Monday, March 13, 2017

Practicing Tips for Children

It's a fact.  Getting children to practice can be a challenge.  I know.  I've been there.

But sometimes I come up with something that helps my kids to practice, and lessens my burden.  One of those ideas is to use a sand timer.  The one in the picture above lasts for 5 minutes.  I found it at a place called Ken's Educational Joys in a town not too far from me here in Pennsylvania.  I set it on the piano, and say something like, "Please practice such and such a piece for at least 3 turns of this timer."  Then I leave them on their own, trusting them to follow through.  I don't try to correct anything during this time.  They need to learn to regulate their own time, and they need to see that I'm trusting them to do that.

Another idea is to summons them to their instrument.  They have fun with this one.  At a random point, I will ring the bell.  Since I have two children, I use two different sounding bells.   They know which sound is theirs.  I will ring one or the other, and they are supposed to come into the music room to the instrument, and play a piece of my choosing from their "memorized" list.  This provides a good gauge on where they truly stand with the memorization, and can help focus the next true practice effort.

So, just a couple of ideas that help the kids learn to take responsibility for their own practicing, but also to provide a little bit of fun for all involved. 

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