If there is one thing, aside from music, that I have discussed more than anything on this web site—and that I am passionate about almost as much as music itself—it is practice.
I have written about the myths of practice and the value of being all-in. I have revealed multiple incentives programs I have used to entice students to practice. I have listed many affordable instruments in order to help students to begin practicing on a budget. I have shared tech resources to better aid students in their practice at home. And, I can assure you, there is lots more to come!
Nevertheless, I have come to realize that motivating students to practice (correctly) these days is only half the battle. Children in elementary school today are enrolled in more activities than ever in the past. And, when they finally get home, they simply eat, do their homework, and sleep. If they are lucky, they also squeeze in a little time with family and finish off the evening with a bedtime story.
How After-School Practice Sessions Started
Ever since I began teaching After-School Music at Open School three years ago, I have dreamt of a way to provide an opportunity for students to practice and better learn important musical skills outside of their lesson time. With many students already enrolled in other after-school programs (at least on the day of their lesson), it has seemed like a logical move to somehow make practice possible on the school campus during this time as well.
Over the past two years, I tested various systems for allowing students to practice under my partial supervision during lessons I was teaching to other students. Typically, due the fact that my focus was always primarily on my lesson in progress, these practice sessions seemed to be only productive around 50% of the time and were often at least a mild distraction to the lesson I was teaching at that time.
This year, practice sessions are getting a make-over!
Introducing Fully Supervised Practice Sessions!
Mrs. Cline (a.k.a. my wife, Joana) has graciously offered her time to help practice sessions run smoothly and to ensure that lessons this year are free from interruption.
Every day after school, a portion of the library will be sectioned off for practice sessions only and Mrs. Cline will have music stands and sheet music set up and ready for students to practice. Most days, keyboards will be available for student use as well. And, drums will be available for most slots on Thursdays and Fridays.
Additionally, it is recommended this year that students use practice session time for more than just instrumental practice. It will also be a great opportunity for students to improve their overall music theory knowledge and skills!
Mrs. Cline will have wide variety of worksheets and computer-based music learning activities available during all practice sessions. On select occasions, she will also have music-related games and other group activities available for all students in the practice session to participate in together.
As such, keyboard and drum students do not necessarily only have to sign up for practice sessions at times when their instrument is available. And, in fact, all students are encouraged to plan to spend at least some time on music theory activities during practice session time.
How to Register for Practice Sessions
The absolutely best way to sign up for a practice session is via the Music Student Portal.
- Login to the student portal and click “Calendar” in the left side menu.
- Select a 30-minute practice session that works for the student.
- Confirm that the student’s instrument is available for the practice session you want.
(or that worksheets / computer learning will be available, if the student wishes to do music theory practice)
- Click “Register” and choose to sign up for just one session or click “Select All” to make the session a weekly routine.
For more details, please read the Music Lesson Information & Policies document.
The cost of practice sessions will be based on a rate of $10/hour. For example, a single 30-minute session will be billed as $5, two 30-minute sessions will be a total of $10, and so on.
It is suggested, but not currently required that students book a minimum of 1 hour of total practice session time each week (at least two 30-minute sessions) and to spread the practice sessions out over multiple days.
Each student can book as many practice sessions each week as they would like!
Currently, practice sessions are only available to current After-School Music students who take lessons with Mr. Cline.