Practice What You Preach

Do you find yourself telling your students to practice but you don’t practice yourself?  Do you set an example and practice what you preach?

Recently I have been thinking about all my students and my requirements for them.  I set high expectations, because I believe that if you expect little you receive little in return.  I also believe it is good to give my students a challenge, remembering of course their abilities and what they can handle.  A couple of months ago the thought came to my mind, am I practicing what I preach?  I require them to practice 6 days a week, but do I practice 6 days a week?  Do I make time to play the piano or learn something new and better my skills?  Because I want to be a good example for my students, I decided to make a goal to practice not only 6 days a week, but every single day.  Even if it is only a minute or two.

Now I know sometimes being a teacher I get so busy preparing lessons, teaching, or doing other things that I don’t practice myself.  (Does that sound familiar?)  But if life were so busy for my students that they couldn’t practice, would that be okay?  Absolutely not!  So I decided to reevaluate my priorities and live more by example.

I am happy to say that I haven’t missed a day of practice in almost 2 months.  It isn’t easy because like I said before, life does get busy.  The older we get it seems life just gets full of things to do, and I always seem to have a list of things I want to accomplish.  But if I make it my priority to set the example and always push myself to better my skills, then I do have time everyday.  I might not have hours, and some days go better than others, but making the goal and putting in the time has made me a better musician.  And that is what we want to encourage in our students, right?  So I challenge you to ask yourself, “Do I practice what I preach?”

Music Spinners

Music Spinners

Not all teachers have an iPad or can afford to make such an investment, and sometimes you might need more then one spinner Feel free to download these.

Music Spinners

All you need to do is print, laminate (if desired), cut out design, then use a 3/16 hole punch to cut out the holes in the arrows.  In the middle of the spin board you can use an x-acto knife (or the tip of any knife) to cut a small hole in the center.  After that put a small brass fastener through the holes and you are done!

Musical Alphabet Spinner

Some ideas I have for using these are…..
Quizzing a beginner on the musical alphabet.  Spin the spinner and then have them play the note on the piano or draw it on a staff if they are starting to learn how to read notes.

Quizzing a beginner on dynamics and note values.  Have them spin the spinner then write what they think the symbols mean or how long the notes last.  This can be used in a group setting as well!

I also plan to play some fun games together with some game boards I’m making! If anyone has any fun suggestions, feel free to share!