The “Five Guys” game (hint: doesn’t involve hamburger)


This game is especially helpful for encouraging focus, without having to “nag”.  It is useful for all ages, in fact, it’s still in use by certain adults we know…

Five objects are needed- anything is great (as long as it isn’t too distracting)!  Stuffed animals, small erasers, coins, rocks are all objects that work well.  It can be helpful for the objects to be of enjoyment to the practicer, and for them to fit on the stand.

When all five objects are lined up, the rules must be laid out clearly:

  • A small chunk of music is chosen for practice
    • One or two measures of sloppily played music with several dropped notes, a section that is especially difficult, or a chunk that needs technical attention are all prime real estate!
  • If the chunk of music is nailed (it may need to be established what the definition of “perfection” is in this case), then one of the objects “goes home”
  • If the selected “chunk” hasn’t been agreeably conquered, the object stays
    • For a more advanced variation, all objects return back to start if anything is missed.  This can be totally frustrating when used indiscriminately, so proceed with caution!
  • If practicing with a child, both the adult and child must agree on whether the object is to be moved.  If there is disagreement to the degree of success (on either side) the object stays.
    • It is helpful to allow the child as much verbal reinforcement as possible in this situation.  I.e., ask the child if the object should return home or not, and ask why.
  • Don’t start the game unless you know there can be success.  The idea is to encourage successful repetition (consistency is a sign of mastery!), so don’t give in if the try wasn’t successful, and don’t start the game if the chunk is still being learned.