I’m sharing this fun practice log that we’re using right now in my studio. I normally don’t recommend that families track the number of minutes at the piano. I prefer to focus on the quality of the practice.
However, it’s recital time, so we’re doing a fun activity to help the kids be prepared for their performances. I use this chart to set a goal with each student.
Kids record their time on the log, and their parents sign it off each week. Every child who meets her goal gets an award at the recital. It’s a fun activity that students usually enjoy, and it gives kids incentive to practice extra hard during the weeks leading up to the recital.
My teacher used a similar program with me when I was a child, and I remember how it motivated me! In fact, each year I wanted to beat my goal from the previous year. I still remember how fun it was and the sense of accomplishment I felt as I totaled up my minutes for the month. I’m grateful that I had a wonderful teacher who made recital prep fun!
To use this chart, set a goal with the student for the number of minutes to practice each day. Then multiply that number to get the monthly total. Write the big monthly goal inside the star at the top of the page.
It’s wise to set a goal that will stretch the student a little but is still realistic. Most of my students have other activities that they are involved in, and that’s okay. I don’t expect piano practice to consume their entire day.
Some of my beginners set goals of 10 or 15 minutes, 5 days per week. My more advanced students often set goals of 30-60 minutes per day, 5 days per week. And of course there are goals everywhere in between.
I try to involve parents in the goal setting. Parents can talk with their students and provide perspective on what would be a good goal. Parents know their child, and what they are capable of. Parents can also provide motivation and reminders during the week.
I like to let kids and their parents choose the goal so that the student can take ownership of the goal. I usually email parents and explain the practice incentive and ask them to talk to their student and then email me back with the goal their child has chosen.
At the recital, I recognize all kids who reach their goal. I also recognize the student who has the most minutes practiced. This is a fun competition that really gets the kids fired up! The kids want that certificate with the candy bar, plus the applause of the audience recognizing their hard work.
This is a fun activity that is easy to implement and can have a big impact on how well your students perform at your recital. I’d encourage you to print one out for each of your students and give it a try!