During the spring semester, I like to put together a motivating practice challenge to help my students stay focused and consistent leading up to our spring competition and recital. I’m excited to show you what I came up with for this year and if you’d like to replicate the challenge in your own studio, you can find the practice chart my students are using in my TPT shop.

I try to change my challenge up each year so that it doesn’t feel too routine and so that different types of learners can find something that works for them.

In the past, our practice challenges have been based on number of days practiced, but this year I decided to make our challenge based on time.

When parents ask me how long their child should be practicing the piano each day, I find that to be a really tricky question to answer. There’s really not one simple answer that can apply to all students. It was hard to design a practice challenge around time when a 5 year old and high schooler should practice for completely different amounts of time.

Over the years, the rule of thumb that I’ve told parents to follow with practice time is 1-3 times their child’s age, in minutes. So a 7-year-old student should be able to practice anywhere from 7-21 minutes daily. A 7-minute practice session would be the bare minimum and would probably suit a student who is approaching piano lessons fairly recreationally. If that 7-year-old aimed for 21 minutes each day, they would really make good, consistent progress at the piano.

So, while designing this year’s practice challenge, I kept those numbers in mind.

This challenge is called “Practice Your Age” and students use their own age as a guideline for how many minutes to practice.

I designed this chart that will take us to the end of the school year. And, I ordered these colorful kitchen timers in bulk on Amazon.

Click here to get the “Practice Your Age” chart.

Click here to get the colorful kitchen timers.

These timers were a huge hit with my students! I know most kids have access to a timer on their devices, watch or at home, but they felt really special getting their own timer to take home.

When our challenge started, each student got to take home their own timer and a practice chart. Some students asked if the timer was theirs to keep forever, and the answer was, yes, it’s yours forever!

We showed each student how to set the timer for their age and their job is to fill in a circle on their chart each time they practice their age in minutes.

The chart is set up where there are 3 milestones that students can reach each week by practicing their age 5, 10 or 15 times total for the week. Each of those milestones corresponds with a small prize.

Students have the opportunity to earn 1, 2 or all 3 prizes each week.

The prizes that we’re using are:

  1. A water bottle sticker (these a proven to be highly motivating to my students!)
  2. An amazing, special sticker (we have a separate collection of smelly, puffy and shiny stickers they can choose from)
  3. A fun, limited edition piano button for their piano bag (similar to the ones in the Piano Button Shop)

For the buttons, I have a new, special design for each week of the challenge and students can collect all 12 designs if they earn that 3rd prize each week.

You can, of course, use any prizes that suit your own studio situation. I include a bunch of suggestions for prizes on the instruction sheet that comes with the practice chart.

We just started the challenge a little over a week ago, but so far, the kids are rising to the occasion and getting tons of practice minutes in.

The first week was kind of eye opening for a lot of students who realized it doesn’t really cut it to just practice their age one time each day and instead they need to double or even triple up their minutes most days if they want to earn all of the prizes and make good progress.

If you’d like to hold a “Practice Your Age” challenge in your own studio, you can get a copy of the practice chart here. And, here’s where you can find the colorful kitchen timers.

Get the Practice Your Age Challenge for your students.

Other Articles You May Enjoy

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *