When you make practicing convenient, it’s more likely to get done. Mysolution for violinists is the “String Swing.”
Investing in string swings for my studio has been one of the best thing I’ve ever done. I have a few on my walls
and even a stand string swing for my daughter’s small violin.
This way when she walks by it, she wants to pick it up. I also use her small violin for easily demonstrating something for my students without having to get up and grab my violin (and risk something happening to my expensive/good violin!) Also, I stopped buying the smaller string swings as they were out of stock so often, and I found that the little violins stay on the large string swings just fine (my viola does fit on a normal sized string swing as well as you can see from the picture.
Here are some of the same String Swings I use:
Need even more great ideas?!
you can also check out a great blog post for easy ideas on making practice happen by Christine Wilson Goodner.
and a piano blog post here from Kits Piano Lessons
and I love these great Suzuki Piano Practice game ideas from A Teacher Without A Class Blog.
The most difficult barrier to practicing is starting-actually picking up the instrument!
I have a 3 point plan that I give to my students and I’ve decided to share it with the world! We all need a bit of help (kids and grownups alike) when it comes to actually practicing.
I also have a handy graphic and feel free to post this on your studio Facebook sites, and you can even email it or print it out and give it to your students! if you would like a free .pdf, please sign up for my newsletter in the annoying popup box-and don’t worry, i keep emails safe!
When you make practicing Consistent it’s much easier because you’ve changed your mentality from something you HAVE to do, to something you are just going to do!
We all know that it takes around 21 days to create a habit. This year for back to school week in my studio I handed out these practice boxes to my students. You can read about them here:
After three weeks of treats and practicing daily, my students have built a routine. When I’m handing out the boxes I am also verbally telling them some tricks to getting practicing done. I do not tell my students practicing is fun either, I tell them it’s hard work and only really tough and smart people can play the violin because it takes so much concentration and effort (notice how I don’t say talent) and how proud I am of them for signing my contract (promising to practice.)
My 2 tips for Consistency are SETTING A CELL PHONE REMINDER TO PRACTICE and PRACTICING AT THE SAME TIME EVERY DAY (preferably before school!)
To be creative in practicing is how I “sell” my students on practicing. What does that mean? Instead of telling my students to take one measure and practice it 24 times before moving on, I always have them use an app or make a game out of it! Sometimes I copy their song, cut up each measure and put it in a bag. Then every day they pull out 10 measures one at a time and practice each measure as many times as they are old.
Teaching your students to take ownership of their practicing gets MUCH better results than DICTATING to them what to do. Apps and Games make the practice time fly by. A great way to take ownership of learning is this fun shopping game, and much better than old fashioned flashcard drills!
I hope you are able to use some of these ideas in your studio this year! If you need a boost in your studio’s happiness, productivity or just want more students please check out my book, now available on Amazon!
I also have limited times on Weekday mornings available for low cost Teacher Consulting, more information is available here.