Practice Contest 2014: Practice Notebook and Music Prizes

Something that’s been on my mind for a while is helping our students better learn to organize and track their practice.  We’ve already got a “Smart Practicing studio–I am so impressed by the way our students have grown into using their practice very well and coming up with great ideas to get the job done.  But especially in the past year, as many students are starting to work on multiple pieces or multiple fronts of technique, I thought it might be a good time to try…

The Practice Notebook!

notebook cover

(Although I am apparently part of the tech generation, I cannot for my life figure out how to get this right side up…)

There are ready-made practice notebooks on the market, but we’re going to use one that I’ve designed especially for our studio and will be providing to each student when we start up next week.  The notebook has two pages set aside for each week: one for lesson assignments and goal-setting, one for practice recording.

(view practice notebook pages)

The way the contest works is this: In the lesson, we write down our assignments basically as usual, except that I could use the “day” grid to pencil in suggestions for helping the student plan their practice week.  The student has a space at the bottom of the assignment page to think about and set their own specific goals for the week.  Then, the student needs to WRITE DOWN every day they practice.

It can be super-simple: just writing down the basics of what you did (scale, technique, pieces) and the time and leave it at that.  Or, you can use the space to journal a little more specifically–what worked, what didn’t, what needs more review the next day, etc.  The more detailed you are, the more helpful it will be; but start by just recording something, each day you practice.

Then, every day of recorded practice becomes 10 Music Points.  These Music Points can be redeemed for a Music Prize, which basically means that instead of physical CD’s, Mrs. Layug is finally catching up to the virtual world and offering digital music prizes!  🙂   (At this point that looks like Amazon gift cards which *ahem* you are on your honor to use for music  🙂  If I ever figure out how to do it with Itunes that will be available too!)

So, in summary:

-Write down your practice

-Every day of practice is worth 10 music points (10c)

-When you want to redeem it let me know, and I will check off the days counted and send you an online gift card to use FOR MUSIC

-Since I’d love for you to get music that will both be really fun and grow you as a musician–as opposed to just whoever’s big on the radio at the moment–I will also have a great big list up with lots of fun recommendations, with links.  I’ve got ideas for a little bit of everything on it, I just have to type it up.  Eventually. Soon, I hope.  🙂

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Easy Music Markings

Recently I’ve started using a set of very simple music markings in my practice–they’re pretty basic, but I thought I would share! I’ve always marked practice spots, and encouraged students to mark their own, with a start or a circle or a bracket, but this is an easy way to be a little more specific.

Mark your music with:

  • R=Rhythm
  • N=figure out Notes
  • I=Intonation
  • B=Bowings
  • A=Articulation (accents, staccatos, etc.)
  • T=hmmm…I was using it to mean Tone, but thinking about it, I think it might be more useful as reminder for Technique awareness.  What do you think might be a good substitute for Tone?  S=Sound?  D=Deep Bow?  I would love your thoughts!

Apologies, by the way, to any blog followers who got the link for lasagna this morning!  I posted to the wrong blog!  If anybody does want my lasagna recipe though, you are welcome to head over to the correct link here!