I recently read an article by Philip Johnston of The Practice Spot regarding studio awards and it inspired me to put together awards for my students as an added motivation to their weekly lessons. I've been doing an incentive program with them which has been working fabulously, but some of them have worked very hard and will probably complete it within the next couple of months so I wanted to try and put together something to keep them motivated all the way up to our June recital and be something I could use as an ongoing program in the studio.
As I thought about it, I wanted awards to be possible for everyone so I've put together awards for areas such as Note/Keyboard ID, Rhythm, Scales, Theory, Key Signatures, Composition, Practice time, Repetoire, etc. Each student can pick one or more area of study and work on it. In addition, each area of study has several levels allowing a student to acheive the first level (or first award) and continue to acheive a higher level depending upon how hard they want to work! I'm happy to give out loads of awards if it means they are working toward becoming better musicians!
For example, a student may decide to work toward awards for scales. If they learn and can play all of the 5-finger major scales, score 100% on a major scale challenge, and can play the cadences for those scales, they earn an award for the first level. If they continue on and complete the 5-finger minor scales as well, score 100% on a minor scale challenge and can play the cadences for those scales, they earn an award for the second level, etc. The key is to make sure they are solid in each level before I allow them to earn the award and move to the next level.
I do want the final level to be a big trophy, giving all of them something to really work for. The program will continue each year so I want that final award in each area to be a "coveted" award. Those students who acheive the final award in all areas will be given the "Fantastic, Well-Rounded Musician" award (or some such name!) - the highest award of the studio (and an award that will take them years of hard work to complete)!
I will also be adding awards as I go through the year - impromptu awards that fit the year of study or fit areas we are working on as a group or an individual. Or if I have a student who finally accomplishes something he has been working really hard to do, I can make up my own award! It's all up to me! Just another reason I love what I do!