Star Charts

At the beginning of the school year, I introduced a new sticker chart system to reward my young students for their hard work.  Each week, students have an opportunity to earn stars by following instructions on their practice sheets, completing theory games, or by going above and beyond on their assignments.  So far, the chart system has been a huge hit! My students have been working extra hard to earn their stars, and a few have already been awarded the coveted “three-star” prize.  Now, I’ll do a happy dance for that any day! 🙂

Star Opportunity #1

1. Brought practice sheet to the lesson.

2. Checked off one or more practice days.

3. Correctly performed one or more prep-steps picked at random from practice sheet.

Star Opportunity #2

1. Completed weekly Tonic Tutor assignment.

2. Completed any additional homework assignments.

Star Opportunity #3

1. Exceeded expectations by a significant amount.

2. Teacher was shrieking with delight.

3. We all jumped up and started dancing.





How to be an A+ Student from the Start- Part 2

Are you taking lessons for the first time? Resuming lessons after a hiatus? Getting ready to switch over from another studio? In this blog series, I’ll discuss some tips and tricks to help you be successful right from the start!

Go to lessons even if you haven’t practiced.

Why: If you’ve ever taken lessons before, then you’re probably familiar with this scenario:

You love piano music and enjoy playing but your practice record tells a very different story. The week flies by and before you know it, it’s time to go to your lesson again. You’ve had no time to prepare, so you rack your brain for a solution. You could skip the lesson and try to do better next week, but what if you still can’t break through your practice rut? You’ve always had a passion for music, but your present lack of motivation makes you wonder if you’re cut out to be a musician after all. Maybe–gasp!–you even consider quitting lessons!

If you find yourself unmotivated or routinely skipping practice, then seeing your teacher is more important than ever! In most cases, students who don’t practice nevertheless continue to show a high level of interest in music making. As your teacher, I’d be doing you a huge disservice if I let you give up on something you love!

How: Learning to play piano can be great fun but it also takes work. Moreover, this work is often very isolating. Whatever your reasons for not practicing, they’re much easier to overcome when you have a teacher on your side. Chances are, whatever struggle you’re working through is one I’ve encountered before too. While it may be tempting to skip lessons, the best thing you can do is come to me for help.

Since you’re on your own for the other 167 hours of the week, start embracing your inner teacher. Consider how Teacher-You might address another student’s lack of practice. Would you offer an extrinsic reward, make a checklist, or set a practice timer? Would you respond with kindness and encouragement or discipline and tough love? Whatever the reasons for your practice rut, putting yourself in the teacher’s role can help you gain perspective on the situation and propel you into problem-solving mode!

How to Be an A+ Student From the Start- Part 1