Kids and practice

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by A.N.A. Mendez, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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  2. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Ditto
     
  3. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

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    Sorry, see what I can do......
     
  4. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

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    LIFE
    No Vacation From Practicing for Young Musicians
    Tips for keeping children engaged in music and playing their instruments over the summer break
    By CORINNE RAMEY Aug. 4, 2015 11:37 a.m. ET
    Ari Ahdieh, a 10-year-old who lives in Decatur, Ga., understands the fundamental unfairness of summer, his mother says.
    “Ari says, ‘I don’t have homework, but I still have to do piano,’ ” says Krista Forsgren, an educational consultant. So in the summer, Ms. Forsgren encourages Ari to play along with his 13-year-old brother, Na’im, who plays the violin and is teaching himself the ukulele.
    Recently, Ari was playing a bluegrass tune on the piano, when Na’im picked up the ukulele and attempted to decipher the chords. A 15- minute jam session followed—a small victory, Ms. Forsgren says.
    “It was hilarious and ridiculous,” she says. “His brother let him, which is awesome. That’s what I want for my kids.”
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    With summer in full swing and school-year routines a distant memory, it’s easy for music students to let practicing fall by the wayside. Music camps are a great way for children to immerse themselves in music, but few last all summer and many children don’t attend until they are older. Unless a child is lucky enough to have a private teacher who offers lessons in summer, it falls squarely within the parents’ domain to enforce or entice a budding musician to stay in shape musically and keep practicing.
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    A basket in the front room of the Ahdieh home holds musical instruments. PHOTO: MELISSA GOLDEN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    The first problem, according to pianist and teacher Philip Johnston, is that dreaded p-word. It’s too nebulous, he says.
    “We send students home and tell them to practice,” he says. “That verb is somehow supposed to cover it.” But unless someone teaches them, young children don’t really understand what it means or how to do it.
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    Practicing lacks the defined steps and pathways of, say, a PlayStation game. Mr. Johnston says. “In a computer game, you’re never dumped in a forest. You’re given instructions: Collect 10 of these mushrooms, or kill 10 monsters.”
    Mr. Johnston, who lives in Canberra, Australia, has devoted 20 years to writing about practicing. He is the author of a 300-plus page book, “Practiceopedia: The Music Student’s Illustrated Guide to Practicing.” Now he is focused on an approach he calls “gamification,” or applying the principles found in games to the daily practice routine.
    In summer, parents can turn practicing into a game-like quest, he says, identifying the equivalent of mushrooms or monsters by creating bite-sized, realistic, clearly defined tasks every day.
    On Monday, a child practices until she can play a certain passage without mistakes. On Tuesday, she has to be able to play the passage while reciting the alphabet. And on Wednesday, she performs the passage in a video created for a grandparent.
    The practice session ends not after a certain number of minutes, but
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    In summer, the only bad practice is no practice. Krista Forsgren helps her daughter Mae Ahdieh, age 3, play a drum with her sons, Na'im and Ari. PHOTO: MELISSA GOLDEN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    rather when the task is accomplished.
    For Meg Romano, who works in the banking industry, practicing piano with her daughter, Vivian, used to be a painful and challenging experience.
    Na'im Ahdieh plays the ukulele and sings with his brother Ari, 10, using online music, while their mother and sister look on. The brothers’ jam sessions usually happen after one of them is done with formal practice. PHOTO: MELISSA GOLDEN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    Things have gotten easier for Vivian, who is now 15, Ms. Romano says. While Vivian plays serious classical works during the school year, the summer often brings pop tunes. The only bad summer practice, her mother says, is no practice.
    “One of the things we negotiate all the time is she wants more downloaded pieces, the pop stuff,” says Ms. Romano, who lives in Littleton, Colo. They’ve struck a deal: Vivian can download more sheet music after she has performed songs she has already purchased at a local open-mic night.
    “I think it’s more fun in the summer because there’s not as much pressure,” Vivian says. Currently on her wish list are Regina Spektor’s
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    “Samson” and “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart,” by Ariana Grande.
    For 10-year-old Helena Steger, who plays the flute and lives in Peekskill, N.Y., practicing involves making up dramatic stories to go along with her songs.
    During the summer, her mother, Anya Steger, says Helena goes through her book and plays songs she recognizes, by composers she knows.
    Na'im Ahdieh, 13 years old, with his siblings, Ari, 10, and Mae, 3, relax with their mother Krista Forsgren. Without the motivation of a weekly music lesson, it falls to parents to keep young musicians playing and practicing during summer. PHOTO: MELISSA GOLDEN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    “She sometimes tells me, ‘I already know this song,’ ” Ms. Steger, an artist, says. “I explain to her that you don’t do it to get better at this song. You do it so you won’t forget, to keep in shape.”
    While fun is important in summer practicing, parents shouldn’t be afraid to set a routine, says Casey McCann, who plays guitar, piano and drums and is the founder of Eclectic Music, a community music school in Atlanta. Many parents have a fear that if they expect daily practicing, the children will end up hating music. But practicing is the only way to get better at an instrument.
    “We’re not afraid kids will hate brushing their teeth,” Ms. McCann says. Parents shouldn’t take an all-or-nothing approach; the key is moderation, she says. And if a child hasn’t practiced for two weeks, don’t ask them to practice for half an hour. “One trick is to set a timer for say, 7 minutes,” she says.
    Mr. Johnston, the author, recommends using rewards, the way any good computer game does. Children can make a chain out of paper clips, adding a clip for every successful practice session. “You want visible progress,” he says. When the chain is a certain length, they earn the predetermined reward—a Lego set, an amusement park trip or something intangible like additional screen time or banning a
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    despised vegetable from family dinners.
    For very young children, parents can create a scavenger hunt, just the way they might for reading or school subjects, says Amy Nathan, author of the book “The Music Parents’ Survival Guide.”
    “Parents know how to do those things. They just have to be scared not to do it with music,” says Ms. Nathan. If it isn’t too late to sign up, she adds, children of all ages benefit from music camps.
    “Being involved with other kids is one of the best ways to encourage kids to practice anytime,” she says. “Positive peer pressure kicks in, which is not a bad thing.”
    As for Krista Forsgren’s family, summer practice sessions now include more than just piano and ukulele. Mae, 3 years old, sometimes joins in with egg-shaped shakers and castanets, and Ms. Forsgren encourages her older boys to tolerate some toddler noise during practice sessions.
    “Even Mae has her musical instrument basket,” says Ms. Forsgren. “With Mae, she just jams.”
    Write to Corinne Ramey at [email protected]
     
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  5. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    Great Southern Land
    "But practicing is the only way to get better at an instrument."

    I keep telling my son that.

    "The practice session ends not after a certain number of minutes, but" (I wonder how that sentence ended? I think I can guess though.)

    Again, I tell my son this too - it's not just a "15 or 30 minute/day" thing but something which has an intent or goal behind it (though the goal may take a week or more to achieve).

    --bumblebee
     

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