Play it Forward technique by Mark Merritt
I am loving using this “Play It Forward” technique with my students. Thank you Mark – it serves to really help my students. I am teaching and utilizing it with my son and it works very well. We are using the original playlist where you list your own songs. I already know that Mark uses this playlist as well. But, I’d like to know if anyone else uses his Play it Forward technique of marking the playlists with the Playlist Management 1-4 program? Have you found a way to make this work with the variations and arrangements listed the way they are- in the same row as the foundation song they stem from?
I like the playlist book to be condensed this way but it is tricky to not have them listed separately when you are trying to give them each a Play It Forward number- it is also tricky if you are just assessing the songs once a month.
What do others do?
Mark M., New York
Glad you like Play It Forward, Kristi! Those students of mine who use it invariably have stronger repertoires, and have an easier time maintaining those stronger repertoires. Least possible effort for best possible results. A true win-win.
In addition to ideas other teachers may share, I thought I’d share some thoughts here, including specifically how Play It Forward might tie in.
It’s worth noting that the notion of physically shortening the playlist by including multiple versions of a piece on a single line predates the Playlist Management program and always would have brought up the same questions about just how often to practice the various items to keep them in good shape. Some of my students (not using Play It Forward) have at times chosen this approach, and when I’ve asked how they manage it, the typical answer is that they just practice all versions from a single line in a single practice session to ensure everything was covered. I think that’s what most people likely would do in such a situation. Obviously there’s a trade-off there — some of the pieces on that line will be practiced more often than they really need. And that’s true whether you’re using Play It Forward or not. For those students who sufficiently value having a physically shorter playlist, that trade-off may be worth it.
It would actually, then, be a piece of cake to integrate Play It Forward there. You ask yourself the same PIF question — how many days can I wait to play this again while still keeping it in good shape? The only difference is that “this” now refers to the group as a whole instead of an individual piece/version. This will reduce the group to its lowest common denominator, i.e., the song that needs to be practiced soonest from within that line.
I can also imagine assigning some kind of code to each of the versions on a line, maybe a letter, and, again with or without Play It Forward, marking the letter when a version is practiced, so that different versions could be managed on a single line while practicing them all at different times rather than all at once. That would then open up the possibility of using Play It Forward more fully, to track each piece individually even as they’re kept together on a single line. For the benefits of the physically shorter playlist plus the song-specific Play It Forward tracking, the trade-off ends up being more clutter in the boxes in order to track not only PIF numbers and checks but also the piece-identifying codes.
All of these things are possibilities, with or without Play It Forward, with or without the Playlist Management program, and it’s all just a question of what a given student values enough to make a particular trade-off.