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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Before and After practicing assignment

The day before Christmas break, I taught students about the progress that occurs after dedication and focused effort.  This idea came when I was visiting the orthodontist with a couple of my children that have braces.  My son was instructed to brush his teeth more often and to make sure he got the message, the dental assistant showed us 'before' and 'after' pictures of patients who had brushed their teeth diligently and those who had not.  I decided that it would be good for students to discover their own 'before' practicing and 'after' practicing videos so they could see the benefits of regular practice. 

This video works well to demonstrate the point:

After watching the video, I want to make sure students understand that they can make progress every day when they practice correctly.  We talked about different ways to practice a small section of music.  For example:
1.  Play all notes as half notes - fixing intonation
2.  Practicing 1 measure at a time
3.  Playing the rhythm on open strings
4.  Playing open strings only to solidify string crossings
5.  Playing repetitions - 10x perfect
6.  Drilling eighth note passages using dotted rhythms

I divided each class by section and provided an iPad for each group to record their first try playing specific measure I selected from their music.  Students were then instructed to drill and rehearse those same measures - then record themselves again to see how much they could improve after just 20 minutes of hard work.  I was impressed with the diligence of the groups.  They were on task and determined to make their 'after' video a success.  At the end of class, we watched each groups videos and it was easy to see that there was progress made in every case.  I then gave the students an option to do this assignment as extra credit over Christmas Break...just a way to keep them practicing.  Most students took the assignment and they seemed excited to try this at home.

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