Author, mom, and Suzuki teacher Christine Goodner previously writes on her Suzuki Triangle blog, about how parents (not the physical space) are their children’s practice environment. Here she shares with us the the 3 minute process that can radically change how productive and positive your practice sessions with your child are. She writes...
I consider these few valuable minutes to be the most important thing you can do that will set up your practice environment for success. This is a practice I developed with my own children and I go through it mentally before each student that I teach as well.
It is tempting to think this is an unnecessary step, that we don’t have time, or that we’ll just make it as we go and get the same results but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Being intentional about how we run practice sessions as a parent sets our children up for success. It is 3 minutes a day (or less) that will save you hours of wasted time and save you tons of frustration.
I hope you’ll try it for a couple of weeks and let me know how it’s going!
1. Find a small notebook (your regular practice notebook works) or open a document on your phone to use on an ongoing basis.
2. Use the template Below to jot down a few notes about the upcoming practice. You may choose to do this right before the practice session or right after a practice session for the next day (review the notes before you start the next practice).
3. Use your answers to the questions below to structure your practices, set the tone and stay focused on what is really important.
Practice Pre-planning Template
In Today’s Practice I will focus on being _________________________.
Consider the following: What does your child need most from you? What do you need to work on yourself as the parent to help bring out the best in your child? What sort of responses and attitudes from you set up the best environment for your child to learn in?
Some potential answers might be: encouraging, engaged & present, focused, positive, less talkative, focused on what is going well . . . .
In Today’s Practice our Main Goal is ____________________________.
Most weeks of lessons I will let my students know what my main goal for them is (this could be about technique, tone, dynamics or any number of things). The main goal of practice can be whatever it is you know your teacher is working with your child on the most.
It can also be something like: getting to the end of practice without fighting, finishing all the tasks on the practice chart, only making positive comments, using non-verbal cues to remind my child to do something while playing instead of interrupting and endless other options.
It can be helpful to just say to your child – “Today we are going to focus on _____ while we practice” at the start of each practice. You may even want to write the focus of the day in big letters at the top of your practice notebook so you keep it in mind the whole practice.
The Three Most Important things to accomplish today are: ________________________.
You may have a long list of tasks to accomplish each week from your teacher. Deciding what the top three are for a particular day can help you make sure you don’t run out of time for something important. It can also help you rotate through material if you can’t get to everything everyday. (Didn’t get to something yesterday? That may need to go on the most important list for today).
Your teacher can help you prioritize things if you aren’t sure where to start. I am always open to a family saying to me “We just aren’t getting to everything every day . . . what should we make sure to always practice no matter what?” Most likely working on tone and reviewing will be on that list!
It can be really helpful to add any important events you are preparing for to your pre-planning list as well. Recital in one month or Institute in June – just having a reminder of what is coming up helps keep the focus on important goals while we practice as well.
It just takes a couple of minutes but going through this pre-planning routine can radically change the tone of your practices and how productive they are. I hope you will try a two week experiment and let me know how it goes for you! You can email me an update Christine@SuzukiTriangle.com and I would love to hear from you about if this has helped in any way.
Christine Goodner is a Suzuki Teacher in Hillsboro, Oregon, currently serving as the President of the Oregon Suzuki Association, and author of the book "Beyond the Music Lesson". She is not a SHAR employee. This guest blog was originally published on her website, Suzuki Triangle, and has been reformatted here with her permission. Statements made do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SHAR or its associates. If you enjoyed reading this blog, please feel free to comment, subscribe, and click here for more guest blogs, product reviews, company announcements, tips and tricks, fun contests, and more! Also, find helpful or informative videos and blogs in the SHAR Library.