A few weeks ago, I surprised my piano students with a porch drop off “Practice Kit”. Since I’m located right in King County, WA where COVID-19 has been hitting hard, we are still under “Stay Home, Stay Safe” mandates. And really, I probably have many more months of teaching online so these drop off kits and games are my new “normal”. What a crazy situation!

So let me show you what’s inside my practice kit this week. I’ve seen some great ideas popping up online and hope this list will be helpful to you. If you have any suggestions your students have loved, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below this post!

  • Mini squishies – My students love earning little prizes and since we’ve been doing online lessons for 6 weeks now, it’s time for prizes. Plus we’ll be using them as practice buddies this month.
  • Practice Bingo – there are several fun versions online but I wanted one a bit more personalized for my students. See the details at the end of this list. My students have loved it this month!
  • Gummy bears – You may be wondering why but we needed something small for the bingo game. We have several allergies of students and families to consider (dairy and gluten). Gummy bears were an easy treat everyone loves!
  • Star stickers – Usually I check off their practice charts and technique charts each week in lessons. But we’re mixing it up during quarantine so they’ll be putting stickers on as we check things off together over Zoom.
  • Prizes (such as these cute treble clef key-chains) – Students have been finishing books and earning prizes so I’ve included their choices in the bags as well. These key-chains are a new find from Amazon and I love them! I’m hoping to include these socks or maybe these next time with another catchy activity.

For the practice bingo, I’m asking students to make at least one bingo with their practice each day this week. There is one free space but plenty of tasks with hands separate and hands together activities. I even added a space to write their parents a thank you note or to call grandparents and perform for them!

We’ve also used this list during lessons – so fun to try pieces different ways and work at how to practice. I’ve found that so many students have to practice how to practice. When we give them steps to work through at home, it really helps them not just rush through each song once and be done for the day. This bingo sheet has allowed us to discuss why we practice with these steps and how that helps our pieces improve! And it’s fun for the kids to have a goal to accomplish as they work through pieces (plus they get to eat a candy when they get bingo). It’s been a win-win in our studio and I hope you’ll give it a try too!

Download your copy of Practice Bingo below. Hope you enjoy your online teaching this week.

Author: Whitney

Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at 4DPianoTeaching.com
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