Updated: Jul 12
By Christy | the Practicing Pro
I’ve seen it so many times before: summer is almost over and despite your best efforts, that summer music practice goal just didn’t get met. The beach was calling, and so was summer camp and that bbq you got invited to. The camping gear was packed up and the piano keys got dusty. Life seems to speed up when it’s nice out.
Many student musicians are on “vacation” from their regular weekly lessons until they head back to the classroom in August or September. However, taking a full three-month break from practicing an instrument is sure to set your child’s progress back. This is discouraging for them, and being discouraged is one of the biggest reasons players discontinue lessons and do not want to play an instrument anymore. The good news is - it can be easily prevented. It's so much easier for them to just keep going (even a little bit) than to stop and restart all over again! Plus, many students make more progress in the summer when they are not so busy with homework and after-school activities.
Have no fear - it's not too late! “Now” is always the perfect time to start.
It’s OK if you have derailed your practice train, whether by just a few feet or off the tracks completely. You CAN get back on track again! And I am here to help do just that. Whether it’s getting you back ON or speeding you up, the end of your summer break is full of potential.
Here is a great way to get “chugging”, and it's super fun! The best way to practice is to have your kids work with you, not against you (which is more likely to happen if you are inconsistent with a practice routine)ith the KITE review, they may even remind YOU to practice this summer if you forget one day!
The KITE review activity - it's so FUN!
1. Gather your materials:
a piece of string
a stapler (OR tape/glue)
a printer (optional)
2. Print out or draw the ties/bows for the tail of your kite
3. Make the kite (follow the instructions provided)
4. Call a meeting with your practicing child/children
5. Make your practicing plan (your kids can decorate the kite while you plan)
6. Use the challenge sheets (the more your child/children can choose and be involved, the better)
7. Decide on your end goal to “get and fly a kite together”!
8. Practice away
9. Go fly a kite!!!
Tips for the Meeting:
A key component of this challenge is specificity. That is what the weekly challenge charts are for. We want specific goals and specific rewards! Specific means clear and attainable; anything general just isn't that.
We want your musician to learn how to break down their goals in order to attain them.
Example of Specific Practice Planning:
GOOD - setting a goal to “practice more”.
AMAZING - making the goal specific and measurable! For example, “practice at least 4 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes until the end of summer”
With your child, make a commitment of:
What you will practice each week.
The minimum amount of time you will practice (it can always be more but decide on the minimum length).
Write your goal down for the rest of the week or each week for the whole summer and then check it off each day.
Keep in mind that, usually, the “get started” part is the hardest! Once started, it’s usually not hard at all after that!
Example of Reward Planning:
GOOD - Practice every day and buy a kite after to celebrate.
AMAZING - Break it down
Call up Brent, your friend who also plays guitar, and invite him to do the kite challenge with you.
Fill out 4 kite challenge sheets (one for each of the next 4 weeks before school and regular music lessons start again).
After the first week, on August 14th, go shopping with Brent’s family to Toys R Us to get a kite and put it next to the kits chart (sealed in its package) for motivation.
On August 21st, after week two chart is completed, have ice cream at the park with Brent.
Send photos to Christy (@practicing pro)
Make a date to fly kites at the park and bring a picnic lunch.
FREE KITE Making PDFs
Here are some additional suggestions to make this activity the most fun for your family:
1. Making a box kite together (see how to make my easy BOX KITE - LINK HERE and I'll walk you through it step by step).
2. Buy a kite online and once it arrives, leave it IN the box and put it right next to your kite chart for motivation.
3. Agree on a day to go to the store for a kite. (Predetermine the store and the amount you will spend beforehand to avoid issues or disappointment). You can look up the kites that most stores sell online first before making a decision. Keep the motivation up by going out for ice cream when you reach the halfway mark in the challenge.
4. Do this challenge with another family that has a child/children who also play an instrument. They can live near you or be a long-distance friend or relative you can FaceTime when you go out to fly your practicing kites OR you can send videos and photos to each other.
I have done this challenge with my whole Suzuki school to wrap up the summer. THIS IS A GREAT SCHOOL OR STUDIO CHALLENGE! It’s both easy and fun.
Three ways to enter (send one or all three for more chances to win):
Get to the 3 /4 spot on your chart and send me a photo of your summer practice challenge kite in progress.
Let me know once you have finished your kite challenge and send me a photo of your completed chart and/or kite.
Send me a photo of you flying your actual kite after your challenge is completed! You can also make my Easy BOX KITE.
That’s three times you can enter the draw! Good luck!
Let’s get cracking together on the practice and get going again and back on track this summer and keep things going from now until lessons start again!
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.
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