Looking Back on My Music Student Incentive Program

Pets make good studio mascots. Maestro is the inspiration of my student incentive program. Photo by R-M Arca. This past school year, I made some changes to my student incentive program. Then, to wrap up the year, I decided to throw a Top Dog Party which was open to all students. It's a busy time of year, so there was a small turnout. However, everyone who came had a great time.

Over snacks, four of my students and I chatted about the recent flooding in Southern Alberta. The three who had never been to the Calgary Stampede were concerned that the event would be cancelled due to the flooding.

My other student and I took turns telling them about what they can see at the Stampede. I also showed them some photos and video clips.

Then, it was time to get to business. Maestro and I proceeded to award the Top Dog prizes for the following:

  • Most Gigs: Winning student performed 43 times (at least, that's the number of recorded performances)
  • Technique Savvy: Two sisters tied at knowing and mastering 43 technical elements (e.g. scales, chords, arpeggios, progressions)
  • Music Mastery & Music Maestro: One student mastered 40 songs and completed 18 extra projects and tasks (e.g. recital helper, worked ahead, improvised and/or composed)

Each student received a jumbo cute cat or dog mug.

I was so stumped about the Top Dog prizes. But when I saw this cute pet mug set, I couldn't resist. Photo by R-M Arca.

We wrapped up by playing several rounds of Scattergories. Now, you may ask why we didn't play Music Bingo, charades or another music game. My students were curious about the game, plain and simple.

In the end, it wound up being the perfect choice. By showing them to think outside the box with vocabulary,  perhaps that showed them that they can do that in other areas too, like music.

How successful was the 2013 incentive program? Overall, I'd say fairly successful - for those that used it. Not everyone participated and several forgot or misplaced their Gig Card and/or Progress Card.

In fact, I nearly had a five way tie for Music Maestro! Yes, I had that many students who showed initiative by doing something a little extra with their music.

Several of my students performed between 20 - 40 times. I don't recall performing that often when I was their age, so kudos to them!

Ditto with my Technique Savvy Sisters. Not surprisingly, these two were also the most prepared for their piano examination earlier this month.

My last Top Dog is a beginner student. With him snagging two titles, I'd say that he's got a pretty solid foundation of practicing. His progress has been steady, which I attribute to to the discipline he gets through homeschooling and martial arts.

If anything, I'll make some minor tweaks to the program. I'll ask for some feedback when the students come for their summer flex and/or group class.

And that's a wrap! Top Dogs is done for the year. Photo by R-M Arca.