Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 321 of our 100 Day Practice Challenge - Overcoming the Travel Hurdle

Yep, the title is right.   We started our 100 day practice challenge 321 days ago.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a 100 day challenge, I'll explain.  The idea is to practice your instrument for 100 consequetive days.  Almost a year ago, we decided, as a family, to commit ourselves to practicing every day.  This wasn't a huge change for the kids.  They take Suzuki violin and practiced just about every day anyway.  At least I thought they did.  But once we started the challenge I realized that on the busy or difficult days we had often skipped practice.  It was a huge change for Eric and me.  We had been playing guitar and mandolin, respectively, for about half a year, and were averaging about 3 practices a week, usually after the kids were in bed.

So we decided to practice every day for 100 days.  We each picked an exception.  Eric said that it wouldn't count to miss a day if you had to travel and couldn't bring your instrument.  I said that you didn't have to practice if you were sick.  We set a three song minimum.  A day counted if you played three songs, any songs.  We each chose a "prize" for the end of 100 days, and then agreed on a shared prize of a big bike trip together.  

We celebrated lots of little milestones.  We bought a pizza on day 10, baked a cake on day 25, went to an amusement park on day 50, and a movie on day 100.  We still haven't managed a multi-day bike trip, but by the time we got to 100 days we had all realized that the true prize was the music.  We saw huge progress in our playing, but even better, practice had become easy and automatic.

It think it worked because we were all doing it together.  At the beginning of each day, I figured out where practice would fit, and then I made it fit.  At the end of the day we would ask each other if we had all practiced.  We were accountable and all working toward the same goal.

So when we got to 100 days, we kept going, and going, and going.  We celebrate the milestones less and don't notice the challenges much at all.

We've had a ski weekend planned for Huck's birthday for months and I gave the kids the option to use their "travel exception."  They were horrified!  They've made it this far and weren't going to miss a couple days for a ski trip. 

So we packed their violins.  Unfortunately, the guitar and mandolin simply didn't fit, so Mom and Dad used the exception.

Not only did the boys play their 3 song minimum each day, they got to give their Grandparents' a full concert!

Thank goodness for little instruments!

Now we just need to figure out how to pack the instruments for our week-long bike trip this summer. 

1 comment:

Tell me about your family band!