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Whether you teach piano, guitar, violin or kazoo, your lessons probably often start with a similar question from week to week, “So how did practice go?”

Hopefully, all of your students exclaim, “Great!” and go on to display their progress with confidence and joy! You’re impressed and booming with enthusiasm and teach the best lesson you can give.

These young practicers take lessons with you for ages. Why not? They keep progressing, your community takes notice, and soon enough you have a large studio of great students that stay on for ages, and you don’t have to spend energy or resources on attracting new ones. What a positive loop!

Or…maybe sometimes your weekly question is met with an awkward pause, followed by an excuse, followed by the same lesson as the week before…we all know the scenario.

So what strategies do you have in place when this happens?

Practice Space is committed to getting music students to practice more and helping teachers create better lessons for their students, so we wanted to offer some simple tips on how to get your students practicing more.

While some of these strategies would work for students of all ages, they are admittedly more curated to younger students. Check them out and give them a try!

Practice Streak Awards

Consistency goes such a long way. A student would be more prepared for a class if they practiced 20 minutes a day, over a couple of 70 minute sessions. Coupled with the fact that younger students respond really well to challenges makes a practice streak challenge super effective!

If they practice everyday in a row for the amount of days you designate, they complete the challenge!

Try a 30-Day, 50-Day or 100-Day challenge with varying levels of rewards. For example, students could get a ribbon for 30 days, a medal and for 50 days, and a trophy for 100 Days. Some students have practiced every day for over 5 years!

Remember to make it fun, make it work for your budget, and also never loose sight of the goal: motivation. If someone misses a day because they are sick, make an exception, or if they are traveling, have them do a listening assignment.

Thomas Viloteau's 6 tips for effective practice

Game-Based Repetition

Repetition is a necessary part of a successful practice session. This one can be tough to do if you are not able to have a parent involved for at least some of your student’s practice at home and is really only effective for students 12 and under. It’s also great to do this in the lessons!

Have the student roll a die (albeit virtually these days) and then do the assigned task that many times successfully to get a move in the game.

Tic-tac-toe, or Connect Four are usually big winners. Before a student knows it, they have done the same, small section of a piece 20 times! You can ask a parent or guardian to sit-in on a student’s practice session for a few minutes to try this out too.

Of course it’s important to make sure the students is focusing on their instrument when they are doing the repetitions, and not taking too much time to make a move during the game. This is why Chess is not a great option for this strategy!

Goal-Oriented Events

These can be opportunities organized by other organizations or by you.

For more advanced students adjudications offered by the Royal Conservatory of Music, ABRSM, or you state’s music educators organization can be fantastic. Competitions can also be great if everyone is approaching them with the right attitude.

At a minimum organizing a recital for you students a couple times a year at a local venue should be an integral part of your studio! Online recitals or casual open-mics via Zoom are a super powerful motivator these days!

Practice Space!

With the Practice Space Teacher app, teachers can create lessons with detailed notes and demonstration videos, create custom awards for their students, and also track their students’ progress.

In the Practice Space Student app, students see all current and past lessons their teacher have made them, all of their past practice logs, and get tons of in-app incentives to keep practicing: your studio’s practice leaderboard, practice streak awards, and your studio’s in-app store rich with avatars, backgrounds and any custom awards you’ve setup.

Try Practice Space for free today!

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Guitarist

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