Tips for Teachers:
How to Get the Most from the Musician’s Practice Planner

Making it More Fun for Students

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For young students:
1. Let them decide what color pen you’ll write with during the lesson.
2. Give them stickers to put on the Practice Planner cover.
3. Award them a sticker for a week that meets their time goals for practicing.

For all students:
1. Include a practice item and goal that is not part of the “usual” list. For example, this could be free jamming on any music they want to play for 10 minutes.
2. Let the student choose the goal for specific items you assign them. How much does the student realistically think they can get done in one week?
3. Have the student choose the next song they’ll learn from a list of songs you’ve already put together.

Getting Parents Involved in Lessons

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1. For very young students (for instance, at Suzuki lessons), give the parent the responsibility for filling in the Weekly Lesson Plan during the lesson.
2. For parents who do not attend lessons, have them sign off on both the week’s assignments and the student’s Practice Log.
3. Let parents decide on the goals for a given week since they’re aware of all the activities their student has going on during the week.
4. Have parents listen to recordings of songs you’ve assigned with their student.

Focusing on Goals

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1. Always write a goal for any item you include on the students’ practice list. No goal = no reason to practice.
2. Give both a short-term goal and a long-term goal, so the student knows where they’re headed.
3. Use a metronome tempo as a goal for everything assigned.
4. Make a specific section of a song the goal – so the student doesn’t think they’ll be learning the entire song in one week.
5. Write goals that answer the questions “How” and “Why” they’ll practice something. Students are always curious about this. “What” to practice is just the starting point!

Inspiring and Motivating your Students

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1. Always include something funny about each song, composer, recording or anything else you talk about during the lesson.
2. Include a specific goal for each item you assign.
3. With the student, decide how many days they’ll practice this week as well as how long they’ll practice on each of these days. Allow these times to change each week so they’re always realistic.
4. Always include something in the “Special Notes for the Week” section. Some words of wisdom, a famous quote, something fun that was discussed at the lesson. Include something! Include anything! Do whatever it takes in this section to inspire your student!
5. Use the “Other” section even if you don’t actually have more things for the student to do this week. Students can always listen to more recordings, look something up on Wikipedia, update their Facebook page about something at your lesson, watch a YouTube video, etc.
6. Let students know that there’s more to learning their instrument than just practicing. Give them information about concerts, recordings, etc.

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