My students and I recently wrapped up a 30 day challenge using Better Practice App. It was amazing how motivating it was to students! We will for sure have frequent challenges throughout the school year to keep us going.

I encouraged students to aim for all 30 days or almost all 30 days because I didn’t want them to give up if they missed a day here or there.

I was so impressed with how committed everyone was to the challenge. It was so exciting to check the app each night and to see nearly everyone’s name on the home page.

It turned out that 4 students made it to all 30 days, I made it to 29 (that’s what I get for practicing late at night – the clock struck midnight and it was already the next day, oops!) and 1 student hit 27 days. They all worked really hard and stuck with it, though!

This challenge was exactly what some of my students needed. I can think of one student that really took off with her sight-reading, especially in the bass clef during the challenge. She finished a long, difficult song during the challenge. She put in a lot of long, productive practice sessions!

Another student’s dad recently said that his son previously never complained about practicing but was definitely just going through the motions. During the challenge, he really took ownership over his practicing. He never missed a day and many days it would stay at the piano and play for fun after his practicing because he was enjoying it so much. This was exactly what I had hoped my students would experience!

A couple of my students don’t have access to their piano every day, so they weren’t able to fully participate in the challenge. Even though they weren’t trying to practice all of the days, I could tell that on the days they did practice they made the most of their time at the piano. I could see that they were practicing longer than usual and it was obvious that they had had some good, focused practice sessions.

A couple of students had to travel during the challenge. One student was on a vacation and opted to just take a break. I completely supported his decision, because it is very healthy to step away occasionally to recharge. He ended up practicing everyday, except for when he was away.

Another student was worried about missing days, so we came up with assignments he could do away from the piano. He has an iPad, so he worked on the Piano Maestro app each day that he was traveling. He also had access to his Tonic Tutor account, YouTube videos of music he was working on for active listening and I suggested a couple of other apps that would help reinforce skills he works on at the piano.

Better Practice has truly simplified so many aspects of my teaching. Of course, the biggest benefit to me, is that everyone is staying motivated and making great progress in their music. But, there are also many other benefits for me as the teacher.

I love that I can take a quick glance over each student’s week before they arrive and already know how their week went and what direction I should go in during their lesson. I don’t have to spend any lesson time trying to figure out what the student practiced or didn’t practice.

My students have really been making use of the chat feature. They ask me great questions. I love helping them clear up little problems so that they practice correctly. Previously, those questions would have had to wait until the next lesson and the student either would not have practiced or would have practiced incorrectly.

My planning process has become amazingly simple. My wheels are pretty much always turning. I’m nearly always thinking about music and songs my students would like. As I think of things, I often go ahead and add the new assignment to my student’s list. They are able to look over new music and start on it before their lesson. Then, when we first look at it together, we are able to dig in and start working, rather than just sight reading and worrying about notes playing the right notes.

I also add audio and video files to students’ assignments throughout the week. I can see when students are actually using the features. I love that listening and playing along are so easily incorporated into their practice time. My auditory learners really thrive having these resources at their fingertips at every practice session!

Finally, I’d like to mention how helpful customer service has been. When I first got started, Ben from Better Practice spent over 2 hours on the phone with me teaching me how to use the app and how it would benefit unique situations in my studio the most. There is an online chat feature and every time I’ve used it, I’ve gotten a quick response. A lot of times, I get suggestions and ideas beyond the question I was originally asking about.

Everything in my studio seems to be moving along smoothly and effortlessly this year! My students are engaged, interested, and excited to learn. I feel organized and connected. Nobody is falling behind or disengaged. We are having a really productive and satisfying year and I can tell Better Practice App is helping me and my students to be successful.

If you are a music teacher, I strongly encourage you to try Better Practice out with your students. I have a promotion code so that you can try it out for free for a full month. Just follow this link!

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2 Comments

  1. Hi, Megan
    I have just recently discovered your blog and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! I love all your tips and videos and pics of your studio. I feel inspired!
    I’m considering using the Better Practice App, as well. Quick question: did you give some kind of prize at the end of the 30 day challenge or was the fact that they practiced 30 days in a row motivation enough?
    Thanks!
    Denise 🙂

    1. Hi Denise! I’m sorry I’m just now seeing this comment! I’d really encourage you to give Better Practice App a try. I’m seeing really cool results with my students. At the end of the 30 day challenge, the winning students got to add extra lego blocks to our lego tower. (You can read more about that here: https://verypiano.com/2016/11/16/lego-challenge/) In November, we did another challenge where students were going for most days, most minutes, longest streak or making a YouTube video with the most views. The winners of that challenge got $5 Sonic gift cards.

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