In this unique time, you may find it hard for your children to stay focused and interested in playing without the motivation of weekly in-person lessons and group classes. Here are some ideas to gamify practice to keep them entertained and motivated in their instrumental studies!
1. Active practice - Does your child have energy to burn? Have a dance party to their Suzuki recording to help them get out some of those wiggles while learning their music more deeply. You can also work in sets of jumping jacks or running around between practice spot repetitions.
2. Practice performing - weather permitting, your neighbors would probably welcome a driveway concert, and it can give your child something to work towards with a piece they’re polishing. You can also make an audience of toys or play for relatives over video calls.
3. Any quick turn-based game is a great way to add novelty to practice spot repetitions. My studio’s favorites are Jenga, Spot It, and Connect Four.
4. Print instrument-themed coloring pages or drawing tutorials and color one part at a time throughout the practice.
5. Practice in different parts of the house. It can be fun to try out the acoustics in new rooms, and it’s a good way to help motivate your child to play the same thing many times in a row.
6. Make practice bingo. Fill the card with things like “Played a practice spot 10 times correctly”, “Began practice without complaint”, “Played all my review songs correctly”, “Listened to my recording”, etc. Try to get a bingo each week, and reward your child when they do!
7. Make a personalized board game- create a board in the shape of your child's first initial, then divide it into squares as fill in each square with an element of their practice assignment (play practice spot 5 times, listen to my new piece, etc). Use coins or knick knacks as game pieces.
I hope these ideas will help bring some levity and novelty to your practice and lives during these unprecedented times. Happy practicing!