Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Practicing Work-Out!

I got this idea from James Hutchins on the Suzuki Parents as Partners Online conference two years ago.  Since then I've used it a lot with  my students and want to have it readily accessible to my students this year so I put it behind the front cover of their practice books this year.

Basically a "workout" is focused practicing using review pieces.  My "workout" page is just a list of the Suzuki violin pieces in books 1 & 2 in order.  You could make your own "workout" page with your own list of pieces that would be easy enough to practice without thinking about the notes.

I assign a time for the work out.  With my own kids I like to choose a specific time that is on one of our Cube Timers so that they can just flip it over and practice (so easy!!)  For this specific amount of time my students play through their list focusing on whatever it is I've assigned them.  For some it could be playing with their eyes on the highway, for others it might be keeping your scroll up.  It could be to help posture points, intonation, or focus.  If the student can play the first piece all the way through with the focus point they can move onto the next piece on the list.  They keep playing through the pieces until the timer dings - then they are done with their work out for the day.  They mark where they stopped and start there for their workout the next day.

I love assigning workouts because it really lets a student focus on one thing for 5 or 7 minutes without the student thinking about the notes or bowings.  For Suzuki students this is a very efficient way to do their review.

If you are a Suzuki violin student/parent/teacher you may download my workout sheet (I laminate it and write on it with dry-erase marker so that we can reuse it - and have the student mark their spot with a post-it flag.)  You can also make your own list for different instruments or repertoire.  Let me know what successes you've had with your students using a "workout!"

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