Practicing Music in New Places and New Ways

Doing to same thing all the time can get a bit boring, so it’s no wonder kids whine about practicing. If you’d like to freshen things up here are a few ideas.

1) Head to the Park. Playing outside with the wind blowing and the ducks swimming in the lake might be a fun way to mix things up. Your kids may just get a few complements that will encourage them to continue striving to grow as a musician.

2) Make a Video. Let’s your kids know that you will be making a video at the end of the week to send to their grandparents. You’ll likely get seven devoted days of practice from them out their desire to share their talents with grandpa and grandma.

3) Elf on the Shelf. If you’re one of those parents that can’t wait to pull Elf on the Shelf out of the box again this year, try putting this little guy on practice monitoring duty too. Whatever room he winds up in will be the room they practice in during the month of December. Set the music stand and chair right in front of Elf on the Shelf and ask your kids to try their best for 20 minutes.

4) Practice from the End. My band director in high school started at the end of a piece and worked backwards one day. I’ve always remembered that lesson, and often work on music in this way with my students. Work out the last two measures, then the last four, etc, until the whole piece sounds as good as the first eight measures.

5) Play Simon. I recently had a few of my students play Simon during there lesson. (One of my students made it though 25 rounds. Wow!) It teaches a valuable practicing technique. Pick a very achievable goal, and gradually increase the challenge with each repetition. Pick two notes to start. Then add a note and play it again. Add another note and play it again. Before they know it, 5-10 minutes will have gone by and they will have repeat that section many more times than they ever would have in a traditional practice session – and they’ll know that section of the music very well.