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#14413 - 06/01/03 02:06 AM Re: Practice Sheet
Dolce Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 934
Loc: USA
My kids know that Nintendo will never be in our home, and neither will Instant Messaging. I know kids whose parents are crazy over how much time they spend on Nintendo, and some kids spend entire afternoons IM each other. I decided this was not how I want my kids to spend their time. No Nintendo or IM is not a popular rule in our house, but it's a rule.

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#14414 - 06/01/03 10:43 AM Re: Practice Sheet
pianoannie Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 946
Loc: midwest USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by GeeTee:
Here are the statements. I'd like to know what you think...

1. I have worked hard, accomplished the goals of my assignment, and am prepared for my lesson.

2. I have worked hard but have not accomplished all of my assignment goals; I will need more time on some parts of my assignment.

3. I have not worked as hard as I could have and am not adequately prepared for my lesson.

4. I was not able to practice much this week and expect to repeat my assignment.

Comments??

[ 05-31-2003: Message edited by: GeeTee ]


I do like the 4 statements, and their potential for causing a student to really think through their own degree of effort and preparation. Of course, I'm not sure that all students would take it seriously, but it's worth a try. Could you elaborate on how you will actually use these questions--will you make your own assn-sheets to put in a binder, and these questions would be at the top of each page? Or would they simply have one copy of these questions with verbal instructions to think through them each week, and verbally tell you which most closely fits for that week? Or....?
BTW, I think I need to order the Practice Revolution after reading so many favorable comments here.

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#14415 - 06/01/03 02:00 PM Re: Practice Sheet
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
Ok, here's where my assignment/practice sheet stands currently...

I've prepared a table with 5 sections as follows:
1. Warm-up/Study piece
2. Pieces to cont./review
3. New Pieces to learn
4. Theory/written work
5. Pick-up music

To the right of each section are 2 large blocks for writing out the assignment, book, title, and specific pages, sections, measures, etc. to be practiced, and then for writing specific assignment objectives (as recommended in the PR book). To the right of these areas is a grid with 7 smaller boxes marked M T W T F S S for checking the day(s) each part of the assignment was worked on.

Below all of this are two small boxed areas: 1 called "take note" for any reminders I want to make to the student (ie trim nails, bring Christmas book next week, etc.), and the other labeled "Dear Parent(s) for notes to them.

Now, at the bottom of the sheet, where I've usually had M T W... and lines for them to record their practice times, I've instead listed the 4 statements with a small box next to each for them to check. I've modified these statements a bit:

I have worked hard, fulfilled the assignment objectives, and am adequately prepared for my lesson.

I have worked hard but have not fulfilled all of the assignment objectives. I will need more time.

I have not worked as hard as I could have and am not adequately prepared for my lesson.

I was not able to practice much and expect to repeat most, if not all, of the assignment.

Right above these statements is the instruction to "please check one of the following statements that best describes your practice week."

I do use binders and give them a new assignment sheet each week, so they will mark a statement each week. If a student arrives without marking one, then we will discuss the practice week at the start of the lesson and s/he can simply make a decision as to which statement best reflects the week and mark it right then. Because they already are recording what they've practiced on each day in the table, I can at least see at a glance where time has been spent practicing. BUT, they will have to commit to marking one of the statements before the lesson will continue. Then I will better know the quality of the practice and what to expect in their performances at the lessons.

Does this make sense? I have this sheet on file and would be happy to email a copy of it as an attachment to anyone interested. Just email me privately at gtpiano@yahoo.com

I may still make some other changes to it tho down the road. \:\)

[ 06-01-2003: Message edited by: GeeTee ]

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#14416 - 06/01/03 04:30 PM Re: Practice Sheet
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
This is JMO, but it would seem, to moi that is, that if someone has taken lessons long enough to read through all of that verbociousness, then they probably a) don't have time to mess with it cuz most students successful enough to find meaning it it are probably mega busy with other stuff anyway, b) aren't going to take time to wade through all of it, or c) don't care.

The thoughts and thinking behind it are great, but it can really be edited down a bit:
1. I practiced enough
2. I almost practiced enough
3. I didn't practice enough
4. I didn't practice.

What I got out of The Practice Revolution was that I should probably move away from as much written verbosity in assignment giving. Unless it's extremely specific thangs related to each piece, that is... But perhaps that's just me!!! \:D

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#14417 - 06/01/03 05:11 PM Re: Practice Sheet
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
Lisa, I appreciate your comments. What I'm after is not just "practice" per say, but a higher quality of practice with the intention of working toward specific objectives. What I've encountered thru the years (with the varied types of ways to track practice and practice times I've used) is that either a student will put in their time and "think" they've truly practiced when in fact the objectives I have painstakingly set forth have not been met or even attended to, or they put in a rather minimal practice week and then wonder why they aren't moving past the current assignment.

I'm confident that after they become familiar with the statements & their meaning, they'll know quickly which one to appropriately mark without getting continually bogged down in the verbiage.

Because most of my students are at the Jr. & Sr. High levels (and what I consider ages of practice accountability beyond merely recording times), I was seeking a way to help them think more critically about how they're practicing themselves. I don't want this responsibility to lay solely with me.

I will use my regular assignment sheets with my elementary students btw. This new one is only for my J/Sr Highs.

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#14418 - 06/01/03 06:06 PM Re: Practice Sheet
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Ya, I get what you're saying as a teacher. I don't know, however, that it translates to the student as such, this after running it by a couple o' teenage musicians zooming through the house today btw.

It's striking me/them as rather, for lack of a better word, church-like. Like they're going to confession or something, the horror. I would personally rather be set on fire, or have a warm barium enema even, than be humiliated by filling out a confession form each week, not to mention be subjected to a conversation about it! At least that's how the teenage moi would have felt about it!

I think what I'm saying is that putting it into a form/document is a very passive way of getting them to learn. Just another way of teaching by telling, I mean. My opinion would be that they can indeed figure out how to practice in the objective way you want 'em to, but that there are many, many more ways to involve them and teach them (or, much better, have them teach themselves) in a more active (i.e. the opposite of passive!) fashion.

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#14419 - 06/02/03 07:26 AM Re: Practice Sheet
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
Lisa, I'm beginning to see what you mean. I appreciate your insight (and that too of the teens passing thru). So, I suppose I'll go back to a simpler M T W... kind of thing where they record their times.

I just wish there was some way to keep at the forefront of some (not all) student's minds when they're practicing, that the goal is not just to put in time. Esp at the intermediate levels. And I try to drive this point home to them repeatedly. I also pour a lot of energy into preparing & laying out clear and specific practice objectives that often (with some students) are consistantly ignored. Then they come to the lesson, perform poorly, and yet can't seem to understand why since they practiced a lot this week!! I guess I was just wanting to get some of these kids to be more aware of how they are practicing. And deep down, unless they're too mentally passive or non-intuitive as Jala describes to be aware, kids really do know how they're practicing; "confessional" type statements aren't going to help. I see that now.

It's good to have a place where we can "think out loud" (kind of). Put's things into perspective. Thanks again. \:\)

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#14420 - 06/02/03 07:45 AM Re: Practice Sheet
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Why have them record their times then? If we all say that we want quality mind spent over time spent, then why do we make them record it? Just thinking out loud here myself....

Why not develop different very simple systems of recording for different sections of pieces each week? Something as simple as a checkmark on a mini post-it note would work. I think the less fancy schmancy the better.

For students of the age you have, I think I would have them all buy a digital timer. Remember that part in the book where he talked about setting it for three minutes to work on, for example, a two measure trouble spot? This has revolutionized my own practice! I had NO IDEA how long 3 minutes was. I fixed something that had been plaguing me for WEEKS using that method.

The other thing I liked in the book for this age kids was his back-needs-scratching analogy. I think kids that age could really relate to it. An assignment for one week could be JUST to find the spots that need scratching. Just imagine: an assignment where they get to circle what's WRONG with thangs and not worry about fixing it! For many, it would probably take longer than the actual fixing. :rolleyes: ;\)

The other thing I would do with older kids like you have is spend more lesson time on supervised/guided practice, using the little tricks you've picked up. I think it would be empowering to them.

I'm gonna re-read this book again, probably several times, this summer. Maybe we should start a new thread on it. I would like to figure out how to involve parents from the start in the practice process this fall for my beginners, for example. He gave some ideas, and I want to make it interactive vs. legalistic and wordy, for lack of a better description. We can all put the blah-blah-blah speech in our policy or deliver it at the interview, but getting them to interact from the first lesson would be waaaaaay better.

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#14421 - 06/02/03 09:18 AM Re: Practice Sheet
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:
Why have them record their times then? If we all say that we want quality mind spent over time spent, then why do we make them record it? Just thinking out loud here myself....


Lisa, you are so right. I have vacillated between kids recording times vs simply placing a check on the days they've practiced. Either way you run into situations where time doesn't always = accomplishment, or a check might = 5 min. or less time at the piano! Far from adequate.

Ok, I've been hammering away at my assignment sheet all morning betwn peeks at this site, and here's something more workable & meaningful to both me and the students... (I hope)

To the far right of the sheet for each area of the assignment (warmup, review pc, new pc, theory) are 2 small columns marked "ready" and "not ready". Here the student can place a check to indicate how they feel their progress on the assignment is coming. This is NOT for me to necessarily comment on, just for an "at a glance" peek at where THEY think they are with the assignments. Then, at the bottom of the sheet there is a M T W... kind of thing with lines for them to simply check the days they feel they spent adequate time working on the assignment. Not times! Then, finally to the left at the bottom, I simply have placed a little shaded text box for their own reflection. It says:

For you to think about...
This week did you:
> Practice enough?
> Practice almost enough?
> Practice not enough?
> Didn't practice?

Again, this will only be for them to ponder. I'm sure after awhile, they won't even see it, but from time to time, as I reiterate various practice tools, etc. I may lift these questions up for them as reminders. And, btw, my kids are all used to marking SOMETHING on their sheets. They've been doing in from the start and know I don't allow them to neglect this.

What do you think?

[ 06-02-2003: Message edited by: GeeTee ]

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#14422 - 06/02/03 09:44 AM Re: Practice Sheet
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
I like the idea of using the 4 statements better than checking off days or writing down minutes. I like way they are stated in pianoannie's post above. One thing my policy says is that quality of practice is more important than the number of minutes or days practiced, HOWEVER too little time or too few days of practice is not sufficient for musical growth and progress. Quality requires time. If a student got in one real good day of quality, well great, but that is not enough. Frequency and sufficient time IS important and I don't want them to think it is not. I think frequency is more important than the actual length of time at each pratcice so I do like to know how many days they put in more than minutes. Still, I like those 4 statements best and think I will adopt that on my new assignment sheets.

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