If you’ve been wondering what the Weekly Challenge book is all about, here’s a quick little overview…
It was created to:
- record what we’ve done (highly useful for all of us- child, parents & teacher)
- remind your child of home play guidance (ie practice)
- provide a way for your child to begin listening and observing their own playing
- communicate with parents- we don’t usually get to see each other, so this is a great way to let you know what’s happening during lessons
- inspire playing instruments at home
Here’s how it works:
You can click on this image to download the PDF version- it might be easier to read in parts
Mission Review Notes:
Self reviewing is a wonderful tool for students to really begin listening and observing their own playing. A great deal of honesty is required and I’ve found most students really have this in spades.
We usually go through this process together, so I can also add my feedback in a (hopefully!) friendly, useful way which assists the student in learning to self-critique.
Here’s some basic guide points for assisting your child self assess:
- Fingers– Did you play with the fingers the piece asks you to play with? Were these fingers easy/challenging for you? Were the fingers you used easy- did they help the piece flow more smoothly? Did they look awkward? (Big note for piano/keyboard players: please don’t cross your fingers over other fingers to play a note. Fingers can pass over thumbs, and thumbs under fingers, but never fingers over fingers). Did you play with more than one finger?
- Rhythm– Did you hold the notes for as long as the music says? Did you count any silent beats for the correct amount of time? Did you play your ti-tis and tas correctly? Did it sound like the song?
- Notes– Did you read and play the notes that are written? (Note: as musicians progress, they often like to add their own improvisations and frilly bits to add interest. The important thing here is knowing if you did or didn’t play what was written- if you played the music as written or your own variation. Both are perfectly valid musical expressions- choice, or knowing what you’ve played, is the important thing here).
- Dynamics– Did you play the louds and softs, fasts and slows? Did you play with feeling? (this is more advanced)
- Tone– Did all of the notes sound smooth and clear? Did they sound muffled, muted, twangy? Did you accidentally play notes together? Did your notes sound pleasant?
- Breath– (mainly for voice and recorder students- although all instrumentalists have been known to hold their breath as they concentrate! Breathing is a good thing…) Did you breath in places which let the music flow? Did you breath deeply? Did you breath shallowly? Did you find natural places to breath in the music?
- Tempo– Did you play the piece at a good speed for yourself? (This means mistakes are minimised and the piece sounds coherent). Does this piece need to be played slow or fast? What do you need to do in order to play it at the speed it is asking of you?
Do I ask all of these questions all the time?
No. I just pick pertinent ones which help the child recognise areas of strength and areas of improvement.
Hope this helps!
Please note: these little tips and bits aren’t designed to put more pressure on your day. Rather, they are provided because so many parents I’ve spoken to over the years often express how unsure they feel about how to best help their child with their music at home- either because they lack musical knowledge, or didn’t have the most joyous experience of musical education themselves. So, please use these tips if they appeal to you. Or don’t. It’s completely up to you!