Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer 2011 Practice Incentive Preview!

I'm putting the finishing touches on my practice contest for this summer, and I can't wait to see what kind of reactions I get from my students. Things won't really take shape until the first week of lessons, but just for a sneak preview here's the theme and how my students will be competing over the summer months.

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!


  1. I love the tallest ice cream cone contest! I've been trying to solidify my own plans for my summer incentive program and this will be a great addition. I'm going to do a contest similar to the ice cream party checklist on my blog that I've done in the past (Motivation and Piano Parties), but this will be the perfect addition to change it up a bit. Thanks for giving me a timely idea.

  2. Made my ice-cream cone chart. Thank-you so much for the idea. How are your students reacting to the idea?

  3. Heidi- You're very welcome :) I'm so glad you liked the idea. Be sure to keep me posted on how it works for your studio.

    BusyB- YAY! :) Sounds like you're ready to go! Let me know how your students like the idea. I haven't started my summer term yet so I haven't had a chance to see how my students react, but I'll be sure to post about it once lessons start back up.

    More details to come :)

  4. This is a great Idea! I will try this out next year. I'm glad to see your blog. I just got started!

  5. Brayden- thanks so much for your comment. Blogging is such a great way to get to know music teachers from all over the world and share ideas. I'm going to check your blog out now...

  6. Just an update. This was the first week to show how many minutes my students practiced. Some blew it off, but a few came with recorded minutes and expectations. One little girl happened to be wearing a shirt with a three scoop ice-cream cone. Catch her picture at
    Thanks, Sarah.