Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Does your player agree to play songs in their practices but fight or resist doing slow drills of little spots? I have a solution for you!
Here is my muffins activity to help make your "drilling of nuggets" in your practices more fun. Take my muffin practice chert to your next lesson to record your exact drill spots (golden nuggets) from your teacher. This activity is especially great for musicians that already like to bake muffins or would like to give it a try!
Practice smaller bits with fewer errors in them to drill
During your lesson glean from the session drilling spots from the teacher to put on the chart. For young ones pick 2 or 3 things per song. for older ones, you can have more but please carefully observe your player. know how many make them feel discouraged. if you have too many spots to drill in a piece then they are doing too much at one time. a piece is best learned a section at a time with only a few drill spots. if you have too many then you are learning slower than you could if you did a smaller section at a time with more correct repetitions. if you do larger sections before you are ready with lots of errors then that means a large part of your practice is being spent on practicing mistakes and hence getting better at making those mistakes.
What if your teacher doesn't give specific practice instructions each week? Show your teacher ahead of time (or email them) the muffin chart. Let them know that you are doing a special practice activity this week and need to fill out this sheet in the lesson. You will be looking for specific practicing spots and what to do exactly in each spot. an
Example to write on your sheet:
c# higher - on tape. 5x
How many times do I repeat when drilling nuggets?
In each piece, you should aim for 1-3 things to drill in each piece. I say for tiny ones that "3 times is practicing" then as they mature 5 times and after that 8-10 times. never more than 10 times. That's too many for a brain. It stops learning fast at this point and it is now waisting your practice time. Instead, for senior players, practice a nugget slowly and carefully 10 -12 times and then change the rhythm or bowing pattern. Another great thing is to drill then do a review piece by memory, drill, and then do a review piece by memory, etc. This way your time is maximized and your learning curve is higher. You could also do a scale in between each set of drills.
DO NOT ask the teacher to fill the sheet out for you. out. This is not the best use of the teacher's time. All of that time can be used to teach and practice with your player. If you can master this skill in your lessons then your student has more time with the teacher and you know what exactly to practice at home. its a win-win and the best deal for all parties
Practice activities and charts clearly showing what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and how many times are very EFFECTIVE. You can practice for a shorter time, with less frustration and a sense of accomplishment as you learn much faster!
Lesson Practice sheets to download:
Here are my practice sheets for this Muffin activity to fill out during your lessons.
(How to use my practice sheets with examples)
How the muffin activity works:
VERSION ONE SET UP
1. Each paper has measure numbers to drill written on it, the piece it is from, and the task.
VERSION TWO SET UP
1. Put the name of each review song on a paper (maybe you have 30 and need to have a stack that will be used for multiple practices before finishing them. put all of your drilling spots on papers too. FOR each practice choose 6 review papers and ALL of your assigned drilling nuggets papers. At the next practice choose 6 new review song papers and again use ALL of the drilling nugget papers.
2. Put into the cup the number of blueberries you know needs to be done for that spot. 5 or 30!
3. For fun roll 2 dice (older) or 1 for younger and put that number of blueberries in the cup.
4. When practicing choose a muffin cup. Each time you play what the cup says successfully put a blueberry into your bigger bowl. when all of the cups are gone your practice is complete. you can eat them as you go or save them to bake muffins after your practice.
This is what I used:
package of muffin papers
fine tip sharpie pen
box of blueberries or a bag of chocolate chips
(See below for QUICK links on Amazon for all of the supplies you might need.)
There you have it! My super fun Muffin practicing charts and review activity. I hope that you enjoy it!
Please send me a photo of your Muffin activity, with your musician, or baking together, to share with other parents. I would love to see it!
INVITATION from Christy Hodder:
DIGITAL COURSE - Practicing Pro Academy
Speaking of amazing practices, let me tell you all about the digital course I built and teach called "Practicing Pro Academy". It is an at-your-own-pace, six-week online course for teachers and students that will bring you even more successful practices with your players! I am also with you in person the whole time with weekly Q&As to answer all of your questions. It only runs a few times a year so you don't want to miss the next time! I offer a free Masterclass to kick off each course. You can join the waitlist here.
Free PDF download
Checklist for an Amazing Music Practice
Your easy checklist to have successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.
LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE on Instagram and/or Facebook to be inspired and join the positive practicing music community.