Today on my piano teaching blog, I shared a resource that my students have LOVED. If you’re a parent of a young pianist, then you have probably heard a variety of practice strategies in your home. There’s the quick student – plays everything through as fast as possible, no worries about note accuracy or dynamics, and is happy to run off the bench to do anything else needing to get done. There’s the procrastinator – puts off practice till right before bedtime, then with lots of sighing and complaining they finally get through it with quite the attitude… And there’s the perfect child – they follow every step from the teacher’s handwritten assignment sheet, set the metronome tempo and keep up with it just right, work on sections and fix all wrong notes, and fit all this in right at the perfect time in the day’s schedule. My own children alternate between these and other practice types.
In lessons, I’ve seen these practicers come back with a huge span of results across the board. It’s totally true that a teacher can tell exactly how you’ve been practicing at home. I used to think my teacher was a mind reader to know so much from just hearing me play from week to week! But now I understand how much we can see the results of every student’s practice in how they play every week.
Thanks to this, I’ve found that it’s important to teach my students how to practice. During each lesson, I try to take time to ask a student, “So how will you practice this piece to fix__________________?” The blank is filled with the problem we’re trying to fix – whether it’s accuracy of rhythm or notes, or smoothness across jumps, or anything else. When we give students the tools to know how to fix the problem, they *hopefully* can fix their own problems as they practice at home. The goal is to have students who are so great at fixing their own musical problem spots so lessons can continue advancing easily and giving students even more advanced tools of musicality.
Well, it’s always the goal of lessons and with current online lessons, I came up with a resource that my students have LOVED this month. I dropped “Practice Kits” off at each students’ home with this game and a few treats for them to use as they practice each day. When they get BINGO, they have usually finished most of their pieces and practiced them in new ways so they fix new problems each day. Several students even invited their siblings to help them mark off the bingo board as they practiced! It’s really been a blast!
If you’d like to download this resource, check out my FREE printable here.