Friday, January 5, 2018

Fun Ways to Get Piano Students Practicing Smarter, Not Harder

To kick off the new year in my piano studio our January group lesson will be centered around effective practice. I've planned some fun activities centered around goal-oriented practice including this adaptation of the Sorry Sliders Game that I've also been using for notereading review.


To start out I'm introducing my students how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals by playing a few rounds of "Smart Sliders" as we take turns aiming for and discussing the various "targets" of good goals.

S. -  Specific What exactly will you do?
M. -  Measurable  How will you know you have reached it?
A. - Attainable  Is it a goal you can realistically reach by the deadline?
R. - Relevant  How will the goal improve your piano skills?
T.  - Timely When will you complete it?

A few examples of Long Term Goals students could select include:
What do you want to accomplish 6 months from now?
Theory: Complete the next theory test on your level with at least 90% by May 30th.
Rhythm: Complete Rhythm Boss 2 without losing a monkey by the end of February
Notereading: Pass off all of the notes on the grand staff on Flashnote Derby at Gallop Speed.
Sightreading: Go up at least 10 ranks in Piano Maestro by sightreading new songs every week during home practice or lab time.
Memorize ____# of Pieces by (date).
Terms and Signs: Pass off the next Quizlet Piano Terms and Signs Level Test before my birthday.
Technique: Become a Technique Wizard by passing off 10 Piano Safari Rote Pieces or Hanon Faber Challenge Pieces with proper technique.

Short Term Goals
To help my students set more effective short term practice goals and focus on them during their at home practice sessions, we'll first be playing a group Practice Bingo game to review the "how" and "why" of different practice strategies in the Playful Practice Pack handout they will be taking home.
Tracking Goal Progress
I'm excited to be kicking off Nicola Cantan's 30 Practice Bull's Eye Challenge for the new year.  The deadline to complete it and be added to the leaderboard in the studio is April 1st (about 12 weeks).
I like to write the 3 weekly focus goals on speech bubble stickers (in their music or on lesson assigment sheet) to make the target goals extra obvious. Two of the weekly goals will be centered around specific elements in their pieces that need attention and the third goal will be connected to one of the Pirate Incentive Theme Challenges.

I will add a "stamper" on their bull's eye chart at each lesson for each practice goal they successfully achieved during the week. And after I demo some fun practice games with them at their lessons they'll have even more fun tools to help them successfully reach goals as their home practice time flies by.

Related Posts:
Powerful Playful Piano Practice Kits
Piano Practice Strategies
Practice Incentives and Group Piano Parties

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