One of my favorite summer workshops that I like to try to hold about every 3 years is a workshop on practicing. I find that even if a student took this workshop before, there is a quite a difference on what they will get out of it when they were 8 years old and when they 11 years old. I like to have some hands on activities for most of my workshops. So for this one I had my students create a practice board game which listed some of the games found in the Practice Revolution by Philip Johnston. Students also made practice flashcards that a teacher created and shared years ago. (I can’t remember who the teacher is that created them so if anyone knows let me know so I can give credit to them.) I printed them out on card stock and students cut them out and hole punched them. Then we combined the cards with a metal ring.
At the very beginning of this class we had a Q and A session. Some of the questions I asked students was why practice, is it REALLY important? What motivates you to practice? Why do you think practicing is hard or why do you not like to practice, when do or should you practice, why practice games? This was a very informative session and I always find the answers students give interesting.
Afterwards I had a bag full of objects representing “Common Practice Flaws” and explained the solution for each problem. (Practice Revolution) I loved this and noticed by having objects that represent the practice problems, students remember them better. ie: a race car would represent “speed demon”, a watch or small clock or timer would be “clock watcher” and so on.
Later in the class students got their music that I asked them to bring (something they haven’t learned yet) and had them go through the music, find challenge spots and ask themselves what would help to overcome those spots. Then they color coded their music and shared what they did and why.
In this class we also reviewed and learned how to use the practice games in their practicing.
One of my favorite parts of this class was on the last day I went through several practice problem scenario’s listed in the book and asked the students how they would solve those problems. This was when I was really able to find out if they have been paying attention! I would highly recommend doing a practice workshop in your studio.
The resources I used for this class was The Practice Revolution, Practiceopedia, Not Until You’ve Done Your Practice, Howtopractice.com, Hal Leonard’s Student Guide to Effective Practice, Practice and Performing: A Pianist’s Guide- DVD (Hal Leonard) andwww.PracticeSpot.com.
At the end if you would like to provide a snack be sure to ask if they can swallow or eat their snack in one bite? (Make sure you provide a snack where they couldn’t do this like a big cookie…) Small bites ie: small sections in practicing.