled with having a deep beautiful tone.  She likes to play skimming the strings with her bow.  Her legato bows and sticky tone in her pieces has really improved.

Humph!  It's amazing how playing gets easier when you practice!  I'm so proud that my daughters have been up to the challenge.  Let's just hope we can get all the way to six weeks!...100 days....maybe even a year!