In many studios, there is a week or two around the holidays with no formal lessons. It is always discouraging to come back at the start of the year and feel like progress has been lost and we have to spend a few weeks catching back up to where we were again after winter break. Don’t let this happen to you!
In an ideal world you can see this break from lessons as a time to share music with visiting family members, listen (and maybe even practice) more with the break from school and many activities, and a chance to have extra time to make progress on material you have been working on with lessons.
Sometimes a little extra motivation to get the instrument out daily is really helpful. The following ideas are geared to those who need a little extra motivation or dose of fun during these weeks off from classes.
3 Fun Practice Ideas for Winter Break:
1. Paper Chain Practice
There have been a few years when I handed out colorful strips of paper to students to take home over the break. Each day of practice they would add one link to the chain. Then everyone brought their paper chains to hang in the studio in January.
You can do your own version of this at home and even keep the paper chain going through the month of January!
2. Review or Listening Project
Winter break can be a great time to make the skills we already have easier. It’s a great time to make sure your review pieces are all easy without having to juggle new assignments from the teacher.
Make a goal to play each review song a certain number of times over the break. Make it a goal to watch youtube videos of 10 great performers on your instrument.
Choose some ideas for review from this list of 20 ways to review your pieces.
3. Winter Break Bingo
This is something I have done the last couple winter breaks. The bingo squares are a mix of listening activities, informal performances, and ways to practice specific assignments.
I have a few versions to address different ability & skill levels.
The Beginner version includes things like: have a 100% happy practice, make 10 bow holds, watch a video of Rachel Barton Pine playing Happy Birthday on Youtube.
Make a goal with your students, or your own children, about how many Bingos you want to get over break. Two, Three, Blackout? This may depend on your travel schedule and other factors but, I have found almost everyone can get one bingo and it keeps them thinking about their music over the weeks off.
You can download my bingo cards or use a blank template to make your own.
When I first started doing this the squares were hand written and over time I have typed them up to look more professional.
I love hearing the fun and creative ways students have been able to do the activities over break. I have also gotten thank you’s from parents because this activity has made it easier to motivate their young child over the break.
Here is one place you can download your own blank bingo card to start building your own ideas: BlankBingo (1)
You can also get a copy of the bingo cards I am using this year sent to your email by requesting it here >> Suzuki Triangle Bingo Cards
That gives you a few ideas of how you might keep practice going over the winter break. I would love to hear what your family or studio does in the comments below.
For some additional ideas about practice during this busy time of year you can read the article 5 Creative Ways to Keep Practice Going During December