Does this sound familiar?
Violin practice at home can sometimes settle into predictable and–dare I say?–boring patterns. And if you’re normal, you and your violinist might even butt heads a bit when you tell your child to try something again. Have you ever said, “Do that again,” to your child, then been greeted with a pleasant, special, endearing image that looks something like this?
Or maybe this?
Or maybe your violinist gets glazed-over eyes when practicing, and you just know that their brain isn’t engaged. It’s probably daydreaming of playing outside with their friends, reaching the next level in that video game, or finishing that art project splayed on the table. And you just need to help them jolt back to their practice.
And maybe in your mind, you’re going over the shopping list and the dinner menu. Maybe you’re making a mental list of chores to do, appointments to make, people to call… And you hear an out-of-tune note but just decide to let that one slide. Then a few more. And a few more.
Or maybe your violin teacher prescribed a certain number of repetitions, and you know you’re going to have to be the enforcer.
Why we need to change up our language
These can be tough situations.
If you’re practicing with your child and find yourself always saying, “Try that again,” or even hollering, “Wrong note!” from the other room, both of you are probably ready for a change.
Even if your violinist is to the point of independent practice, all of us benefit hugely from having someone we love nudge us to push ourselves.
In fact, what we’re doing by asking for more repetitions and attempts is training our violinists to know when it’s time to do it again. The more they hear your voice asking kindly and lovingly to for more practice, the more they’ll internalize that. Eventually, they’ll get to the point where they won’t need you to gently ask or remind them. They’ll do it on their own!
So by giving helpful nudges, we’re helping our kids create healthy practice habits and also helping them develop and automate that little voice in their head that tells them they really do need to not just keep playing but stop and thoughtfully try again.
50 Ways to Say “Do It Again” During Violin Practice
This week, hit reset on your practice dynamic and surprise your violinist with some fresh vocab. I brainstormed 50 ways to say, “Let’s do that again.”
Say these to pull both of you out of a practice funk and get those repetitions done.
My favorite one is number 50….But I’m a sucker for a bit of dramatic flair. How about you?
1. Let’s try that again.
2. Let me hear that again.
3. Let me see that again.
4. Let me hear that one more time.
5. Show me how you did that.
6. Let’s repeat that.
7. Let’s do a redo.
8. Let’s play that again.
9. Let’s drill that.
10. Let’s start again.
11. Let’s find that nice sound again.
12. Let’s go back to that.
13. Let’s do a retake.
14. Let’s hit the replay button on that.
15. Let’s do it just like that again.
16. Let’s try a do-over.
17. Let’s restart.
18. Let’s give that another shot.
19. Let’s give that another try.
20. Let’s retry.
21. Let’s do another attempt.
22. Let’s start that again.
23. Let’s give that another go.
24. Let’s try once more.
25. Let’s do a fresh attempt.
26. That’s worth another try.
27. Let’s take another stab at that.
28. Let’s take another crack at that.
29. Let’s give that another whirl.
30. Let’s start that again.
31. Let’s give that another chance.
32. Let’s take another look at that.
33. Let’s do another attempt at that.
34. Let’s run it again.
35. Let’s do another one.
36. Please try that again.
37. Let’s give that another effort.
38. Let’s put a new spin on that and …
39. This time, let’s …
40. Can you do it just like that again?
41. Can I hear that again?
42. Let’s try an experiment and …
43. This time, let’s see if we can …
44. This time, let’s shoot for …
45. Let’s go back to that.
46. Let’s give that spot another turn.
47. Let’s rehearse that spot more.
48. Take another whack at that.
49. Hit me, baby, one more time!
(Thanks, Britney Spears.)
50. Give it a whirl, girl!
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist adding that one. Captain Holt hilariously says that to one of his employees in an episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine.)
The Importance of Word Choice
You might have noticed that lots of these start with “Let’s.” Starting with that word is a great way to show your violinist that you’re a team, and you’re there to help. “Let’s” isn’t threatening or irritating. It shows you care and you’ll stick with hard things, too.
Not too many of the 50 I listed are a question. If you’ve got a sassy one on your hands, asking a question is setting yourself up for a no (and maybe an ensuing struggle). But once in awhile, a question is a nice way to mix it up and also let them know that they can take charge. When you ask, “Can I hear that again?” and they answer by obliging, they’re taking control of the situation and claiming ownership.
How do you usually tell your violinist to try again? Is there one catchphrase you always use? Which of these 50 new phrases will you try out this week during violin practice? Did I forget any good ones?
How would the atmosphere and productivity of your at-home practice change if you tried all 50 of these this week? My experience has been that both the parent and the child feel more satisfied, accomplish more, and build their relationship steadily. And that’s really what practicing violin with your child is all about. It’s not about being perfect or about practicing the most. It’s about building a better and closer relationship and sharing your love of music.