Make Practice Organized with FROGS
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
By Christy | the Practice Pro
Hello everyone, I’m so excited to share with you this fun practicing activity. You can make your version fancy, with things around your house, or use my free printable downloads. This activity makes drilling and review pieces happen in your home practice effortlessly. I can't wait to share this with you! Let's start with why both reviewing pieces, new pieces, and drilling little bits in your practice are so important. Then how to do it with these cute little guys!
How to review and drill during your music practices and still have fun!
The goal and purpose of practicing is to get better at playing your instrument. Of course, we want to do this as efficiently as possible and still have fun! Let's look at how you can organize your practices to make them organized and efficient using frogs!
When we go to our music lesson our teacher gives us knowledge.
When we take this knowledge and break it into small bits- I call these “ Golden nuggets” we take these little golden nuggets and repeat them over and over, slowly, carefully and correctly many many times - this eventually turns into ability.
As an independent or older student or as a parent supporting a younger student in the lesson your job is to search for and find those gold nuggets from your teacher. Think of yourself as a gold panner in the Yukon. Your lesson would be your pan full of little bits in the river. Your job is to carefully sift through all the bits to find the five or six gold nuggets. These gold nuggets are the most important parts for you to practice that week. Some teachers will point these nuggets out to you very clearly and you will know what to practice and what is expected while you practice them. The teacher might even follow up with you on them the next week. Other teachers might teach in a more general way and you will have to really search for the most important parts to practice so that you can improve quickly. If you are not sure exactly what to practice it is OK and encouraged for you to say to your teacher “What five or six very specific things would you like me to practice this week and exactly what would you like me to focus on? While I practice them.” If you plan to ask your teacher this question make sure that you tell your teacher that you would like this at the beginning of the lesson so that they can think about it during the lesson and let you know. Ask them again at the end of the lesson but be sure to leave at least five minutes.
Learn faster on review pieces
Remember when working on a new technique or a focus, never do that with something new, always work on a new technique with something you already know without effort.
If your teacher asks you to learn something new in a new piece because it’s the first time you’ve come across it for example look at some of the old pieces that you play perfectly and see if you can practice it there instead first.
Modify the tempo of a piece, or the Bowing for example to practice a different bow hold, a shift, vibrato, a new elbow position or bowing concept for tone etc....practice the new technique or focus on a review/piece FIRST until it's easy and doesn’t feel new anymore and then transfer it to your new piece. YOU WILL IMPROVE AND LEARN SO MUCH FASTER!!!
Activities that are fun including BOTH review pieces and drill spots are AMAZING and so effective.
How the frog activity works
Here is one of my favorite practice organizing activities using FROGS!
Who doesn’t love frogs?!! 🐸 🐸 🐸
VERSION ONE - six review pieces with drills in between
1. Use the practice chart
2. Every review piece played with a focus equals one Lily pad
3. Between each of the six review pieces (that’s the goal) do your “nuggets” or drill spots 3-10 times depending on the age of the player. Put a frog on a Lily pad for each repetition if younger or if older for each set of repetitions, doing multiple sets of repetitions in total.
4. Have fun! Check out my other pins about Review Charts and grab some free charts to use!
VERSION TWO - an activity for drilling
1. Each Lily pad represents a “nugget”
2. Place a frog on that Lily pad each completion.
Example: six Lilly pads with each one representing a scale. Every scale repetition place a frog on the Lilly pad OR take one off to have the end of practice when all frogs are gone (or eaten if you use little candies for the frogs)
This is what I used:
Piece of large blue fun foam - you have to purchase in a package BUT there are more practice activities to come that we will use the rest for.
Green sparkle pom poms - they don't have to be sparkly but that's more fun!
Lily pads - I made and painted these cardboard lily pads
(see below for QUICK links on Amazon for all of the supplies you might need)
Here are SO MANY OPTIONS that you will be able to find one that will work for you! 🐸
Use little treats for the frogs:
For more fun use green gummy bears. You will need to buy a large bag of mixed gummy bears and then pick out all of the green ones (and eat the rest of the coolers!!!!😀) Smarties work too but there are fewer green ones in a bag so you will need to buy two or more bags and eat all of the extra ones!!!!😀)
Lesson Practice sheets:
Here are my practice sheets for this Frog activity to fill out during your lessons.
(How to use my practice sheets with examples)
Making your activity - FREE printable download:
You can print these Lilly pads and frogs in color or black and white - you to choose!
Your player can color the black and white versions themselves to help prepare their own activity with you. For some children, helping to make/assemble their practice activities makes them feel more invested in them.
As a BONUS, I added some fun frogs with facial expressions. Have fun!
BONUS - Practice reward ideas:
Did your timer not go off yet and you ended your practice EARLY from your amazing focus and work? REWARD TIME!
Widget frog rhythms:
You can play your favorite rhythm games to celebrate the end of a hard working practice with a Widget Frog. see below for a link to a Widget frog on Amazon.
Paper Origami frogs:
You can make a few simple paper origami frogs together after each practice. Try the activity again using your own paper frogs once you have made enough. There is also the Classic version by “Printable Fairy”.
INVITATION from Christy Hodder:
There you have it! My super fun FROG practicing charts and activity. I hope that you enjoy it!
Please send me a photo of your completed FROG activity with your musician to share with other parents. I would love to see it!
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.
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(Here are some QUICK affiliate links on Amazon for all of the supplies you might need to make it easier for you.
I do not work for Amazon but if you ever purchase anything from Amazon via a link from this site, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. It will help pay for this program to continue. Thank you.)
Large sheets of fun foam
You will only need the blue but we will use fun foam for other practice activities and its a great thing to have on hand.
Authentic Lily Pads / Leaves
these are made of very sturdy material. The smaller six are the perfect shapes. You could use the bigger three for a larger thing like playing all three RCM exam pieces in a concert like in your exam. one can also represent performing half of a book for an upcoming book concert. Or doing a concert for someone either live or by computer.
Frog Paper punch
A paper punch that makes frog shapes! If you are a scrapbooker then you can add this to your collection on punches. use any stiff card stock green paper.
This is a pack of 200 and you will only need about 20-30 for one practice. This is what you would need though if you buy the big leaf package above and make a HUGE frog pond with a week's worth of practicing.
If you purchase these - Buy a few packs and pick out all of the green ones and save the rest for other practice activities for another day.
You will need 20-30 so buy two packages.
This is a special percussion instrument that you can play rhythm games on! A perfect reward to end a hard working practice.