Music Practice Incentives for Kids

My five year old started violin lessons last summer.
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And though I am not featured in this photo, it means that I started violin lessons too. This also means that, on good days and bad days, we both have to practice. Any resources we can find to keep music practice fun (especially for the bad days) is good for both of us. Here are a few ideas that have worked for us and a few more I am anxious to try:

The Practice Shoppe has a TON of awesome resources for music practice. One I love is the bead counter. Bead counters are helpful when your musician has to practice a section “10 times a day.” It turns the repetition into a game and makes you feel like you’re making progress. There are several styles like this cute one for girls:

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And this dump truck for boys:

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Another great resource from The Practice Shoppe are the FREE DOWNLOADS . You can download a chart like this one for spring practicing:

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If you are using the Suzuki method, The Practice Shoppe also has free downloads for helping to practice specific songs and techniques, like this Twinkle Game:

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Or this Circle Bow chart:

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I also like this cute practice chart from ScrapMatters:

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But more than practice charts, we need ideas for games during the music practice time to keep it playful. One strategy that worked wonders was this cube:

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It is just a box from Xpedex wrapped in paper with page protectors pasted on each side. The roll of the dice dictated which practice song or section was next.

Yesterday, I put clues in a “magic box” about a secret upcoming event. Each time my violin player finished a section of her practicing, she could take a clue out of the box and make a guess.

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By the end of her practicing, she had guessed that her new friend Izzy was coming for a play date after group violin lesson.

The trick is keeping it fresh. The cube was old stuff after about 2 weeks and I don’t have a secret surprise everyday. Sometimes a practice is just a practice, and that’s okay. But on the days when there is a little something special, the music rings sweeter for both of us.

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