Having a summer practice goal is a wonderful way to keep kids motivated and growing as musicians. It also makes the most of their free time. If you’re interest in taking on this challenge here’s a list of things to consider.

 

Length of Vacation

The first thing you’ll need to figure out is how many days your child has for summer vacation. Then you can factor in family vacation time and a few full days at the water park. What’s left are the days for the practice challenge.

 

Practice Goal

There are a variety of goals your can set, including:

a) Practice every day. No set time limit. Just accomplish something.

b) Practice 20 minutes every day. Mark your practice record as students achieve their daily goal.

c) Set a a goal of 25 hours. Some kids might like this best, and have the goal completed in a few weeks.

 

Practice Charts

We have a collection of free printable practice charts if you’re interested.

Get Free Practice Charts

clown-with-balloons-practice-chart

 

Reward or No Reward

You’ll also need to decide if the reward of becoming a better musician and playing fun songs is reward enough, or should you provide a reward to work toward.

A research study conducted by Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive: The Suprising Truth About What Motivates Us, looked at a group of preschoolers who chose to spend their “free play” time drawing. The researchers divided the students into three groups. The first was the “expected-award” group. They knew they would get something for completing their assigned goal. The second group was the “unexpected-award” group. They would receive a “Good Player” certificate, though wouldn’t know it’s coming. The third group was the “no-award” group. There was no promise of a reward, and nothing was awarded.

Children in the “unexpected-award” and “no-award” groups drew just as much and enjoyed drawing just as much. However, the children who expected to receive an award showed much less interest in drawing spent much less drawing.

Extrinsic rewarded can be great. You’ll just have to decide if they are right for your kids.

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Here’s new edition of Canon in D for easy/intermediate piano students. With this sheet music edition you not only get the piano solo, but you also get a composer biography for kids and a few fun worksheets that accompany the biography to help introduce piano students to the composer of the music they’re playing.

Get Canon in D | Play and Learn™ Edition

canon-in-d-piano-play-and-learn

Contents
Canon in D for Easy/Intermediate Piano Solo (2 Pg)
Hey Kid’s, Meet Johannes Pachelbel | Composer Biography
Johannes Pachelbel | Composer Word Search Worksheet
Meet the Composer Job Application (You fill it out for the composer as if they were applying for a job.)

 

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Activity and learning always work well together, so this game is sure to be a hit with your young piano students.

I’ve included ideas for a Note Name Relay and a Rhythm Relay below.

Note Name Relay

Step 1 – Teacher calls out note and a clef.

Step 2 – Student in position #1 select correct note and runs to position #2.

Step 3 – Student in position #2 select “Right Hand” or “Left Hand” card and runs to position #3.

Step 4 – Student in position #3 reads the fingering above the note, selects the card with the correct finger circled and runs to the finish line.

note-name-relay

Example
Teacher calls out “Treble Clef – G”

Suzie selects the Treble Clef – G, and runs to Julie.

Julie sees that it’s a note in the treble clef. She selects “Right Hand”, card and runs to Mandy.

Mandy reads the fingering above the note, selects the correct number card and runs to the finish line.

 

Rhythm Relay

Step 1 – Teacher calls out rhythm.

Step 2 – Students in position #1 select rhythm and runs to position #2.

Step 3 – Students in position #2 select the note’s rhythmic value and run to the finish line.

Example
Teacher calls out “Half Note.”

Suzie selects the half note, and runs to Julie.

Julie sees that it’s a half note. She selects “2 Beats”, and runs to the finish line.

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note-name-rhythm-game

Do you kids or students need some help with note naming? This memory game is a fun addition to your note naming drill strategies.

First, drill the note names with your student by laying the cards on the table face up. Select a set of notes to drill. If your student is just beginning, a set of 5 cards – C-G – may be all you want to drill. Ask them to combine the cards in pairs – the F note with the F card – until all the cards are paired.

Next, shuffle the cards and place them on the table face down. Playing against your student, begin the matching game. Take turns flipping the cards over, trying to find pairs and remember where all the cards are. The player with the most pairs at the end of the game wins the game.

Free Printable Game

Memory (Concentration) Game | Treble Clef Note Names

 

note-name-memory-game-tc

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Browse other “The Piano Student” music theory posts:

Flash Frog™ | Free Printable Music Flashcards for Beginners
Pirate Quest | Basic Music Terms Game (Free, Printable)
Music for Little Mozarts | iPad App Review
Carnegie Hall Park (Matchbox Parking) | Music Theory Board Game

Guest Post:

Most of you know that ear training is essential to acquiring better musical skills. After all, our aural aptitudes are what guide our hands when we perform a piece. To get a better ear, we need regular practice in order to keep it in shape  – exactly like we would with our piano playing skills. With the technology available today, such practice has become easier and more accessible than ever. When searching for ear training software, you will find plenty of options. The EarMaster program seems quite popular, so I gave it a try.

EarMaster Pro 6 offers a little over 2000 lessons for ear training, sight-singing and rhythm practice, and caters for most skill levels. It contains a general-purpose course covering intervals, chords, chord inversions, harmonic progressions, scales, dictations, sing-back and clap-back activities, as well as sight-singing. You will also find a Jazz-oriented course which focuses on Jazz chords and swing rhythms. Exercises are answered in various ways: by using an on-screen piano keyboard, by singing and clapping into a microphone, by writing notes onto a notation staff, or even by playing on a MIDI keyboard.

The exercises follow a step-by-step progression that guides the user through sequences of lessons grouped by theme. Every exercise is also customizable, which gives us the opportunity to practice specific areas outside of the main courses. We noticed that the software analyzed the answers we gave in real-time and adapted the content of the lessons and the number of questions to our performance, which is quite useful.

The included sight-singing and sing-back exercises are setting EarMaster apart from other titles dedicated to ear training. These exercises are for both melodic and rhythmic training, and allow you to play along a score or to sing and clap short excerpts of music from memory. As with the other exercises included in the software, you are starting off at a low difficulty level, and then move on to more complex melodic and rhythmic phrases. The software also offers a Music XML import feature, which enables you to do sight-singing or melody sing-back sessions with a 4-part chorales or Jazz standards for examples. There are many websites from which you can download royalty-free Music XML material, so the possibilities are almost limitless.

According to the website of the developer, an iPad version of EarMaster should be on its way, but no release date other than “in 2015” seems to be available yet.

You will find a free 7-day trial version at www.earmaster.com.

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Happy ear training!

 

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Browse other “The Piano Student” music theory posts:

Flash Frog™ | Free Printable Music Flashcards for Beginners
Free Music Memory Game | Treble Clef Note Names
Pirate Quest | Basic Music Terms Game (Free, Printable)
Music for Little Mozarts | iPad App Review
Carnegie Hall Park (Matchbox Parking) | Music Theory Board Game

Looking for an app to drill basic theory skills? This iPad app from Alfred Music is a great pick for beginning students.

music-for-little-mozarts-app

Download Music for Little Mozarts App

Review

The app provides drill and practice activities for:

  • Distinguishing between High and Low Sounds
  • Melodic Direction (Up or Down)
  • Rhythmic Identification (Simple Rhythms)
  • Notes Naming Skill Development

Other notable features for this app include a point system rewards students for correct answers, and cute watercolor animals that are sure to be a hit with kids. It would be nice to see app developed that meet the growing needs of students as they progress through the Alfred series piano books.

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Browse more “The Piano Student” posts:

Flash Frog™ | Free Printable Music Flashcards for Beginners
Free Music Memory Game | Treble Clef Note Names
Pirate Quest | Basic Music Terms Game (Free, Printable)
Music for Little Mozarts | iPad App Review
Carnegie Hall Park (Matchbox Parking) | Music Theory Board Game

 

Looking for a fun way to drill note names and keyboard key names? Treble Clef kids has been a go-to solution for my students, and may be just what the doctor ordered for you and your students.

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Download Treble Clef Kids | iPad App

Review

While the graphics fall a bit short, the value of the drill and practice activities are worth the price of the app. The cheering and the funny sounds for wrong answers add an element of fun. It would also be nice to see a scoring system added to engage the kids a bit more.

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Browse more “The Piano Student” posts:

Flash Frog™ | Free Printable Music Flashcards for Beginners
Free Music Memory Game | Treble Clef Note Names
Pirate Quest | Basic Music Terms Game (Free, Printable)
Music for Little Mozarts | iPad App Review
Carnegie Hall Park (Matchbox Parking) | Music Theory Board Game

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