Musical Meanderings

This is a blog centered around some of the musical encounters and experiences that I come upon in my daily life as a musician.

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Location: Alameda, California

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Practicing for Nickels

Okay---so I admit it. It's difficult to get seven year old Isabelle to practice her cello. She has played most of Suzuki Cello book 3, and she is now working on the first piece in Suzuki Book 4---the Breval Sonata. She's a great little player. She's amazing, really. But she is seven, and she does not want to practice, and she does not want to listen to my ideas about how to make her playing better. I am her mom, after all!

So I have to continually come up with new ideas to try to make it fun.

Here's the new game for this week. We are playing for nickels. She has a newfound love for money, and more importantly, money that is hers. So I thought, well, why not earn money by practicing? I wrote down five things to practice on a piece of paper. After she does each one, she gets a nickel. The nickel will go into a smiley face jar. At the end of the month, we will count up all the nickels that she earned. Twenty percent of the money will go into her savings account. The rest she can use to buy something.

But---if she doesn't complete a task on the practice page---I take a nickel out of the smiley face jar and it goes into an unhappy face jar. That money is then mine again, and she has to re-earn it.

This is a new attempt at making practicing challenging and fun. I will let you know how it works out. So far so good though.

Anything to keep her on the road to becoming a great and accomplished musician. I think if she can learn to play the cello, then she can learn to do anything.