Repetition & Practice Ideas for Parents of Young Children
I take credit for some of the ideas below, the others are from colleagues, classes, and the internet.
1. Play it your age.
2. Tape it.
3. Pick an UNO Card.
4. Throw the dice or die.
5. Wear a funny hat.
6. Set a timer and play it as many times as you can nicely in a minute.
7. Standing on one foot
8. Facetime a relative and play it for them a few times
9. Eyes on the ceiling.
10. Eyes closed.
11. With toothbrush in mouth.
12. Practice in a different room
13. Give a penny for every correct repetition
14. Write a story to sing with it.
15. Practice in your pajamas
16. Play it X amount of time to get a playdate or movie
17. Hold the bow backwards and play it
18. With a pencil in your mouth (to encourage breathing while playing)
19. Play it X amount of times and Mom/Dad will do X amount of jumping jacks, or eat X amount of green beans
20. Play it in a dark room
21. For every repetition Mom/Dad add a letter to a short message to child
22. Have a performance for stuffed animals
23. Practice outside
24. Every repetition gets a crayon, when finished they get only those crayons to draw with
25. With backwards bowing (ask teacher first, not all spots apply)
26. On a different string (ask teacher first also)
27. While sitting on the floor.
28. While standing up.
29. Mark off on a chart and have child watch repetitions add up
30. Create a repetition chart on your computer
31. Put paper in a basket numbered 5-15 and have child draw a number to repeat
32. Play it and reward yourself with an M&M or candy. (Set a limit here!)
33. Parents play another instrument at the same time.
34. Play it at different tempos
35. Put ear plugs in and try it that way!
36. Set an alarm clock for 5 minutes of play.
37. Play with the Suzuki tape.
38. While kneeling.
39. While balancing a book on head.
40. Have parents or friends dance.
41. By candlelight.
42. By flashlight.
44. “If you do this part 20 times you get all your fingernails and toenails painted” – stick to it! I’ve painted 18 before.
45. X amount of times = minutes to to X (ipad time for us)
46. Every correct repetition Dad has to do a pushup
47. Start drawing a picture – each correct repetition you add to the drawing for the child to see at the end – as many as it takes
48. Have a practice session facing the opposite way from the parent
49. Pluck the notes using the correct rhythm
50. Airbow and have child sing the notes
51. Watch a Youtube performance of another child play the same piece and talk about it
52. Have the child airbow while listening to the CD recording
53. Buy a violin mute and have them play their song with the mute on
54. Finger the section or piece but don’t use the bow
55. Video tape them and watch it later with the child without their violin
56. Use the most specific praise you can find (i.e. don’t say “Great job!”)
57. Play the song at the tip of the bow or at the frog
58. Focus on ONE thing to improve at a time.
59. Ask them to play it X amount of times, and have them decide if the repetition counts
60. Play their song with goggles on
61. Stand on their tiptoes and play
62. Play sitting down in a chair (taught properly to sit, I get a LOT more repetitions out of my daughter when she is sitting on my teaching chair, higher up than me)
63. If possible play along with the CD
64. Airbow or finger the song while watching a Youtube performance
65. Isolate the problem area to the smallest possible section
66. Have your child play it X amount of times while you are out of the room (still listening)
67. Put a Hershey’s kiss on their violin and after X amount of times they can eat it
68. This may be too much for some kids but sit in front of them while they play a repetition and put your foot on one of their feet during their repetition. Have them tell you which foot you touched.
69. After they did X amount of work choose 3 notes and a simple rhythm and have them write a short melody
70. Watch a Youtube video of someone playing and ask your child what they liked best
71. Join a discussion forum/fb group and discuss challenges and ideas with other violin parents and students
72. Help your child set a timer and *only* work on a problem section for that amount of time and then move on – knowing when it ends is something kids like to know
73. Start an incentive chart and discuss a reward after reaching a high goal
74. Put three coins/small objects in front of them. After each repetition move it to one side. If they mess up all the objects go back to the starting point.
75. Using A & E string notes see if they can play a short part of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Hot Cross Buns” or “Jingle Bells” or “Old MacDonald”
76. Bring opposite parent into the room and child tells that parent what they are working on and demonstrates the measure several times
77. Have child do 1 repetition then leave the room for a minute on purpose and listen to what they naturally play when you are not around -a minute alone with the violin usually won't hurt :)
78. Put a piece of masking tape over both your mouths and set a timer for 5 minutes and see what you both can accomplish without talking
79. If you have a bathroom that is large and the acoustics are great – practice in the bathroom! (Occasionally)
80. Look at the app store on your phone and see if there are any practice apps that may help
81. Play one time looking at the music, one time away, repeat
82. If you have a piano in the house let your child play around with his violin song on the piano (even playing bits and pieces of phrases on the piano reinforces memory)
83. Have the child decide what part of the piece they would like to practice
84. Do 5 repetitions, play an easy review song, then do 5 more, repeat with another song
85. Have days where you just have your child play through favorite songs and lightly touch on areas that need TLC