Our summer theme is: ICE CREAM! Not the most original perhaps, but one that is fun and definitely summery. There are two different contests that my students will take part in.
1) Building their own ice cream cone: For every 100 minutes of practice a scoop of ice cream will be added to their cone. The goal is, of course, to have the tallest cone.
2) Make your own ice cream sundae: Each student starts with a sundae of plain vanilla ice cream and will add toppings based on their number of practice days (sprinkles) and for each piece of music they memorize (cherries).
At the end of the summer we'll have a studio-wide ice cream party with games and prizes to celebrate.
What's the point of this contest? I know that some teachers don't believe in tracking practice days and times for fear that this takes away from a focus on quality, but with a studio of primarily elementary/early intermediate students I tend to feel that this emphasis is what they need- an approach and a contest that will reward them for consistent effort and their success at establishing a practice routine in their early years of lessons. I find that this is especially helpful over the summer when the normal school-year routine isn't there to help maintain a more consistent discipline.
As I put the finishing touches on this practice contest, I'd love to hear your feedback. Do you have any ideas for small improvements I could make? Are your students participating in any kind of practice contests over the summer? Please share what you'll be up to with your studio!