Be Our Guest: How Does Simon Teach Us How to Practice?

Today I have asked Andy Fling with MakingMusicFun.net to share a recent post he wrote for his email subscribers. In this post he shares how using the game that many of us have grown up with, “Simon” and apply it to practicing. I have personally used this game (via the iPad) with my students but for ear training and memory purposes. It didn’t even dawn on me the other teaching application it has! Practicing! Enjoy this post by Andy Fling…

 


 

The Best Teaching Strategy You May be Missing Can be Taught with a Toy

Have you ever played with Simon – an electronic memory skill toy?

Turn Simon on and it plays a simple two color/sound pattern. You repeat the pattern by pressing the buttons that light up. Then Simon adds an additional color/sound to the pattern in each round which progressively increases the challenge. The fun of playing is seeing how long you can hang in there.

I’ve shared this game with a few of my students to help them understand how Simon teaches players, and how it can help them practice. One of my students made it through 25 rounds. Wow!

 

Here’s Simon’s strategy:

1) Simon begins with a goal that kids are successful with 99% of the time. This makes them happy and they keep playing.

2) Simon builds on their success with small steps.

 

So, how you apply that?

To help kids make the most of their practice time, here are a few ideas you can put into action.

1) Pick goals that they can acheive the very first time. Maybe it’s only two notes. Maybe it’s a measure.

2) Build on that success by adding another element. Maybe it’s more notes. Maybe it’s a crescendo.

 

Simon’s game always ends. It’s hard to remember everything. Kids will miss things when they’re practicing too. It’s hard to be perfect. We just have to teach them how to be successful a lot more often. Doing so will keep them “playing,” progressing faster, and maybe smiling a little more!

 

Here’s a link to play Simon online:

FreeSimon | Memory Game Online

(Side note: You can also find many ‘Simon’ inspired apps in the app or google play store!)

 

 

Andy Fling, site owner/teacher, is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelors Degree in Music Theory and Composition, and graduate studies in Music Theory and Composition and K-12 Music Education. In 1992 he began teaching music at a small Christian school, and an excitement for teaching kids and music education began. Offering instruction for general music, band and choir to thousands of elementary aged kids in Christian and Public Schools, his excitement for teaching music to kids is stronger than ever. He currently teaches to a studio full of private music students, offers weekly homeschool classes, and shares the fun though his website, MakingMusicFun.net

Be sure to like Making Music Fun on Facebook! Thanks for sharing Andy!

 

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