I totally messed up the words, but it gives you an idea of what to go for!
For many many years, I have told parents that in order to have less arguments about practicing they need to set a practice routine. What I mean by that is that they need to have a specific time of day when they practice. Ideally this means that when that time comes the kids and parents both know it is time to practice. It doesn't matter if this is at 7:00 am, 3:00 pm, or 10:00 pm. What matters is that it is part of the family's daily routine.
When my daughter began playing the violin at the age of two (this was her choice – not mine!) we did not set a specific time to practice. Honestly, it never even crossed my mind to try it even though I had been giving this advice to parents for years. Well, there were A LOT of arguments about practicing. Alena flat out refused most of the time. And when she DID want to practice I didn't. Eventually I let her quit the violin altogether.
About a year later, I decided to start her on the cello. I thought that maybe there would be less resistance to it since I didn't play it. Things were fine for a while, but it still never occurred to me to set a practice routine and make it part of our daily lives. The arguments began. The resistance began. My frustration mounted. After a while it became very difficult - and because of Alena's seizures, it became almost impossible. We put the cello away for a while. It was still there, but we didn't practice.
When we enrolled Alena and Aidan at the school where I teach, I signed them both up for Suzuki lessons through the program offered at the school. I knew that it would be fantastic for them. But, because I was so immersed in teaching all day, practicing didn't go all that well. For any of us.
Then one day I woke up and though "maybe we should set a practice routine"! DUH! Why hadn't I thought of that before??
The very next day we decided that the best time of day to practice for us was at 7:00am - after school didn't work - we were all just too exhausted from our days by then. Now, every day, the kids get up, get dressed, eat, and then when 7:00 rolls around we practice. There are still arguments, but not as many. The kids and I both know that 7:00 is practice time. Sometimes they don't want to. Sometimes I don't want to. But at 7:00 am we practice.
It works for us. And we've been doing it for over a year now. Try it!
So I sent this e-mail out today...
Dear Strings Parents and Students,
We have a project that we could use your help with! We would like to cover one ENTIRE wall of Mrs. Ezermans room with pictures of our students practicing. We have already received a few pictures, but it is going to take many more! It would be great if you could take pictures of your children practicing and send them to Mrs. Ezerman. You can either text them to ..... or e-mail them to her at ..... It really only takes a few seconds to do. We will print them out and post them as they come to us.
We are hoping that this project will not only make Mrs. Ezerman's room look awesome, but motivate our students to practice more at home. Ideally we would receive at least one picture a week from each student until the wall is complete.
Thank you so much for your help!
I have already received at least 10 pictures. I am really hoping this will motivate my students to practice more at home. I am also really excited that the SUPER ugly wall in my room at school will be covered with pictures of my students practicing!
We will see what comes of it. I will post pictures as my "Practice Wall of Fame" comes to life!