Do your students need a little kick in their playing skills? Are they getting lazy with their technique and practicing? Are they just feeling unmotivated to do their best? If you answered yes, to any of these questions, the solution is ahead…
Laura Lowe of The Piano Studio Blog, has developed a piano “boot camp” geared to students 5th-9th grade in at least level 2A or above. This camp will focus on technique, practicing and mental strategies.
The sessions work best with 2-3 students at a time. Only one piano is needed. The lesson plans are easily adaptable to use one-on-one as well. Camp session layout is for 5 days for a minimum of 1-1/2 hours each day. (Though you can easily take more time.)
I have to say when I looked through the camp, I immediately thought, darn it! I wish I would have known about this camp 6 months ago as the general ideas and planning are very similar to what I’ve been planning with my students this year. I could have saved a lot of time! But no worries, because you can bet I will still be using some of the ideas and resources with my students. A big part of what I wanted to do with my students this year was to improve technique and performance skills and Laura addresses these things (and more) each day.
I love the boot camp theme along the way. It immediately shows students that you have high expectations for them. Each day at camp students can expect an Entrance Activity (getting started for the day…), Physical Training, Technical Training, Practice Strategy and Practicum, Sight-Reading, Mental Strength and Artistry. Sum Up and Orders are included for the next day. The last day focuses on performance skills and ends with students performing for their parents.
When students begin Piano Boot Camp: Special Ops they will receive a student workbook… I enjoyed the introduction, “Welcome to the piano training that will kick your skills up a notch and turn you into a lean, mean piano-playing machine.”
The student workbook includes:
- An agreement students will sign with expectations for the next 5 days.
- PT for Pianists exercise descriptions
- Survey the Terrain” sheet (A Repertoire Survey)
- A schedule priority sheet
- Practice Goals
- Piano Rubric
- Persistence Sheet
- Dramatic Monologue
- Fingering Principles
- Develop a Can-Do Attitude
- Performance Anxiety
- Journal pages for each day
- Inspiration page
In addition, a certificate of completion is available to give to students after their performances on the last day. You can find out more information about Piano Boot Camp: Special Ops including some sample pages in Laura’s Etsy shop here.
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Jennifer, this is possibly a weird question, but …… I love everything I have read so far about this program, but I don’t like the idea of a military-type theme. I know the ‘boot camp’ idea is old and widespread in mainstream culture, but for me, music and war don’t mesh. In your opinion, would it be easy to modify this program in order to make it more neutral and non-military in nature? It is expensive enough that I don’t want to pay for it and then find out I have to throw half of it out.
Yes, it is VERY adaptable. What I would do if I were you is to just use the general lesson plan ideas. You may want to ask Laura if there is a way for her to remove the “bootcamp” title on the student workbook pages for you so you can easily still use those pages with your students. 😉
Very helpful, thanks!
Hi, Jennifer – thanks for your great review! You summed it up well!
Earthsong2013 – if you are interested in the program, you could simply leave off the title page and the commissioning page. There is a header on each of the student pages with the program title, but if you like, I can easily create a copy without the page headers. Feel free to convo me at Etsy. The boot camp theme is well-received in my studio as many of my students’ family members either serve our country or have family members who serve, and we have an army base in town.