I felt I needed some help to get rid of the extra pounds acquired at Christmas. Thanks to a friend’s suggestion I found a new app for counting steps. The app has specific goals and a variety of targets I can aim to meet. After only a few weeks I’ve made significant progress and I am now hooked to reach particular goals. The great by-product is that I’m enjoying the feeling of being fitter (and a bit less fatter) than I have for a long time.
As we settle into the new school year (for those of us who live down under) it is that time of trying new goals or learning something new. As with other ventures, when it comes to learning a musical instrument, progress and achievement come through having goals and plans in place.
Here are a few music parallels from my fitness app:
The app records every small step.
Take a small part of a piece of music you are learning—preferably a difficult patch. Go slowly, and count how many times you are getting it right. When you have three correct and confident renditions, play something you enjoy as a reward and then move on to something else you would like to improve.
There are a range of rewards for different combinations.
If I reach my goal number of steps for three days in a row, I am rewarded with a certificate. If I reach a certain number of kilometres, that’s another certificate. The virtual confetti on my phone may be no big deal, but even that gives me some sort of incentive!
When it comes to music lessons and practice, children make good progress with a range of rewards too. Decide ahead of time for a reward if they:
- play their new piece before the lesson 3 x correctly in one sitting.
- do their practice 3 days in a row without being asked to.
- reach a particular place in their music book.
One suggestion you might like to try is giving a coupon which is good for a special treat. Just fill it out with whatever is suitable for your situation.
Regular and often is better than a really long walk once a week.
When children start out learning, I don’t suggest they do an hour a day from the outset! But it is helpful to record tasks done, such as playing three pages of music three ways each day, plus a game or activity to help with note reading (or whatever they need help with). Then, at the end of that, to record the overall time it takes. You can see the achievement of music played through and how long it took.
Once the fitness habit is formed, enjoyment of progress leads to a desire to keep improving.
Setting up the habit is so helpful for music learning too. There is such a noticeable difference in the enjoyment level for a child who has learned the weekly tasks. They just bounce into the lesson to show what they have achieved. The more they progress, the more they want to make even more progress.
Playing a musical instrument has the lovely by-product of enjoying the sound of making music. But we all appreciate incentives of some sort to keep us on track. I hope these few musings from using my fitness app gave some useful ideas for the music learning at your place.