This week I have been creating practice charts for many of my beginner students. They are tailored to the age and ability of each students, and how (if?) they are progressing.
This example is roughly what I wrote into their notebook for a young beginner; The idea is to get them to move on from just playing everything through once and then getting bored.
|Pick at least one thing from each column in every practice!|
|Warm up||Pieces||Have Fun|
|Play ‘I like eating chocolate cake’ right hand and left hand||Rufus – all the Left hand until it is comfortable to play||Play a conversation between an elephant and a mouse|
|Roly Poly right hand and left hand||Rufus – right hand first line until it is comfortable to play||Make a rainstorm|
|Play some words from notebook||Rufus – right hand second line until it is comfortable to play||Play ‘spooky piano’ (silently hold down a load of bass keys,
Play some treble notes loud and staccato, listen) Does it make a difference if you use black or white keys?
|Play all the Ds on the piano. Now do that with your eyes shut||Clocks – try first two lines hands separately and then hands together||Play a piece from your old book|
|Play all the Gs on the piano. Now do that with your eyes shut||Clocks – try first two lines hands separately and then hands together||Have a look at the other pieces in the yellow book. See which one would you like to learn next.|
|Play 111 222 333 444 555 anywhere on the piano||Play all of clocks hands separately and together||Play the notes in Rufus in backwards order|
The idea is to give them a structure for their practice time which provides variety, helps them to be a bit more thorough in their learning, and helps them see some progress.
I have also sent an email to their parents with a detailed worksheet for four practice sessions; I did this for a couple of weeks for a girl I inherited who Never Ever Practised and was ‘still on book 1’ after three years! It was a bit of a pain creating and sending these emails, but after a month she had made so much progress that she continued under her own steam and has (almost) never looked back.
I do find it all a bit of a fiddle, especially the individual emails home, but it is worth the effort for the sake of the rewards for both pupil and me later on!