Monday, December 7, 2015

Do your children learn to play a musical instrument? Smarty is learning trumpet, and she organized her own sensory practice corner in her room.

“Practice Makes Better”

Despite the best efforts of my husband who plays several instruments, Smarty did not express any real interest in playing a musical instrument until this year. It was the first year when her grade was eligible for band, and she really wanted to be in it. In tryouts she picked a trumpet as her instrument of choice. To be honest, I was initially very skeptical, since Smarty did not show particular aptitude for music, and I told her that she could only sign up for band if she committed to practice every day with the exception of major holidays, travel, or being sick. She picked her practice time and for majority of days stuck to her practice schedule without reminders. Playing trumpet does not come as naturally to her as, say, math problems, but it’s amazing to see how much she progressed in the past 3 months. Her band teacher is overall happy with her and encourages her to keep practicing, so she can make a senior band next year.

Sensory Practice Station

After several unsuccessful attempts to set up “a cozy place to practice”, Smarty has invested some thought and time in setting up her new and improved “practice station”. I did not advise her on it, it was entirely self-directed. Here is what she came up with:
  • A pillow (long time ago it was my nursing boppy pillow) to support her back.
  • A mirror, so she can watch her form, since her band director pointed out that she should not puff out her cheeks so much.
  • A bucket for emptying her spit valve.
  • A pillow to punch when frustrated – believe me, there is a lot of that going on during practice.
  • One of favorite stuffed animals to hug.
  • A lavender pouch for “calming down smell”
  • A book to read as a “reward” when she manages to do the whole piece without errors.
This set up is rather elaborate, but it significantly increased her overall practice time – from barely 10 minutes at a time to 20 or more. I hope Smarty will continue to practice over winter break and will meet her goal of being selected for a senior band by the end of the school year.

Your Turn

Do your kids play music instruments? Do they practice on their own or do you need to remind them?


shelah moss said...

How lovely that you put so much thought into creating a comfortable space that would encourage music practice time.

Ticia said...

I am quite amused at her using your nursing pillow. Mine have long since been passed on to other new moms (especially the one I used with the twins, which is designed for nursing two at once and is a veritable fortress of a pillow).

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I love all of the careful thought that went into creating this set-up. I'm not surprised that it pays off!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I like the pillow to hit, and the calming scent. Sounds like she's taking her practice time very seriously!