I think practicing is very much like a recipe. Add your ingredients in the wrong order and the entire dish is a disaster. Add too much of one ingredient and not enough of the other…. well you get the picture. One of those German Pancakes that is supposed to be 10 inches tall, golden brown turns and delicious turns out an inch tall and much like a Frisbee. And you have a new nickname! “Burnt offering Maha.” Yes! I have experience in this department.
I also have experience in the perfect practicing department. Here are some guaranteed ways to keep your students practicing, succeeding and motivated to do it RIGHT!
1. The Triple A list. I developed a way to incorporate older repertoire and still keep up on the new weekly assignments. Insist on a day off. That’s right…. a vacation day once a week from practicing. Your students will be shocked, and you will be one step ahead of them. Reward them PROFUSELY for completing this list WELL. The pieces performed must be memorized. They must be passed off previously by you. They must be played once a week because who knows when the whim for an on-demand performance will pop into your creative (and slightly devious) mind! You retain the right to ask for any piece on the list…. at any time…. and anyone includes you!
DOWNLOAD THE Triple A List
2. The “crazy practicing roll the dice and find out how you should play it this time” chart. Please don’t laugh at my artwork! I made this chart in ten minutes and it was honestly one of the best things I’ve come up with! Your student simply rolls the dice and whatever number they land on is how they will perform the new line they learned today. This chart requires some preparation…. dividing their music into sections ahead of time and making sure they own two dice. Then they are ready to “play” while they “play”! Snap… the job’s a game!
3. Coming up with any summer time challenge can be a challenge in and of itself. When you reward your students with praise and loads of energy, even a small treat seems to them as if they’ve won a gold medal. They know you care about them and they will believe in you.
My students love coming back for Fall, and the LOVE showing off to their friends who also want to find out about my program. It’s a win/win.
Best of luck with your teaching!