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7 Tips for Practicing over Winter Break
By West Music Company
12/6/2016 7:51:00 AM  
7 Tips to Keep Playing


practice timeYour child just got through their first big concert of the year and is now looking forward to a relaxing winter break. The last thing on their mind is practicing their instrument. As parents, it’s hard to help keep our kids motivated while school is out, but it’s important to remember that even though concert season is over for now, music season is never over!

At West Music we have seen that students who practice their instruments over school breaks, even just for a few minutes every day, retain lessons better and develop new skills quicker. When school gets back in session, students who have practiced are less rusty and more excited to learn.

It’s sometimes hard to find the time to practice or stay motivated during school breaks, but West Music educators have put together this list of their seven best tips to help your child keep playing all winter long!


1. Break practice out into 5-10 minutes.
Finding the time to practice is difficult, especially during the holidays. By breaking up longer practice sessions into short 5 to 10 minute sprints, you and your child will be more likely to find the time to get it done!

2. Set goals.
With each practice session have a specific goal in mind for your child, even if it’s just practicing one or two cords. Setting small goals will add up to huge accomplishments!

practing at home

3. Keep your child’s instrument out (in a safe place).
Ever heard out of sight, out of mind? That’s exactly what happens when you pack up your child’s instrument in its case and put it into the closet. Instead keep it out somewhere out of the way but where your young musician will see it every day.

4. Let your child pick their practice time, and then stick with it.
One of the many skills music teaches children is self-discipline. Let them choose what time they want to practice, but once a time is chosen have them stick to it as best as possible.  Even if they have to miss a practice session or two because of holiday events, it helps build the habit of practicing regularly.

5. Be excited for your child.
If you see practice time as dull, so will your kids. Be in the room when your child practices and encourage them when they feel like giving up. When they do finally master a song, or even just a new note, show genuine pride and excitement in their accomplishments.

6. Game-ify Practice.
Many music teachers suggest making a game out of difficult passages that could otherwise get frustrating. One of the most popular games involves pennies (but M&Ms or Skittles work just as well). Put 3 to 10 pennies on the left side of their music stand. Each time your kids get the passage right, they can move a penny to the right side. Once they get all the pennies to the other side, they can finish practicing and take their reward!

7. Play with the instrument.
You don’t always need to follow the song book.  Encourage your child to make up their own song. It encourages creativity and makes learning more fun!

 

Need more advice? West Music is here for you!

Call our music experts at 1-800-397-9378


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Tags: band, orchestra, students, winter, holidays
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Drums & Percussion, Music Education
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Active Music Making with Interactive Technology
By West Music Company
5/7/2016 9:58:00 AM  
Author: Manju Durairaj

Technology can be an aid to facilitate learning and teaching without compromising active music making. That is the core of effective general music instruction. Thoughtfully created PowerPoint, Word, or Notebook visuals and/or sequentially processed activities that use IWB and/or iPad/tablet can help develop, not limit the 4Cs: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication Skills.

Elementary music students can sing, move, dance, play instruments, notate, listen, create, and improvise in their music classes, even as the teacher uses technology-based medium to optimize and enrich student learning. Using PowerPoint or Smart Notebook application for Smartboard, one can create and edit images and pathways for vocal exploration. Animation features in PowerPoint allow students to vocally track a snowflake swirling in the wind, a bee buzzing from flower to flower, or a witch on a broomstick flying around a bonfire or in search of her cauldron of witch’s brew.

On the Interactive Whiteboard, one could create or insert an object such as a snowflake, leaf, bat, an owl, or a witch image. A contextual background and a series of related pathways may be created for the object. In a conscious effort to facilitate reading, most of the vocal or melodic contour explorations could begin on the left. Initially, the teacher may create the pathways and students may take turns coming to the Interactive Whiteboard, dragging the object along the pathway while vocalizing. Later they may create their own pathways for themselves or for their peers and work collaboratively. This is a great opportunity for quick formative assessment.

Interactive xylophones, recorders, hide and reveal activities, and smart response applications are all wonderful time saving, comprehensive, formative assessment tools. Images of objects, pathways, 2, 3, or 4 beat and pitch reading flash cards, maybe sent to iPads/ tablets via Dropbox, email, or QR codes may be accessed in the photo browser of the iPads/ tablets. Students may use whiteboard apps like Educreations (free) or Explain Everything (paid-upper elementary) to access and manipulate these images. These apps may be used to create rhythmic and melodic compositions that may be extended to movement, Orff instruments, and recorders.

Students can create, record, evaluate, and save their compositions onto student folders. The teacher may create digital portfolios for each student. These may contain screencasts, pdfs, video/audio etc. of student work, and can be easily retrievable for review for assessment, during parent conferences, and for grading purposes.

Technology is your friend!

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Tags: music education, music technology, Manju Durairaj, Educreations
Categories: Kids & Movement, Music Education
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Sour note? How to encourage, not nag, a child to practice a musical instrument
By West Music Company
1/13/2016 10:00:00 AM  

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Tags: John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, practice, child, student, encourage, sour note,
Categories: Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Supporting Music Education: Choose to Teach
By West Music Company
10/15/2015 2:20:00 PM  

Supporting Music Education: Choose to TeachHow do you know if you want to become a music teacher? Some students just know, and others make that decision when considering career options. For many students, sharing the joy of music becomes their passion.

This tip sheet, Supporting Music Education: Choose to Teach presents information that will assist you and your students in making an informed choice. Becoming a music teacher can be an extremely rewarding and challenging career. If you love to make music and enjoy working with others, there is no better way to convey that passion than by sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm as a professional music educator.

Republished with permission of the Music Achievement Council. For more tips on keeping music strong in your schools, visit the site devoted to all things music advocacy: www.supportmusic.com.


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Tags: music administration, band director, orchestra director, school music program
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Supporting Music Education: Audience Guidelines
By West Music Company
10/1/2015 2:20:00 PM  

Supporting Music Education: Audience GuidelinesBecoming a discerning, supportive and knowledgeable audience member is an important part of a student’s education. Successful audience participation requires skill, discretion, common sense, discipline and a bit of knowledge.

Discover some great ways to set expectations for your audiences, in a variety of settings, in this tip sheet, Supporting Music Education: Audience Guidelines

Republished with permission of the Music Achievement Council. For more tips on keeping music strong in your schools, visit the site devoted to all things music advocacy: www.supportmusic.com.


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Tags: music administration, band director, orchestra director, school music program
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Coralville October 2015 Musician of the Month: Minou Emmad
By West Music Company
10/1/2015 8:00:00 AM  
Minou Emmad is a piano student of Nik Jakob at West Music Coralville. She has been studying with Nik for five years. Minou is a 5th grader at Willowwind. Her musical goals include playing in an orchestra or jazz band. Her advice to other musicians is to have perseverance.

When asked what she loves about playing music, Minou says "playing a piece of music I like well and seeing others enjoy hearing it as well." It might suprise you to learn that she also plays saxophone.

Minou's other interests include tennis, swimming, chess, and playing video games. Her favorie musicians are Mozart and Alicia Keys.

Congratulations, Minou! Great job!

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Tags: Minou Emmad, Nik Jakob, piano, willowwind
Categories: West Music Coralville, Extraordinary Associate of the Month, Music Education
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Marion October 2015 Teacher Feature: Matt Driscoll
By West Music Company
10/1/2015 8:00:00 AM  
Matt Driscoll teaches low brass here at West Music Marion. Low brass instruments include trombone, euphonium, baritone, tuba, and sometimes trumpet. He began playing the trombone in the 6th grade. Matt has a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Jacksonville State University. He has his Masters of Music in trombone performance from East Carolina University and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa. He has taught at Central College for 10 years, Cornell College for 5 years, Bennett  Elementary for 7 years and is on the adjunct faculty at Kirkwood Community College.

He plays with a couple of local groups including Brass Transit Authority and the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band. He has also substituted in the Peoria Symphony, the Waterloo/ Cedar Falls Symphony and the Des Moines Symphony. Last spring he premiered 3 new solo works for trombone. His hobbies and interests include running and spending time with his family. Matt’s favorite thing about teaching is spreading the love of music and helping his students achieve their goals on their instruments. One of his most interesting musical/ educational experiences has been researching and writing his dissertation on the styles and culture of the New Orleans Brass Bands.

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Tags: Matt Driscoll, low brass, Jacksonville State University, East Carolina University, University of Iowa, Central College, Cornell College, Bennett Elementary, Kirkwood Community College, Brass Transit Authority, Cedar Rapids Municipal Band, Peoria Symphony, Waterloo/ Cedar Falls Symphony, Des Moines Symphony
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Marion, Music Education
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Marion October 2015 Musician of the Month: Brady Diercks
By West Music Company
10/1/2015 8:00:00 AM  
Brady Diercks is an acoustic guitar student of Garth McMann. He has been taking lessons with Garth for 2 years. Brady is a home school student and is in the 5th grade. Garth nominated Brady because he has just finished book 1 of the Mel Bay Beginning Guitar Instruction. One of Brady’s musical goals is to complete all the Mel Bay guitar books. His advice to other musicians is to practice and work hard.

Brady says’”music is really fun to learn and you can make your own songs.” His favorite types of music include country and pop. Some of his other interests include football, baseball, and bowling. He participates in soccer and future problem solving. Something that might surprise you about Brady is that he goes by his middle name. His first name is Robert.

Congratulations Brady! Keep up the good work!

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Tags: Brady Diercks, Garth McMann, acoustic guitar,
Categories: West Music Marion, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Supporting Music Education: Concert Thoughts
By West Music Company
9/15/2015 2:20:00 PM  

Supporting Music Education: Concert ThoughtsToo many excellent presentations are tainted by failure to take care of the many details of a production. We must take full advantage of the opportunities awaiting our students. The concert is our students' opportunity to show their parents or community audiences what they can do.

See an organized approach to creating a smooth-running, successful presentation where the students, audience, administration and support staff all understand their roles and expectations in this tip sheet, Supporting Music Education: Concert Thoughts

Republished with permission of the Music Achievement Council. For more tips on keeping music strong in your schools, visit the site devoted to all things music advocacy: www.supportmusic.com.


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Tags: music administration, band director, orchestra director, school music program
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Supporting Music Education: Expanding the Learning Power of Music
By West Music Company
9/1/2015 2:20:00 PM  

Supporting Music Education: Expanding the Learning Power of MusicThe contemporary student comes to the classroom with a sophisticated knowledge of computers. It is vital that we creatively approach and utilize the application of available technology to engage students and enhance learning. Multimedia learning provides teachers, including music teachers, the opportunity to be at the core of communications.

See an overview of how to apply current multimedia approaches to learning in the arts to attract and engage students and to enhance your program in this tip sheet, Supporting Music Education: Expanding the Learning Power of Music

Republished with permission of the Music Achievement Council. For more tips on keeping music strong in your schools, visit the site devoted to all things music advocacy: www.supportmusic.com.


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Tags: music administration, band director, orchestra director, school music program
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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