Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Anatomy Week: piano practice





Also check out Practicing practicing.

Me:  It's piano time.

WonderGirl:  YAY!/NO! (it varies on the day, hour and second.  Don't them 'em see you sweat!)


If you haven't noticed the massive apparatus on WonderGirl's head, they are some serious headphones we snitched from Daddy's tech stuff.  We have all our music time when the Dude is napping because it's impossible to keep a 20 month old boy out of a super cool big sister's bizness.  To make sure he STAYS napping, she uses headphones.  I stay close by and she stays on task pretty well, although I can always pull the cord out and ask her to play me something if I suspect monkey business.

1.  Let's make a plan.  First we discuss review (warm-up).  I attack this a variety of different ways.  This was one of her earlier charts, before she had a large amount of review under her belt.

I would verbally give her some instructions- play this part so many times, this part so many times, the who song this many times, etc.  When she finished a whole page, she earned some kind of nifty reward, like a Daddy/daughter date.

Now, she has more review and her ability to focus has improved as well, so there's more to do.  Sometimes I'll make a quick list for her.


She likes to have boxes to mark off since it gives her a sense of accomplishment.  Some days I'll make the boxes to decide how many times she'll play it, other times I leave that up to her.  I find out how much she likes a certain song or not.  (I've noticed she's not a fan of A B Bop... so I always add extra turns on that when I'm doing the picking!)

Sometimes I let her make the list.  She gets to decide, and write out the songs she's chosen (I LOVE watching her phonetic abilities blossom doing activities like this!  The spellings are so creative and thoughtful!)


My only musts are that she practices both her new song, and the one just before it.  This ensures that she won't forget a song right after she passes it off and she has a nice library of songs to play whenever he heart desires.


2. Step back.  It's SO hard as a mom to not get in there, but I have to tell myself I've given her all the preparation she needs, she really needs practice working things out on her own.  I'll walk by occasionally and give her a hug or a compliment, and remind her to play on her fingertips.  Sometimes when I hear her getting frustrated, I'll slip in and help her practice the difficult parts.

3.  Check in.  When the list is all done, she comes and tells me and I usually ask her to play her new piece for me.  I give encouragement and advice, and if it isn't perfect I have to bite my tongue, because I know she'll get there eventually as long as she tries every day.  Heck, her last song took at least 3 weeks of tears and sweat to learn, but when it was finally there, there was dancing and rejoicing.  Worth all of the tantrums I had to work overtime to avert!

And when she's done, we move onto the next activity.  She ends up back at the piano throughout the day to play something familiar, show off to daddy or work on the latest song, but I let her play on her terms then.  Structured time is over, and I think an instrument should also be played.  Come by tomorrow for the anatomy of one of our violin lessons!
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