Cool Practice Tip #1 with ice-cream sticks: ANIMALS

(This post is part of our Ice-Cream Chillin' flavour selection in the Parents Can Coach 'What's In My Positive Practice Toolkit' series.)

Who remembers having to learn similes to help us write more expressively and beautifully? You know, "as fierce as a lion", "as quiet as a mouse", or "as slow as a tortoise"?

The same can be applied to making our playing more expressive and beautiful. Try labelling ice-cream sticks with different animals names. In our example below, we used animal stickers.

Invite your child to draw a stick at random. Without revealing his drawn animal, have him play his instrument in the way that the animal on the stick behaves. For example, he could "stomp" his piece like an elephant. Or making it "gentle and floating" like a butterfly. You have to guess which animal he is expressing!

Tip 1: Start with a smaller selection of familiar animals with distinct contrasts (e.g. lion, mouse, dinosaur, frog, butterfly, tortoise, cheetah)

Tip 2: Instead of playing the entire piece, choose a specific segment that you want to work on through repetitions. Draw a different animal for each repetition. It would be much more fun to get 5 chances to make you guess 5 different animals, instead of having to get through 5 plain old repetitions, wouldn't it?

To save on ice-cream sticks, we use all 4 tips of each stick (2 ends + 2 more on the reverse side). We organise the tips by colour, so that we can rotate through the different coloured selections i.e. we can play the animals in the blue group one day, and the animals in the pink group the next. Injecting variety means that it's going to take a long time before the game gets old!

Which animal would you choose to be?

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