Structuring Practise For Young Children

With very young children you may find the following ideas helpful for structuring practise.  If you are using the dice then you can use these ideas to form your list of things (even if it is not in this order):

  • START WITH PIECES THEY KNOW – Playing rhythms/twinkle to start with is a good time to concentrate on one technical point (e.g. keeping violin on shoulder, watching bow, making sure they are using the right length of bow etc).  One technical point at a time is best.  You can remind them about this point by waving the “flag” (duster/cloth) or by winning tokens or drawing pictures/smiley faces/whatever works for you!
  • BREAK UP THE PRACTISE – Practising rhythms in the rocket, seeing how quickly they can get a perfect violin position from scratch or singing the next song that they are learning will break up long patches of holding the violin if they need a change.  You can find the words to the songs here (or make up your own!)
  • LEARNING NEW SECTIONS OF PIECES –  If they are concentrating hard on learning notes it is usually too much to ask them to remember technical or postural points too.   If they are getting in a pickle you can say “freeze” and gently help them in to a better posture before going off again or ask them to pose for a photo which usually gets the best posture out!
  • HELP THEM TO REPEAT SMALL SECTIONS THEY NEED TO WORK ON – with games/packs of cards/drawing etc.  Use some of these ideas.  Make it fun!  They will quickly get used to repeating things and you will be amazed at the difference regular repetition will make.
  • PERFORMANCE – If concentration allows, playing through a favourite piece at the end is a nice positive way to end the practise with a mini concert.

Keep listening to the pieces on the CD.  It makes the world of difference!!