Mystery Practice Assignments Pt 2

Since last week’s post about Mystery Practice Assignments got so much attention on Pinterest and since my students seem to be enjoying the suspense involved in having to wait to find out what their practice assignment for each day is, I’ve decided to do a follow-up. Here are some of the mystery assignments I will be using this week. These are some of the tried and true favorites that I have used over the years in students’ notebooks as well as one idea that came from a comment on a post about How To Get Kids To Sing. Also, this week there will only be 4 mystery assignments – one for every other day. (Hmmm…could this be another way to reinforce the concept of skips?)

1.Place a small ball in the palm of your right hand. Wrap tape around the ball and your hand. Play the Treble clef notes of your practice piece without letting the ball slip out!

2. Using a kazoo, sing the first line of your practice piece whenever your brother or sister says your name tonight. (Thanks to Leila of 88pianokeys for this one!) Teachers/parents – for this one you may have to supply your student with a kazoo. This will actually add to the mystery since you will not tell him/her what the kazoo is for! You will only tell them that it is explained  in one of their envelopes!

3. Put on some dark sunglasses and play your piece with your eyes closed like Stevie Wonder. Were you able to play it without a mistake? If not, keep trying until you can!

4. Watch one of your favorite 30 minute TV shows and play your piece during the commercials. How many times were you able to play your piece?

For a printable copy of the assignments click here. There are enough for up to 4 students each. Simply cut strips and place in a sealed envelope for each day.

Mystery Practice Assignments

This post is about the never ending practice war. You carefully write out assignments in your student’s notebook, slowly explain what you wrote, and you wait 7 days. Then you find out your student didn’t even look at the assignment sheet. You give your student a look of shock or disappointment and explain again why practice is so important. Repeat the steps from the previous week. The cycle continues.

I’m sure most piano teachers are familiar with the practice war and some may even have come to accept it as just a normal part of lessons. Well, the rebel in me is standing up today and saying NO! This has got to stop!

So, I have a proposal for any teacher who is ready to accept the challenge to end the war.

This will take a little advanced planning, but I’m betting it will be worth it. This week I’m giving students a different practice task for each of the 7 days in between lessons. My goal is for them to complete at least 5 of these tasks. If they complete all 7, they get to choose something from my treasure box at the end of the lesson. Here is where it gets interesting  – I will assign and explain a really cool practice activity for the first day like one of the ones in Shhh… Your Piano Teacher Thinks This Is Practice by Andrea and Trevor Dow. The other 6 assignments will be given to the student in sealed envelopes with the message – “Do NOT Open Until _________ “! The day of the week will be written on the line. Before giving the student the assignments, I will be making a list of them in my teacher notes so that I can use that in the following lesson.

I can’t wait to see how many of my students will take the mystery challenge!

Will you join me in this quest to end the practice war? Like and / or leave a comment if you’re on board!