The M&M piano practice game

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This game can also be used to practice the violin, guitar, voice, or any other instrument.

Materials:

  1. A bag of M&M’s, or any other form of bribery! You can also use stickers, temporary tattoos, Cheerio’s, jelly beans, or anything small that will provide instant gratification.
  2. A pencil (option)

How to play:

First, decide on how long a section of the music your child needs to practice. Most teachers will write down specific practice sections for your child to practice. If that is the case, mark those with a pencil and number them. These are your practice spots. If your child’s teacher hasn’t marked any specific practice sections ask your child to show you where the hard parts are in the music, and then circle and number them. For younger children that are playing shorter pieces, you can use the whole piece as your practice spot for this piano practice game.

Next, decide how many times in a row you will play each practice spot to earn your treat! I usually recommend between 3 and 10 times, depending on the age of the child and the length of the practice spot.

Line up your M&M’s and start playing! As soon as your child gets to the end of their practice spot, they can munch a candy, or earn a sticker, etc., and then they start again. Watch the rows of chocolates disappear, and watch your child’s piano practice get better and better!

How to encourage your kid to practice during the summer

recitalforthecows

1. HOST A MINI-RECITAL

Help your child organize their own summer concert! This can be as simple as lining up some teddy bears in the living room and putting on a performance for them. Or, you can go all out and design a recital program, invite family and friends, and even enjoy refreshment when it is over.

2. LEARN A NEW SONG TOGETHER

Is there a special song that your child has heard on the radio or in a movie this summer? Why not get together on the violin, guitar, or piano and learn it together! Search on YouTube for your song and add the words “piano tutorial” or “violin tutorial” to the songs title and you are ready to go!

3. ADD A NEW MUSIC BOOK TO YOUR COLLECTION

One of my favorite music memories was going to the local music store with my Mom and picking out a new piano book to learn during the summer. If you live in Victoria, B.C. you can visit Long & McQuade, Tom Lee Music, or Larsen Music for a great selection in Disney, Pop Tunes, Easy Play Classical, etc. If you are not sure what level of difficulty a piece should be, bring in your child’s current method book and the staff will able to help you find a good fit.

For a great no cost option you can visit your local public library or swap music books with a friend.

4. CREATE A REWARD CHART

If your son or daughter is like mine, they might love a reward chart like this Piano Pirate Incentive Map  to help encourage piano practice during the summer. Or make your own! Have a prize at the end (a trip to the ice cream store, new box of sidewalk chalk, or tickets to the Nutcracker!).

5. TAKE IT OUTSIDE

For mobile instruments, like the violin or guitar, bring your instrument outside to your backyard have fun playing your favorite tunes. For piano players, keep your eyes on the news for projects like this.

Happy practicing!