Saturday, November 15, 2014

Making Goals for Practicing

This is a chart I like to use when I feel like my daughter needs some intrinsic motivation to practice.  I like this chart because I can focus on other things besides the specific practice points that I would use on a regular practice guide.  Here are some ideas I've used and thought of to put on this chart.  Do you have any others?

  • Get your violin out without being asked
  • Play through {this} piece remembering all the repeats
  • Remind mom to practice
  • Practice happily
  • Put rosin on your bow
  • Practice all of your review pieces (this may take a day or two or three)
  • Put away your violin after practice
  • Perform your new piece for someone (dad, grandma, etc.)
  • Practice everything on your chart
  • Remember to say "thank you" after your lesson
  • Practice your scales & warm-ups without complaining
  • more?

You can download this chart here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Enhance Practice with a Cube Timer

Yesterday I shot this quick video during my daughter's practice.  I didn't have time to clean up or do my hair and make-up, it's a raw video, but that is because I had to catch this girl in the moment.  Emma was practicing so well and I went in to check up on her and she had this set up with three different cube timers and a bead counter.  She was practicing spots slowly and over and over and organizing her practice so she could get everything done.  Here it is - it's only 1:15 minutes long.  Enjoy!

Here is another post about the cube timer.

Cube timers are available here on my website!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Some Spirit Stick Ideas

Spirit Sticks have gotten super popular lately.  I have been adding new fun Spirit Sticks to The Practice Shoppe and asked previous buyers for feedback about what I should stock.  The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  This year in my own studio I gave everyone a Keep Calm, I'm a Musician Spirit ring at their first group lesson.  Each group lesson or recital there is a theme and those who participate get a Spirit Stick.  Also, we have a Christmas recital coming up and when the kids pass off all of their pieces they get a Christmas Spirit Stick.  I'm hoping by the end of the year they will be excited by their collection and remember all the fun times and music memories they made throughout the year.

Here are some things I heard from people who are also currently using Spirit Stick as an incentive:

I like the idea of non-sugar treats!

I think they are very nice and inexpensive ways for teachers to give acknowledgment.

I hand out the spirit sticks when my students bring back a chart completed. So if the assignment is for 100x and they bring a chart back filled in, they get one of the spirit sticks. Most attach them to their violin cases with a key ring and they love comparing them at group class!

I teach college students about how to teach elementary music and consult in schools, helping elementary music teachers, and these are VERY popular for students to earn as rewards.

I have too much fun buying things for my students from your site. I normally have certain challenges or games that I run in the fall and winter to inspire and motivate. Right now we are doing a Bingo Challenge. I think I actually got the idea from your downloads page. I created my own with activities like 100 repetitions, listen before bed, polish a piece, observe a lesson, go to a concert, help someone in group class, etc. I think I will introduce the spirit sticks and give them to the winners. Those who continue to complete challenges on the Bingo card can work towards earning more spirit sticks or other prizes throughout the year.

I love them all !! I am addicted to spirit sticks! I am the mother of three and work full time as a mental health therapist. My client's love to collect them and feel proud to have them as their flags of success or special collectible.

I LOVE the spirit sticks!! I have 10 students plus my two own sons learning violin. All my students are excited about the spirit sticks incentive program that I am going to introduce to their parents at upcoming Halloween recital. Each student will receive a spirit stick for participating in the recital.

 I love the spirit sticks. This year I have a 365 day practice challenge going for all my students. Every 28 days of consecutive practice they receive a spirit stick to add to their collection. Every time they are awarded a spirit stick, it is different from all the others they have earned before. That means I award 13 different spirit sticks throughout the year. The parents in my studio are planning a big party for all the students who complete the entire year's worth of practicing without skipping a day. I have attached the chart that I have given to my students to keep track of their practice days. On it you will find stars for each 28 days set. I have tried to find spirit sticks that roughly match the same color as the star they are working towards. Even if a student skips a day and is out for the 365 days challenge, they can jump back in at any point in keep trying to earn spirit sticks. They may not be able to come to the end of the year party but at least they can keep working towards these small goals.  (Thanks Melanie!!!

I plan to add several varieties of Spirit Sticks in 2015 including Listening Awards, Review Awards, Practice Makes it Easy, Book 1, 2, 3, graduation, etc.  Please let me know if you have any ideas for Spirit Sticks that I can get made.