This is the time of year when it’s easy to get focused on the new year coming up.
We tend to take stock of the year: What were our goals this year? What did we accomplish? What are our goals for the coming year?
It’s a process I love and encourage you to try.
But today I want to talk about something else.
Something that we can lose sight of in the shuffle of all the holidays and all the reflecting we do this time of year.
There are still 33 days left of this year at the time I am writing this article. That’s just over 9% of the year that’s still left.
33 days is plenty of time to: improve a skill, complete a month long practice challenge, or prepare for an upcoming performance. There is still time to make real progress before the year is over and finding a fun way to keep momentum going is really important during this busy time of year.
It’s too early to throw in the towel and decide we’ve accomplished all that we’re going to this year.
With that in mind: here are five creative ways to keep practice momentum going and make the most of the 33 days left in the year:
Advent calendar Practice Reward:
There are many inexpensive chocolate Advent Calendars out this time of year (some of them with chocolate and some fillable with little stickers and prizes of your choosing). Here in Oregon we have really affordable options at both Trader Joes and Fred Meyer. You can make your own rules for this but I would recommend a combo of practicing and listening so that on travel days and other busy days you can use listening to fill in the gap and keep progress going.
Holiday Practice Coloring page:
The Practice Shoppe has some great seasonal coloring pages for tracking practice. You can color in one part of a picture for each day of practice or for 10 times of a certain assignment. Be creative there are many possibilities and you know what your child is most needing to work on right now.
Stickers on the Calendar:
This is a simple one. If you have a calendar somewhere visible in your house (ours is on the refrigerator) then you can simply add a fun sticker to each day that practice (and/or listening) is done for the rest of the year. Perhaps set a goal and see if you can beat it. Or think of a habit you want to undertake and you and your child can both track your progress together.
Plan a Community Service Performance:
Sign up to play your instrument and ring the salvation army bell at a local store (our studio does this each year and I am sure a family could sign up to do it too). Play at a local retirement center. The possibilities are endless. Sometimes locations are inundated with requests this time of year and may prefer you come in January when the hustle and bustle are over. This is great motivation to practice throughout the month for sure. Putting on a “Review Concert” in the community is great motivation to keep working at our music with a purpose behind it.
Set up a Technique Challenge:
What is one skill your child could really use some extra attention on? Their bow hold? Their posture while playing? Set up a practice challenge to work on it all month long. It’s a great way to remind ourselves as the practice parent that we want to make this a daily focus in each practice session too. Celebrate the daily effort to improve and remember it may take more than one month to fix a bad habit – but it will surely be a step in the right direction!
What ideas would you add?
Working Productively with Your Child in Practice
Sign up for the free 5 day email course! Learn how to minimize conflict and increase results in your practice sessions with your child!