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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Practice Tip: Golf!

It is that time of year when it seems that there is something in the air that distracts students, parents, and teachers alike from accomplishing good practices and lessons. Perhaps the recent Thanksgiving holiday break from the regular school and lesson routine, the delicious scents of once-a-year foods, the over-the-top energetic bustle and hustle at the mall sales, the sparking colors of the town square holiday decorations, or the Christmas and holiday music piped over the store sound systems add to the students' natural tendency to get excited about the season. How to get any teaching done? How to keep everyone focused on the teaching moments?

Recently a young student and I thought of a fun game to play at his lesson, and this game made things a little more engaging for this season. I do not plan to use this game frequently, but during this holiday patch, the game came in handy.

We had our list of lesson material to cover, and there were 6 things on the list. [I like the number 6 because dice have 6 numbers on them.] We assigned a "par" value to each of the songs on the lesson assignment sheet. For example, for the song "Allegretto" in Suzuki Violin Volume One, we assigned a par value of eight to represent the seven pinkies that I require in the song and the down bow circle before the third part. Then we started keeping a scorecard of how many points the student got for that song.

How do I assign the par values for other songs? I look through each song and determine what things I want the student to remember to include in his or her playing. I assign one point for each one of those things. Teachers could assign different par values at different times depending on the skills and practice items that the teacher has assigned.

This is a holiday season for most folks, and as a teacher I find that children are a wee bit distracted at this time of year. Perhaps teachers and parents are just as distracted. This round of golf may help pull things together a time or two until the holiday break begins.

Let me know how you deal with holiday distractions. What type of activities do you incorporate in your teaching or home practices and what type of success do you find?

Happy Practicing!


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