April 19, 2011

The Practicing Game

Recently I read a great list of 10 Best Ways and 10 Worst Ways to Practice, found on Marcia Vahl's blog. Sarah, from Discoveries Piano Studio, also read this list, and made this handout available for all of us. Thank you Sarah!

I wanted so badly to get this into my students hands, but how to do it in a way they would remember and that we could talk about it, without just giving them the handout they would probably not read thoroughly? Well, Sarah came to my rescue again with her ideas, but I adapted them a little to meet my own studio needs.

I printed both lists out on bright cardstock, and cut them so there was one practicing tip on each piece. I then put both headings on the wall with sticky-tack, and throughout the week, each student got to pick one tip and put it under the appropriate heading. Here are some pictures of how that worked. (Since my explanation just didn't make a lick of sense!)

See? Each student reads through the list (or I would summarize it for them if they were too young to read) and picks one to add to the appropriate heading.

By the end of the week, we had this:

So this week, as each student comes back, they are excited to see the completed list! Then I give them Sarah's handout and we talk about each one. It seems like it is making sense!

Click here, and you can download these lists for your wall, as I have done above. There are 6 sheets to this printable, and I rearranged the lists so that you can use multiple colors and mix them up a little bit. You will notice that I left out a few from the original lists - things like "Repeat Step 1" didn't seem like it would make sense until they saw the handout.

I hope these are a help to you!


  1. I had the same thoughts as you - how to make these wonderful lists meaningful and not a waste of paper. But that's where my thoughts ended. Your solution is brilliant!!

  2. Nicole- LOVE what you did :) You turned it into a group activity even without group lessons- brilliant! Let me know if you think the handout is making a difference!