I’ve struggled with the right system for students to log and report their personal practice. I’ve given detailed logs requests, simple ones, even built forms to complete. In the end, though, I typically don’t see a great response rate, particularly for an extracurricular choir like mine. The burdens our students face are so intense, it’s easy to let even a five-minute practice drop by the wayside, or else go unreported.
And since an unreported practice looks like an uncompleted practice, the students end up…not practicing.
This time, I tried something different. My students simply have to reply to a group chat with all the members (using Facebook, but could use text or another service). They give two pieces of information – how many minutes they practiced, and what pieces they focused on. Each week, I give them basic goals, which they can use or ignore to focus on their own challenges.
So far (it’s early, still), it’s an effective method. In addition to being a really low hurdle to scale (texting about 5-10 words), it also pings all of them with a reminder that their friends are practicing. That’s positive reinforcement to practice!
I’ll continue testing and honing this for the next several months and share any discoveries here.
Here’s what part of today’s reporting looked like: