Fun Practice Incentive!

Climbing the Ladder to Success!

Each year I develop a unique practice incentive for my studio. I spend the month of August, among other things, working out the details of the incentive so that we’re ready to roll when I start teaching again in September. While a structured incentive program isn’t the sure-fire cure for lack of practicing, I have found it to be incredibly motivational to many of my students. It gives them a goal to shoot for and keeps them enthusiastic about progressing in their musical abilities. Plus, I love having something new to do each year! It helps keep me enthusiastic! 🙂

Over the years, I’ve had a number of people request that I make these practice incentive programs available for purchase, so I’ve decided to give it a try. Last year’s practice incentive – Climbing the Ladder to Success – was one of my students’ favorites, so I’ve compiled all of my materials into one packet that will be easy to implement in any music studio.

Here’s a brief overview of the Climbing the Ladder to Success Practice Incentive Packet (this is what I included in my summer newsletter last year to announce the new practice incentive for the year):


* A ladder with ten rungs is displayed on the studio wall.
* For every ten pieces a student learns, they will advance to the next rung of the ladder.
* In order to qualify, each piece must be played excellently: note and rhythm accuracy, continuity, dynamics, articulation, phrasing, balance, voicing, etc. as appropriate for the student’s level of ability.
* Out of the ten pieces, at least two must be memorized.
* Out of the ten pieces, up to one is allowed to be an original composition.
* Out of the ten pieces, up to one is allowed to be a lead line/fake book arrangement.
* Out of the ten pieces, up to two are allowed to be an improvised hymn accompaniment.
* Out of the ten pieces, the student may select two to three to be recorded and burned onto a CD.


All of this practicing, perfecting and recording experience will pay off next May when students have the opportunity to take a trip with me to a professional recording studio! In order to be part of the group that is invited to participate in this special event, each student will have to demonstrate a commitment to work diligently throughout the year. To measure this in a tangible way, students will have the opportunity to earn DILIGENCE DOLLARS (DD) at each lesson. (see below for specific ways to earn DD.) It will cost each student $250 DD to participate in the recording studio trip. DD will be tracked each week on the assignment page in a checkbook register format (this way no one has to worry about losing anything!).
Once at the recording studio, each student may play and record one piece of their choosing. These will then be compiled and burned onto a CD. Each student will receive their own copy of the CD.


Students may earn DILIGENCE DOLLARS each week at their lesson as indicated below:
1. All books present at the lesson=$1
2. Practice record filled out and signed=$1
3. Each assignment from the previous week that is completed=$1
4. Practicing at least 5 days in one week=$1
5. Practicing all 7 days in one week=$4
6. Learning a new piece on your own and playing it excellently=$3
7. Participating in a group class, recital, festival or other qualifying music event=$5

The details of the practice incentive are easy to adapt to each studio. I’ve included in my packet the wall display materials and all the custom designed pages that were compiled into each student’s Assignment Book so that they could track their progress from week to week. The packet includes 13 files and 2 pictures and is available for immediate download following payment. Purchase of the packet includes the right to make as many copies of each document as you need for your studio. The total cost of the packet is $12. This is the first time I’ve tried this and I’ve attempted to include everything necessary so that individual teachers have a ready-made, practice-inspiring program that can be implemented in their studios. I am more than happy to offer additional support or help in any way I can to make this program a success in your studio. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Climbing the Ladder to Success Practice Incentive Packet

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