Practice Games

Check out this list for fun and fresh practice games. I will add links to similar websites that I come across. Please feel free to share your favorite practice games and resources  in the comments below. Or email me to share your idea and I will add it to our list.

Fun Practice Games, Ideas, Apps and Tools:

  • “6″ things a day—pick 6 things to practice (or some other number). For example—10 perfect bow holds (counts as 1 thing), some drill work on the working piece, 3 review pieces, preview for next piece. Decide the list before you begin- write it down! Add nothing to the list and take nothing off, except to cross it off, once you are started. After all six items are complete you are done.
  • Birthday Candle—Light a birthday candle (make some type of holder) and have that be the length of the practice session. Or try to burn a candle all the way down to the bottom by a certain date. You can look up candle sizes and how long they take to burn down. Give a reward when the candle burns out. The larger the candle the bigger the reward.
  • On Tour—take the student “on tour” —playing something different in each room of the house (the big tome produced in the bathroom is very exciting!),  different places in the yard, or at different neighbor’s or relative’s homes.
  • Student as Parent—Let the student be the parent for one day of practice. This can have unexpected teachings because a parent will often see his own behavior reflected in that of the child’s.
  • 25 minutes = 25 cents—practice for 25 minutes, earn 25 cents.
  • Home Concert/Stuffie Recital – Plan a recital for stuffed animals, friends, family, etc. and make a program and decorate it. Practice for a week in preparation and let the child decide the pieces that will be played, what favorite cookies will be served, etc. Set up a stage and make a spotlight!
  • Dice – Roll a dice to determine the number of repetitions of a piece or for drill work (ex—play this section the number of times you roll on the dice.) Or, roll the dice to determine the piece to play. Ex—1 = Twinkle variation A, 2 = variation B, etc.) Buy a package of math dice—these dice have more sides with higher numbers.
  • Deck of cards – like the dice game, only use cards. Assign pieces to each card. Have child pick cards to determine the pieces to play and the order. Or, let the number on the card indicated the number of repetitions the student must play (pick pre-views from new pieces or use it for concepts like a straight bow).
  • Draw a name—write the piece names on pieces of paper. Put in a hat and draw to determine piece to play and order. Or put practice item on paper (bow holds, scales, etc.) VARIATION: Write the names of pieces on plastic Easter eggs or ping-pong balls.
  • Silly Cards – make silly cards and let child draw a silly card as a reward. Ex—stand on one foot, stick out your tongue, sing the piece, play pizzicato. For example, if child needs to play twinkle and draws “stick out your tongue,” must play twinkle with tongue out the whole time.
  • Make a video—regularly video tape your child playing violin. You’ll be amazed at the progress they make. Feel free to post it on the studio facebook!
  • Chip Game—use “chips” (pennies, marbles, pom pom,any kind of token). Set a goal—for example, keeping thumb bent while playing piece or keeping a good violin posture for entire piece. Give child and parent 5 chips each. If child meets goal, gets a chip from parent. If misses goal, parent gets a chip. Keep playing until someone has all of the chips.
  • Marshmallows– To be given as a treat for soft marshmallow hands.
  • M&M’S– To be given as a treat for seeing the Magic M while playing. Practice note reading by using M & M’s as the notes- place them on the staff. 
  • Super Hero’s– The child is the hero and must same the planet (or someone/something else) from the villain. To save the planet, the child needs to complete x  number of repetitions.
  • Abacus- Choose something that needs repetition practice.Slide a bead for each correct repetition. Child love to see how many beads they can slide.
  • Sound Effects– Use a sound machine toy or app to bring some fun to practice. Choose a button for correct and incorrect repetitions. Allow the child to press a button when the complete something correctly. I bought my red sound box from Target- I ripped off the buttons for the sounds I disliked or found inappropriate for the lesson. ; ) 
  • Google Eye watcher-Have the child wear a googly eye ring on the hand (theirs)you want them to watch. I found mine at Michael’s.
  • Kazoo- Have the child play the kazoo while listening to the recordings. Children who are not singing in their heads while they play will benefit from playing the kazoo while they play their instruments.
  • Dynamic Ball– Make the ball larger for louder dynamics, smaller for softer dynamics. This can also be used to monitor poster during practice. If the child is holding the instrument correctly the ball can be large, once they start to drop make it smaller. This idea can be used for bow holds, ice cream cone wrists, etc.
  • Sand Timer: Pick something to work on. Continue until the time runs out. You can find timers from one minute and up.
  • Decide Now App– Write in your pieces/exercises. Spin the wheel to choose.
  • Anytune App- Slow down your recordings. Change keys, plus other features.
  • Smart Scales App– Practice scales/arpeggios with fun back tracks and sheet music. Graded levels. Adjustable speed. Available for all orchestra string instrument and piano. You won’t need to buy a scale book if you have this app!
  • TonalEnergy Tunner/Metronome App– I’m not a fan of tuning apps BUT I do use this one in a pinch! You can change the tone of the pitch on this app, which is very useful as some people are sensitive to certain sounds.
  • “5 min. break coupon” during practices–the child is allowed to use the coupon once during each practice if they’re starting to feel overwhelmed.

Check back for more ideas!

Links to more practice ideas!