I still remember the fun practice games I played with my parents as a young violinist. You too can use practice sessions to bond, build self-esteem, and develop positive determination. Playing a quick, relaxing activity in-between practice repetitions helps keep the mood happy, and your involvement demonstrates to your child just how important their progress and happiness on the violin is to you. Here are some of my favorites for your family to enjoy!
1.) Candy Land
Candy Land is an ideal practice board game because it requires little play time per turn, keeping your practice session on track. Each time it’s your child’s turn, have them play a measure (or song, or new technique) before rolling the dice. What a great way to involve the whole family in practice time fun!
2.) Glitter Wands
There’s something about a glitter wand that mesmerizes even studio parents! Kids and parents alike set up their bow hold on the glitter wand and keep the hold relaxed and accurate until all the glitter falls to the bottom of the wand. Turn the wand upside down and start again!
3.) Arts and Crafts
Give a Rainbow Loom Rubber band to your child for each repetition and see what you can build in a day. Trade play-throughs for feathers, beads, craft supplies, everything. For each step in your project, play a review song. For the true artist, grab a coloring book and fill in part of a picture for every repetition. Paint-by-numbers works especially well for determining how much to fill in for each repetition.
4.) Build Them Up!
Legos (or Duplos, for younger kids) are an awesome way to help kids understand how each practice session takes them to new heights of achievement! Start a Lego village and add a piece for every conquered difficulty. For younger kids, put together a Duplo scene each day, rewarding each effort with a new Duplo. At the end, they’ll have a visual representation of their achievement!
5.) Third Time’s a “Charm!”
For every three times in a row your little violinist plays something correctly, give them a “charm” (a bead for a bracelet). Alternatively, use rhinestone embellishments and glue one on to a project for every three repetitions. Use these creations as presents for friends and family!
6.) Suzuki Review Games
You can find dice, review cards, and other Suzuki-specific games at thepracticeshoppe.com. You can use these dice to play Review Song Bingo as well!
A note on electronic games – while gaming on the iPad may sound like the ultimate practice reward for each kid, I don’t recommend it because isn’t centered around parent-child practicing, and earning screen time makes practicing seem like a chore that must be rewarded. Instead, practicing should be a time when parents and kids work together and enjoy the experience itself.
Above all, remember that every child’s first priority is making you proud with their playing! Praise their hard work, and let them know that trial and error is part of the process – we practice so much because we know that some things are too advanced to play correctly the first time!
All opinions are by Lauren Haley and all original content is copyright 2015 Lauren Haley Studios.