Practice With A Purpose: Inspire Your Students to Use Their Music for Good In the Coming Months

What else do students gain from lessons besides the skill of playing an instrument? The list is LONG. We could talk about perseverance, longer focus and attention span, problem solving abilities, a healthy one-on-one relationship with an adult other than mom or dad, fine motor skills, and the list goes on. Music has the unique ability to be enjoyed or created for the sake of itself, enjoyed or created together with others, and used to accomplish other goals (think Music Therapy).

But each year, I purpose to introduce music to my students as having another ability – the ability to reach out and benefit others through it. In the past, this has included participating in our store’s annual Music Against Hunger event to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. You can check out more about the event in a previous post, here, and on the event page here.

This year we will again be participating in a hybrid in-person and online video format. But I want to take this year’s involvement to the next level and simultaneously encourage my students in their practice leading up to the event.

Enter – our 2021 Practice-A-Thon event!

Why are we doing this? – Because music is meant to be shared. But that doesn’t have to be simply performing for others (although this is a huge part of it too!). My goal each year is that my students learn how to use their music to make a difference in our community. This can take many different creative forms, but for us, it is benefitting the local food bank 🙂

What is a practice-a-thon? A practice-a-thon gives students and teachers the opportunity to use their music for a good cause. My students will spend one month collecting sponsors to pledge donations based on their practice time. Sponsors can pledge a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, or dollar per minute of practice, or pledge a flat fee. Students will then track their practice for the month of November and collect the money to donate to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank in time for the Music Against Hunger event. Money will be turned in by the annual event, and students will have the opportunity to perform music they have been practicing over the holidays. Since the pandemic, more people have used the food bank’s services than ever before, and in our city every dollar donated enables the food bank to provide 4 meals.

How can you be apart of this? Join us! Below you’ll find the packet that I have put together for each of my students. I am also including a blank complete set and individual pages that can be downloaded and modified to your studio’s needs. Your studio can complete the Practice-A-Thon in a week 2 weeks, month, or whatever works best for you! Simply pick a cause you would like to support, download and print the pages below, and hype up the excitement in your studio over the few weeks before it begins. Make sure to remind both students and parents of the importance of using our music to help others!

As a final challenge, I encourage teachers to join in on the fun. We need to practice as much as our students do, and the comradery they will feel with you joining in will go a long way in their own understanding of practice and using music to benefit others.

*you’ll notice that I have “what is practice” sheets in the packets below. This is VERY important! As sponsors sign up to donate based on each student’s practice, they need to be assured that practice has specific parameters. Sitting and doodling around on the piano for hours on end without a designated goal does not count 😉

The packet my students will be receiving in the coming week –

A complete blank copy for you to use –

*If you have Adobe Acrobat system, these are easily editable. If not, download the single sheets below and open them in Microsoft Word (or similar software). You can then edit to your specific needs. For the sponsor information and thank you letters, copy and paste also works well 🙂

To finish it out, I’ll be putting each student’s information in these envelopes … it keeps everything in one place and also gives each student a place to put donations when the time comes to collect 🙂 The best value is a 100 pack, and I figure I’ll use them again in the future.

Will you be joining us for this year’s Practice-A-Thon? I would love to hear about it! Comment below with where your studio is located, who you will choose to benefit, and any additional elements that you feel would be helpful for me add to the pack!

Happy Practicing,

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