Posted by: tammyspianostudio | October 28, 2010

Moms and Dads, wouldn’t…


you like to make piano practice more effective and fun at home?  It’s the beginning of the school year and we’re into the school routine, but always in need of fresh ideas to make piano practice the best that it can be.  Try to practice as soon as possible after a lesson because the pianist will retain the most information from the lesson and the less likely it is that we will have to repeat the same information at the next lesson.  If the student skips a day, or (gasp!) two days, of practice after the lesson then the most well-written notes in the assignment book will probably note make much sense.  That assignment book is the best communication tool the student and teacher have between lessons.  Natalie Wickham, a well respected teacher, shares her thoughts with us on making piano practice fun and fresh.

IDEAS TO MAKE HOME PRACTICE FUN! by Natalie Wickham

First of all, practice DOES need to occur during the week for your student to make progress; lesson time isn’t for practicing, but for learning and polishing new skills.

Try to sit with your student during practice sessions until he or she is about 13-14 years old, or until practice results are the same with or without you ~ your interest is a BIG motivator!

Make sure your student is practicing at least a little on most or all assignments at about the same time every day ~ it should just be a part of their daily schedule, like homework and meals.

Light several votive candles.  Allow your student to blow one out after each completed assignment (see the assignment notebook for what to practice ~ a practice goal at home could simple be to play a line of music 3 X…or 5 X…or 10 X depending on student’s capabilities).

Use M&Ms or pom-poms to fill a jar.  They earn one M&M for each assignment they complete without complaining.  They can eat the M&Ms at the end of the session or keep filling the jar for several days until it is full to earn a predetermined prize.

Write your student’s practice assignments on several small pieces of paper.  Wrap the pieces of paper around pennies or nickels.  The student unwraps the paper, completes the assignment and keeps the coin.  (Or choose some other small token that you think is motivating.)

Video record a practice session and let them watch it.  This has so many benefits!!

Have a puzzle where the student can place one piece of the puzzle after the completion of each assignment and/or practice goal.

Roll a die for the number of repetitions on a certain passage or section.  A “1” means roll again and a “6” means the parent can choose any number from 2-5.

Divide a piece into 5 sections.  roll a die to see which section to practice.  Do this several times.  A “6” means the whole piece should be performed.

Set up a board game and take a turn after each completed assignment.

Write daily assignments on sticky notes.  Let your child stick them on the wall in his or her desired order.  Then take them down (or stick them on you) when completed.

Using a paper and some markers or a pencil, draw a part of a picture each time an assignment is completed.  Let them guess what it is each time you draw a part.  Once they guess it, you start a new picture.

Same as above, except you play hangman and guess letters to complete a word or a phrase.

Music itself is a great motivator, but sometimes students [and especially young students] do better practicing with some FUN mixed in!

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