One weekend afternoon, when I was admittedly much less rushed than usual in my practicing with Gabriel, I remembered a practicing game to help make repetition fun. He was frustrated with learning a challenging bow distribution in Go Tell Aunt Rhody and was resistant to playing it more than a few times. He needed a LOT more practice of this spot to get over the hurdle and beyond the frustration. I got out paper and drew a big circle. I invited him to draw part of a face after each time he played the tricky bowing correctly. He jumped right in, playing away, excited to add silly details to his face to show me. We each did a face, actually, and he loved seeing what I would draw as well. This game went so well that we continued playing, this time putting lego pieces together for each repetition. We did this both days of the weekend. A practice success!!
A few weeks later, Gabriel was rushing through O Come Little Children and forgetting to stop his bow at the end of each phrase. After repeatedly reminding him to stop his bow,
and BEGGING him to please slow down (didn’t his teacher say to play slow and steady?), all to no avail, I finally reached for a pad of post-it notes and made three signs: GO, STOP, and SLOW DOWN. These worked LIKE A CHARM! He remembered the bowings, and loved responding to the SLOW DOWN sign. We used them for
three days in a row and even brought them to his lesson. Who knew post-its could help so much?
Often our kids just don’t want us to tell them what they should do with their instrument (even though we are right!). But they will respond to a SIGN, a NOTE, or some other type of direction. Try to think outside the box—you will be happy you