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#99 Creative Halloween-themed practice ideas to make practice more fun

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

By Christy | the Practicing Pro

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Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, the visionary violinist way before his time, taught how to teach young children to play a musical instrument beyond teaching a classical song correctly. He not only focused on teaching technically correct aspects of playing an instrument but also the nurturing of a child's spirit and confidence through music. Dr. Suzuki famously said, "Children learn to smile from their parents," emphasizing the vital role of joy and positive experiences in the learning process. It's not just about the teachers and how amazing they are and how good they are but it's also about how supportive the at-home parent is as well. As teachers, we need to support our parents at home to make practicing more fun and consistent and as parents we need to always be searching for how to have better and more effective home practices.

Today, we'll explore why making music practice fun and motivating is essential, drawing inspiration from two creative practice ideas – the "Haunted House Composition" and the "Halloween Masks Book Concert."

The Power of Fun in Practice

Dr. Suzuki understood that children, when presented with a joyful and engaging learning environment, are more likely to thrive and develop a genuine love for music. When practice sessions are turned into moments of excitement, curiosity, and exploration, children eagerly embrace their instruments. This means in lessons as well as at home.

*Imagine a young musician embarking on their daily practice session with the same enthusiasm as a child decorating a haunted house for Halloween.*

Haunted House Composition

In the "Haunted House Composition" practice activity, every practice session becomes an opportunity to add a spooky element to the musical mansion. Whether it's a mysterious creak on the staircase (a glissando on the piano) or a ghostly whisper in the attic (a gentle violin pizzicato), each day's practice reveals a new layer of musical mystery. By approaching practice as a creative adventure, children not only improve their technical skills but also develop a deeper connection to the music.

This a Free PDF from Practicing Pro - an empty mansion with all of the many pieces to add that are approximate sizes to glue in the mansion and an optional composition component.

Halloween Masks Book Concert

Another enchanting practice idea inspired by the spirit of Halloween is the "Halloween Masks Book Concert." This activity encourages young musicians to embrace their favourite Halloween characters while mastering their repertoire. Just like collecting candy while trick-or-treating, students earn a new Halloween mask each time they successfully play through their book concert as they are preparing for one in the next few months.

By the end of the few weeks, they have accumulated an array of masks, each representing a different Halloween character - a vampire, a witch, a mummy, and more. But here's the real magic: students can record themselves playing a few of each of the pieces while wearing one of the masks. As they complete the recordings, they are, in essence, creating a unique "Book Concert" featuring all of their hard-earned Halloween characters!

For the Mask PDFs check out the Monster Mask Blog HERE.

Dr. Suzuki's philosophy reminds us that music education is not just about mastering an instrument; it's about nurturing the child's spirit and instilling a lifelong love for music.

By mixing fun, creativity, and motivation into daily practice, and into your lessons, we also create for young musicians opportunities to also embrace their lessons and their daily practice with joy and enthusiasm.

The "Haunted House Composition" and "Halloween Masks Book Concert" are just two examples of how we can make practicing a delightful adventure that aligns perfectly with Dr. Suzuki's vision – where children learn to smile through music.

For me - I have made a Haunted house for each of the SSSM students. Their teachers will give them to them at their lessons one - two weeks before Halloween. Each student is assigned the rules by their teacher depending on their needs but the guidelines are

1- listening

2- 6 review / upgrade pieces check off their sheet

3- new things assigned by the teacher checked off on their practice sheet

This encourages them to practice and have fun and also to leave their lessons prepared to know exactly how to practice with their practice sheets in hand.

Happy Halloween! You’ve got this!

Personal note: This is what the entrance at my school looks like on Monday the week after we passed out the Haunted house activity. I love displaying the students "hard work" I call their activities. They feel so proud, and the other children and parents feel motivated to start or complete theirs if they need a little inspiration.

26 different objects or elements for the "Haunted House Composition" practice activity:

1. Eerie footsteps in the hallway - FOOTPRINTS

2. Flickering candlelight - CANDLE WITH A FLAME

3. A mysterious, ticking clock -BROKEN CLOCK

4. A ghostly sigh from behind a closed door - WORD BUBBLE WITH “SIGH” INSIDE

5. A rattling chain in the cellar - CHAINS

6. A shadowy figure in the mirror - DARK MAN FIGURE

7. A secret passage opening - CLEAR DOOR CREAKING OPEN

8. A ghostly wail from the attic - GHOST

9. Cursed, whispering ghost voices in the walls - GHOST

10. A spider crawling down the wall - SPIDER

11. A flickering, malfunctioning lightbulb - LIGHTBULB

12. A hovering ghostly figure - FLOATING GHOST

13. An old, dusty spellbook - OLD SPELL BOOK

14. A muffled, eerie piano playing - OLD PIANO

15. Haunted suits of armour - OLD ARMOR

16. Ominous, howling wolves outside - HOWLING WOLVES

17. Phantom hands playing a violin - GHOST VIOLIN

18. A flickering, ancient candelabra - CANDELABRA

19. A spectral cat with glowing eyes - BLACK CAT

20. A mysterious, ticking metronome - TICKING METRONOME

21. Creepy, crawling insects - INSECTS

22. A cursed, haunted mirror - CRACKED MIRROR

23. Bubbling cauldron - CAULDRON

24. Hungry rat - RAT

25. Rattling bones - CREEPY DANCING SKELETON

26. Groaning Mummy - WALKING MUMMY

These elements can be represented by various musical techniques, sounds, a simple melody or effects depending on the instrument and skill level of the student. Encourage students to use their creativity and imagination to interpret and add these elements to their haunted house compositions during practice sessions.


Personal note: This is what the entrance at my school looks like on Monday the week after we passed out the Haunted house activity. I love displaying the students "hard work" I call their activities. They feel so proud, and the other children and parents feel motivated to start or complete theirs if they need a little inspiration.

Photo Gallery below - send yours in and Ill post it to share!

Check out my Free PDF download Checklist for a Successful Music Practice for teachers and practicing parents.

Your easy checklist for successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent or music teacher, this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.

INVITATION from Christy Hodder:

Speaking of amazing practices, let me tell you all about the digital course, the Practicing Pro Academy. This is for the serious practicing parents and music teachers and is an at-your-own-pace, step-by-step, online course to bring you more effective, positive, and fun home music practices. Registrants receive a special package in the mail from me, and I am with you in person with Q&As to answer all your questions.

Learn more about PPA and join the waitlist HERE for the next Practicing Pro Academy course. It's only offered once a year so you don't want to miss it. The registration will only open for a few weeks and I'll let everyone on the waitlist know immediately so that you can grab one of the spots.

LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE on Instagram and/or Facebook to be inspired and join the positive practicing music community.

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