Advice needed
Practicing during chaotic periods

Emily Jennings said: Nov 6, 2013
Portland, OR
5 posts

Hi all,

I’m a teacher who has a couple of students whose home lives right now are a bit disheveled—in one case, due to moving, in another, due to a more general having-trouble-adjusting-to-new-routine. In both cases, the families have more than one child; the oldest is taking lessons, but the younger ones are toddlers or younger. The practice parent is often the only one at home when practice needs to happen; waiting until the other parent comes home isn’t a good option because it would keep the student up too late (and a tired child is not going to be able to focus well!). Has anyone had similar issues in the past (or currently), and if so, what did you find was able to help? Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated, both by me and by the families on whose behalf I’m asking! Thanks!

Mary said: Nov 7, 2013
 39 posts

I remember this was a challenge when my older son was first starting on the violin. He was four and his little brother was about one-year old. I had a basket of toys ready for the little one that I’d pull out for music practice time. I’d get the violin and music ready and then set up the little one with a couple of the toys that could keep him occupied for at least a few minutes. And then in that time, I’d be able to get through at least one task. And then I’d pull out another toy and get him to play with something for another 5 minutes and squeeze out another task. I’d also pick up and walked around with his little brother if he wasn’t willing to play with a toy or needed my attention. But I could still concentrate on my older son because I was just trying to do 1 or 2 tasks. I’d try to have at least 1-2 of these short 5-10 minute practices a day.

In the pre-twinkle, early book 1 stage there’s lots to do without even getting the violin out such as clapping out the twinkle rhythms, singing the songs, etc. And these exercises can happen throughout the day.

Once my son was a little older and needed longer periods of practice time we shifted to practicing in the morning before my husband went to work and the older one went off to preschool. My younger son woke us up fairly early—6am—so our house was up. I could usually squeeze out a 20 min. practice before everyone had to leave the house by 8am.

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