Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Star is Born!

As I was thinking what I would do this coming fall for my incentive program, I actually started backwards!  I thought about what I wanted to do at our Spring recital in 2013 since I always try to tie it in with the incentive program.  Even though I have two recitals each year and we use group lessons to practice recital etiquette, it seems all those things get forgotten when nerves kick in!

This year I wanted to target what it takes to be a focused, well-trained performer and I wanted to encourage my students to do more performing over all!  With all that in mind, I came up with...

A Star is Born!  Playing Your Way to Fame!
Here is a look at the large practice board I made which is a duplicate of the one each student will get in their binders.  Every year that I do a practice incentive, the kids are constantly trying to find out how far the other kids are in relation to where they are in the program.  They all tend to do better and stay on track when I post it, so I have started making a duplicate larger board to keep in the studio. 

While it tracks practice time, it also leads students to 5 large stars that require them to "dig" a bit deeper and work on their skills and musical knowledge.  In between there are smaller stars they acheive when they complete their required practice minutes.

Here's a closer look at each of the larger stars:

After completing 5 practice stars which would mean 5 weeks of accomplishing their practice goals, students reach BEHIND THE SCENES!  Just as it says, we will stop and work specifically on technique (not that we don't all year!) and give them a specific goal to acheive before they can move forward on the gameboard.  Part of the acheivement will include putting together a technique goal for the entire year.

After again completing 5 more practice stars, students reach A STAR-STUDDED STAFF.  Here we will work specifically on identifying notes on the staff (or for beginners - key names).  Goals for this area may be to learn all the notes on the treble clef or bass clef, say all the notes on the grand staff in less than a minute or to work on identifying intervals quickly.
Next is FAMOUS CLEBRITY COMPOSERS!  Here students will have to pick composers packets to work on.  This is also where we will focus on what it took for composers to become famous and accomplished.

After that, we move onto 'REEL'Y GREAT RHYTHMS!  Here we stop and work specifically on rhythm.  Depending upon their level, we will tap out rhythms, identify them by listening, etc.

Lastly, LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!  Here we focus on theory!  Because I already do so much of it all year through games and activities,  many of my students will be taking theory exams when they reach this area as a way to prepare them for state exams.  All of them will work on specific theory skills depending upon their level.
Each time a student completes a large star, they will be given a "ticket" to put in the studio popcorn bucket.  They will also be given a charm for completing the challenge.
Here's a quick look at the the charms I chose.  A hand for completing the technique star, a treble clef for completing A Star-Studded Staff, eighth notes or completing the rhythm star, a smiley face for the composer star, a thumbs up for the theory star and a star when they make it to the end.  I purchased these through

They will also be able to put a ticket in the bucket each time they perform during the year.  To encourage them to perform more for family, friends, at school, at church, etc. part of the incentive this year includes an Autograph book.

Each student will receive one of these booklets to capture autographs of the people they play for. 

Here's a look at a page in the autograph book.  This is where a student accumulates signatures or autographs as they perform for others.  There are a few rules that go along with this though!  They can only collect an autograph from a family member once a month and can only get one signature per performance opportunity!  All of this is outlined in their instruction book.

You will also notice on the board, there are three small tickets under the large ticket in the top left corner.  These tickets are used to give a student a "free" pass for a week they may struggle to get their praticing in.  They are allow three for the year and each time they use one, I will mark one off on their individual board.

Group lessons become easy to plan with this program because each of the areas on the gameboard will also be the outline for the group lessons.  We will work on rhythm, note ID, theory, technique, and learn about composers and how to perform.  At each group lesson, I will pull out a ticket or two from the popcorn bucket and if the student attends the group lesson and their name is drawn, they will be able to pick from a bucket of prizes.

Of course, all of this is highlighted at our spring recital where we will attend "The Academy Awards" !  There will be lots of decorations, glamour, performances and of course, an Oscar or two!  If you are interested in using this program in your studio this year, you can find all the printables on my website here.  There is an individual game board, instruction booklet (printed on the front and back side of two pages), the autograph book and tickets you can use if you would rather not purchase them.   


Jennifer Foxx said...

One of my favorite recitals years ago was my "You're a Star" recital and that year I also did a "You're a Star" incentive theme to tie it all together. But I REALLY like your star incentive ideas on this one. I'll have to remember that for the future. Thanks for sharing! :)

Melody Payne said...

This looks like so much fun! If I hadn't already started my sight-reading program for this semester (, I definitely would use yours! I like that it covers several areas of musicianship throughout the entire year leading up to the recital. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

Becky Baker said...

This looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing your creativity!

Joanne said...

What a fantastic program! It shows an huge amount of work and effort on your part. I know your students will love it. Your creativity is amazing.

Sheryl said...

Thank you all so much. You are so sweet and encouraging. There are so many amazing teachers out there and it's great when we can all share with each other! I hope you all have a fantastic year!

Anonymous said...

Sheryl, I loved this incentive program description. Would you consider doing a follow-up post describing how it all turned out, how you might tweak it, etc?

Unknown said...

Wow, Sheryl! I just discovered your blog on Pinterest when I was pinning private lesson ideas, and I am so inspired by your thoughtfulness, creativity, and time investment into making your classes so special!!! I was particularly looking for a practice incentive program for the year, so I am going to try to tweak this for the weekly private lesson concept. Thank you again!!
Anna Everhart

Sheryl said...

Hi Anna,

My students LOVED this incentive so I'm sure your's will too! Have fun!!

Anonymous said...

Sheryl...I love your incentive program A Star is Born! However, when I clicked on the link provided in order to download your materials the link no longer works. Where can I get these materials?


Unknown said...

I LOVE this idea! Could you please tell me where to find your printable materials?

Thank you!

Unknown said...

Hi Sheryl, Thanks so much for all the work you put into your blog! I am planning on using the materials for "A Star is Born". It will be the first time I have tried having students "move" on a collective game board, as you are right about students liking the comparison aspect. My studio, however, is relatively large (25) and I am concerned about a big glob of student pieces in one area (not even sure I can get them all positioned where it would be clear as to where they are). I realize it won't stay this way, but do you have suggestions on how to perhaps get around this? I am considering having two game boards, one for older students and one for younger to cut down on the number of players on each one. I welcome any advice on this logistical problem.
Do you happen to remember how long you spent on completing a big star project (approx)?
Thanks again,