Tips To Help “Fit In” Practicing Into A Busy Schedule

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By Ian Green

I am the first to admit: we are all very busy! We all have challenges (some more than others) with managing time. In our busy lives, we have to make time for a lot of the various activities that we enjoy. Some of us find the sense of being organized an easy task, some of us find this a challenging task to overcome. Based on personal experience, I would like to share some tips and tricks that will result in successful practice time at home.

Set up a regular schedule

To help make things easy to everyone, set up practicing into the schedule just like setting up an appointment. This tactic will help you to find time in your schedule instead of putting practicing at the bottom of the list.

Play fun pieces at the beginning and end of a practice session

By starting and/or finishing a practice with something fun, students will stay engaged throughout the practice session. Keep the mind sharp by learning and working on new material, however, let your brain rest after processing a healthy dose of new materials.

Quality vs. quantity

Many of us consider a successful practice session to be a lengthy marathon in which the student works hard at various tasks for hours and hours at a time. Success does not come in large packages. Rather, quality comes in smaller bundles. Instead of looking for quantity of time, look for quality of time as students focus on materials that are challenging to them. This will create a successful experience as well as a successful practice session.

Try to practice every day of the week

Even though this is a lofty goal, it is a similar theme to that of point #1: consistent practicing (daily is always preferred) will create the best long-tern results. Consider it from this perspective: if a student works hard at the lesson and makes great progress in a particular area and then does not look at their musical material for 2-3 days, when the student revisits the materials later in the week, 80% or more of the new material that had experienced progress will be lost. If a student looks at new materials the same day as the lesson or the following day, the progress will stay with them 100% due to the “fresh” feeling that the new information has over the student’s mind.

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Elementary music teacher says the ‘key’ to teaching is rapport

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Author Sarah Guinn recently wrote an inspirational article on the importance of creating a rapport between the teacher and the student.

“More than 600 students come through Alison Smart’s classroom at Nelsonville-York Elementary School, and she can tell you a vast majority, if not all, of their names,” Principal Becky Dalton said.

From kindergarten through sixth grade, kids file into Smart’s classroom, which boasts 18 full-sized electric pianos, each with its own set of headphones.

Smart established her classroom in 2005 when she started her first — and only — teaching job at Nelsonville-York Elementary, and since then has coordinated school plays and Christmas programs, all of which have been well received by parents and community members, Dalton said.

So, how does a teacher bring out music in kids as young as kindergartners, and as old as adolescents? It’s rapport, Smart said.

To read the complete article, click here.

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About Ian Green

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Thank you for continuing to visit the blog My Musical Community! More blog posts will be coming soon!

In the meantime, to learn more about author Ian Green, click here!

Keep having fun, stay tuned for new updates coming soon!

Ian Green using iPad on Piano

 

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Guest Blog Opportunities

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Do you have an interesting idea that you would like to share?

At MyMuCo, we are always reading new and interesting articles from across the globe. Currently, we are looking to post new content. If you have an interesting idea, please share it with us by visiting http://www.mymuco.com/contact-us

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How to Avoid the “End of the Honeymoon”

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How to Avoid the “End of the Honeymoon”

by Ian Green

The first few weeks of the music school year are new and exciting. A sense of euphoria overcomes us all as we enjoy the fresh new experiences that are waiting for us. For young music students, this usually means we as teachers and parents can rely on the excitement the children feel to keep them motivated to practice outside of their lessons. But as October and November creep in, many students come to “The End of the Honeymoon.”

What, you may ask, is “The End of the Honeymoon”? In my personal experience as a music educator, “The End of the Honeymoon” is the time in the school year when students, teachers, and parents all experience the regular routine of schedules and the predictability of such activities that occur within the weekly schedule. Things become busy for all of us, and for some students, being self-motivated to practice at home can become a real challenge. Without routine practice, progress falters –  motivation drops even lower, and so on. These kids are at risk – risk of not achieving their full potential on their musical journey in life, or worse, at risk for quitting music lessons altogether!

MyMuCo, a music learning system for iPad, is a great motivational tool that is effectively helping students and teachers to move through “The End of the Honeymoon”. It includes features such as the guided practice plans that help students collect and redeem points for their work and track their daily practice schedules within the MyMuCo KIDS app,  to the time-saving, one-stop planning center of the MyMuCo Teacher lesson planner. My students call it “fun and engaging!”

In my particular case, I am using MyMuCo within my entire studio. For students that use the MyMuCo KIDS app, tracking their practice sessions, collecting points for their practicing, and engaging in their practicing in regular increments that they can manage offers the natural motivation to want to continue from one week to the next. The app is helping them through “The End of the Honeymoon”! For the students that do not have an iPad, I send a lesson report to their email address (or to the email address of the parent); this has helped to organize students to want to work at home due to the regular sense of connection that comes with the weekly email update. As for me, their teacher, I have found that the organization of materials related to lesson planning by keeping everything in one place has saved countless hours of prep time that I use on other activities.

The coined phrase “The End of the Honeymoon” need not occur; in my particular case, the feeling throughout my studio has been “The Next Step on the Journey”.

To learn more about the benefits of MyMuCo, please visit www.mymuco.com

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Sending An Email Using MyMuCo App

In the music lesson, communication between the teacher and the student is simple: the teacher and student work together during the lesson time, decide on the aspects of the materials that need work, enjoy the successes of good practicing, and then the lesson finishes. Traditionally, the lesson assignment is written down in a dictation book by the teacher; this dictation book is then given back to the student for their reference. In all honesty, how many students actually read their dictation books?

At MyMuCo, we have designed an interesting feature in the MyMuCo Teacher app that offers a simple way for teachers to email the lesson plan to their students, parents, or other people that might be interested in learning of the progress of their student.

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The Importance of Music Education

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In the article “The Importance of Music Education”, author Alexis Kalivretenos states:

“What if there was one activity that could benefit every student in every school across the nation? An activity that could improve grades and scores on standardized testing? An activity that would allow students to form lasting friendships? An activity that would help students become more disciplined and confident?

Fortunately, there is such an activity. Unfortunately, many schools will not make it a part of their curriculum, due to issues of funding and scheduling. This activity is something that everyone is aware of, but not everyone has a chance to participate in. This activity is music.”

Music classes (both private OR group instruction) should be an important part of the list of educational opportunities for every child. What would happen if music were to disappear?

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