Long (and Successful Breaks)                             print this letter in full sheet or half sheet

While an occasion break from practice and lessons is refreshing, a month without practice will lead to several months of skill recovery when lessons restart.  Keep in mind the goals you have for your child: to learn an instrument, to love music, to have a beautiful heart.  Don’t lose sight of the goals during a break, and forgo their exercises (practicing).

Long breaks are the best time to eliminate poor habits and to reinforce good ones, because a student can focus on them rather than new ideas and techniques.  So, review!  Just make the review fun, interesting and motivating.  Be creative.  Be enthusiastic.  Even the simplest  games make practicing fun.  Just say the word "game" to a child and their eyes light up.

Cards:  Place task cards face down in a line.  Follow the path, performing the tasks to the end and a prize.  OR Draw cards, placing them on the stand when the task is finished.  OR label the back of each piece of an easy puzzle with numbers.  The numbers correspond to tasks on cards.  The child wins each puzzle piece when the task is successfully done.  When all pieces are won, put the puzzle together.  OR  Put the tasks on cards and pull them from a hat.

Timer:  How many times can the spot be played accurately in 1 minute?  Let child choose the allotted time.  Or how long will it take to play the spot 5 times accurately?  The time shortens as facility improves.  For added incentive, a small treat (skittles, chocolate chip) for each successful time.  (You won’t believe how many repetitions this game accomplishes.)

Dice: Label tasks 1 – 6 and roll the dice to see which task is to be performed.

Concerts:  Ask around the house for who wants to come to the concert (stuffed animals) and people.  Provide cookies at the end. OR  Have a concert for relatives over the phone or internet.

Game Boards:  There are free game boards one can download.  Use a man to move for each successfully completed task.  When home is reached share a family activity.  Make up games.

Raisin animals: (or another craft item or Lego blocks.)  Each task that is accomplished earns a raisin or toothpick.  When practice is done, the family makes raisin animals.

Pencil and paper:  Make scoreboards, Marcy’s brain vs. the ________ (the bad habit).  Of course the brain should win.  OR  Make a mystery drawing,adding one more piece of the picture for each unit played correctly until the student guesses what it is.

Socks:  Label rolled socks with tasks.  When each task is done, kick the sock towards a goal.  OR  For each until accomplished a tower piece is earned.  (blocks, plastic containers, etc).  The child builds a tower and when practice is over the child and parent kick socks at it.

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