Do you ever have students come to a lesson with one day of practice marked on their charts…and that one day was the day before or the day of their lesson day? Obviously, they forgot about piano the moment they left your studio, and didn’t remember again until the threat of another piano lesson was looming. As piano teachers, we know that this attitude toward piano is going to result in slow progress, frustration (for the student and the teacher), and most likely the student will eventually quit. We have to get our students to remember piano throughout the week! I’m trying a new little experiment in my studio, hoping I can do just that. I don’t want the week to pass by before they have a chance to remember to practice.
Enter….practice bracelets! I first saw these little bracelets at the Music in Motion booth at TMEA. They are just simple little vinyl bracelets in a variety of colors. The intended purpose is to use them for practice repetitions. Music in Motion says to put 5 on your wrist and each time you successfully play the trouble spot, take one off. If you mess up, put them all back on. A pretty good concept, and we’re all familiar with this practice “game” in one form or another. But, I wanted to use these a little bit differently. Last week, I started letting my students choose five practice bracelets (or practice bands for the boys) of any colors. I asked “how many days a week are you supposed to practice?” Hopefully they answered 5, and “how many bracelets do you have?” 5! Put them all on one wrist. Each day you practice, move one to the other wrist. At the end of the week, they should all be on your other wrist.
Now, they have a physical reminder that they need to practice, and the bracelets are cool too! A few of my students asked if they could have 6 or 7, since they plan to practice 6 or 7 days each week instead of just 5.
These bracelets are super cheap! You can find them at Music in Motion where they sell 144 for $4.95. They come in a mixture of 6 colors. I actually ended up ordering the same basic thing from Oriental Trading Company where 144 cost $5.25 but the shipping was free, so it ended up being cheaper overall. Oriental Trading Company also has a choice of different color sets. I ordered the neon colors, which seem to be really popular with my students right now. Most of my students have been wearing neon colors that perfectly match the practice bracelets they pick out. I know some will get lost along the way, and not all of my students are going to actually wear them during the week, but if it helps just a few of my students remember to practice, I think it’s worth the $5 I spent!
Spring Seals, NCTM, teaches 60 piano students ranging from age 3 to 70 in Fort Worth, Texas. She also serves as the Director of Certification for TMTA. She is passionate about helping teachers become more effective in their studios through professional development, new resources, and fresh ideas.