Over the past few weeks there has been a gradual decline in the effort Opie has put into practicing her oboe. It’s been a source of frustration for me and especially for Teacher. On some occasions she sounds lovely, on others she just isn’t trying.
Occasionally I get it right.
This afternoon, Opie came home from school and almost immediately plunked herself in front of the piano. She practiced her pieces, her cadences, and played some old favorites. She even called me over several times to demonstrate a special piece or to show how she had something memorized.
This was all great. I’m quite happy she is enjoying this and I love peeking in the living room and seeing her engrossed in her music.
The only thing was, we had a tight schedule this afternoon. Continue reading
TTOTD = tiny treat of the day. One of our incentive systems for practicing. Candy for practicing isn’t unusual but I’ve tried to change it up a bit to heighten the interest, and our method is still working well a couple months later.
A practicing success today: Opie reviewed the notes from yesterday’s lesson before playing each piece. But we kind of cheated in how it was done.
I can get Opie to do almost anything if it is just for two minutes. I just have to figure out what she needs to do.
Opie comes back in a few hours from a long weekend away with friends. Of course I have missed her. I will be happy to see her goofy face, and to give her hugs, but my big question is: did she practice?
Knock on wood – this hasn’t been a problem for a while, but we had a couple months where the oboe went in and out of commission on a regular basis. Occasionally we were oboe-less for a whole week.
I didn’t want Opie to lose the practice habit (or at least the little bit that had stuck). Continue reading
Opie really enjoyed yesterday’s Challenge. She was instructed to do her scales (this week learning F major thirds, plus playing G major thirds and C 2 octaves for speed with metronome) and then to play five to ten of her favorite songs, each twice through.
The Challenge deck is the latest in our intricate system of practicing rewards. Opie gets to decide if she wants to do a challenge at the start of practice, and if so, draws a card. If she completes the challenge, she gets a round token good toward purchase of an app for my phone. She’s enjoying the change-up in routine and has completed every one for over a week.
Today Opie was kind of goofing around during practice. One of the things she likes to do is to play her music with as ugly a tone as she can produce – and it can get pretty ugly. Many spots off key, notes die off like they have been stabbed, just generally ugly.
So I made a deal with her. She played each of her pieces twice: once as ugly as she could, once with as nice a tone as she can.