Perfecting a small passage
Pick a number from 3-7. That many items go on your music stand. Play the passage - if correct, one item moves to the other side of the stand. Play it again - if correct, move another. If incorrect, ALL of the items move back to 'start'. When they've all moved to the other side of the stand, you win. This should NOT be used with any passage more than a few measures long, or you will get very frustrated!
Variation: If you're feeling wimpy, when you have an incorrect playthrough you could just move one item back instead of all of them, but I think you can handle the real version of the game!
This one got its name because when I started using it with students I always used M&Ms, and of course the winner ate them at the end! You can use any reasonable items, but certain choices should of course not be eaten.
Tic Tac Toe
Find a partner (you can play without one, but it's more fun with them). Draw a tic tac toe board and play your passage. Perfect playthrough? Your turn for the tic tac toe board! Made a single, teeny mistake? Your partner's turn! If you win the game, you're done practicing for the day. If you lose, take a few minutes to work on problem spots and try again until you can beat them.
Choose an opponent - it could be anyone!
Your name goes on one side, theirs on the other. Roll an imaginary die in your head. The number you roll is the number of points you're playing for. Play the passage. Perfect playthrough? You get the points. One tiny mistake? Your opponent gets the points. First person to 30 points wins!
-Use a real die, or two dice if you're in a hurry
-Change the point value you're playing to - maybe 20 points if you're in a hurry? Never go below 15, though!
Bulletproofing an entire piece
Choose a number of allowed mistakes (a quota). Play through your piece - did you play that number or fewer mistakes?
Yes? Great! Take the passages you messed up on and run them through a game for perfecting a small passage. Then play again, BUT subtract one from your previous quota. (If you allowed 5 mistakes the first time, you only get 4 this time!) See how low you can get that number today before you make more mistakes than your quota, then tomorrow start at the lowest number you got to today.
No? Good news - you just identified some problem spots that need work! Put the passages you messed up on through a game for perfecting a small passage. Then try again. Repeat until you get the same or fewer mistakes than your quota, and tomorrow start over with the same quota.