Making Teaching Easier
PolyNome is an invaluable tool for music teachers of any instrument.
Some common questions that arise when teaching music are:
How can I motivate my students to practice?
How can I keep track of what my students have practiced?
How can I help my students overcome the problems they are facing with the assignments I give them?
Let’s look at how PolyNome can help to solve these problems…
Motivation – the Carrot and the Stick
Why is it that some people practice more than others? Usually the answer is reward or punishment.
A horse moves forward to try and reach the dangling carrot ahead of it (reward), or to avoid the stick the rider will smack it with if it stays put (punishment).
Our practice is motivated by the carrot as long as we feel like the practice pays off. That is, it’s rewarding to practice with the knowledge that you’re gaining competence and will be able to enjoy the results of your efforts.
We also practice when we know we’ll feel bad if we don’t. Whether that’s because our teacher will be disappointed, or we’ll feel guilty. This is the stick.
PolyNome can help with motivation in 2 ways
1.Built in carrot/stick notifications
These tell you when you haven’t practiced in 24 hours, 2 days, 3 days, etc. Sometimes it comes as a surprise to realise that we’ve missed a few days of practice and all that’s required to get us going again is that little reminder.
Notifications also congratulate you when you achieve practice streaks (x days in a row), and beat past records of practice logged in a day/week/month. It’s satisfying to see these notifications and feel that virtual pat on the back.
Because PolyNome has the ability to log all practice you can also look back and actually see the work you’ve done.
Even if you’re not feeling like you’re improving at the current moment, it feels good to look at a chart showing that you’ve accumulated 6 hours of practice in the last 2 weeks. It makes you feel like the time didn’t just disappear – you can see exactly where it went.
On top of that, you can add notes to the practice events to indicate when you were struggling with things, when things started to feel easier, etc.
It’s easy to look at charts to see your progress and really understand how much practice it takes to improve.
How It Works
Every time you press play in PolyNome a Practice Event is added to the log. This event contains:
- The date and time
- The name of the preset
- The tempo it was played at
- The length of time it was played for
- Any notes attached to the event
You can view statistics and graphs showing just how much time you’ve spent on each thing you’re working on in the Practice Log.
- Results between specified dates
- For specific presets, playlists and tags
- Results for a specified tempo range
- Number of practice events logged
- Total time logged for the specified tempo range
- Total time for the current tempo
- The most played tempo in the current range
- The least played tempo in the current range
You can view charts (shown earlier) of the currently filtered events showing:
- Date vs Time Logged
- Preset vs Time Logged
- Tempo vs Time Logged
You can also view a PDF report that shows each event with the time logged, tempo, time and any notes associated with the event.
Why is logging practice good?
There are a number of reasons why it’s beneficial and inspiring to log practice.
First, it’s nice to see your work accumulating in graphs. It feels good to look at the weeks and months passed and see that you’ve been committing to your craft.
Second, you can add notes to each practice event along the way. At the start of working on a new skill your notes might reflect the difficulties you’re having. As you progress you can add notes about what’s becoming easier. Finally, as you become proficient at the skill, your notes will reflect the fact that you now feel comfortable with what you’ve been working on.
Using PolyNome you can see exactly how long it took you to go from feeling uncomfortable and unskilled, to becoming comfortable and proficient. You can then use that as an indicator for how long it’s likely to take to learn other skills.
There’s a great TED talk about how you can learn any skill in 2o hours. That sounds like a short amount of time, but if you practice for 20 mins a day it’s 2 months! Most of us give up on learning a new task a long time before we hit the 20 hour mark.
Using PolyNome to log your practice means you can give yourself permission to feel like you’re not improving until you reach the 20 hour mark. It eliminates failure based on giving up because you think you’re incapable. This is the reason most people fail.
How PolyNome helps teachers
As a teacher it’s useful to know how much a student has practiced and if they had any problems with their practice. Relying on verbal recall of the student isn’t very effective. It’s not easy to remember something you struggled with 4 days ago.
Of course, students can write things down, and keep a log of how much they practice with a pen and paper, but that’s just more work.
PolyNome’s ability to share Presets and Playlists makes it easier for both the student and the teacher.
With PolyNome a teacher can create presets for things the student should be working on. They don’t even have to be tempo related – it could be a silent preset with the name of the task (e.g. free play time)
These presets can be added to a Playlist (e.g. Billy’s Homework May 15th)
Each preset can be assigned a time to practice – 15 mins for this, 10 mins for that, etc.
Notes for things to keep in mind while practicing can be added to the individual presets and to the playlist.
The teacher can then share this playlist with the student via email/iMessage or AirDrop.
How PolyNome Helps Students
Once the teacher has shared the homework Playlist with the student it’s easy for them to load it up and start practicing.
The timer is automatically set for each task, so they don’t need to focus on the time.
The practice is automatically logged, so they don’t need to think about writing it down.
They can add notes about how they’re getting on directly to the logged events, so they know they’ll be able to discuss their progress with the teacher in the next lesson.
Finally, the fact that they can look at a chart showing how much practice they’ve done each day is rewarding and motivates them to add to it from day to day (when nagged by PolyNome if they forget)