After looking at numerous incentive programs, and rejecting many because they’re more complicated than I’d like them to be, I’ve decided to use Jennifer Fink’s This is Your Brain… on Music! (Pianimation)
I like this because : (1) It’s easy. It’s as easy as printing 2 pages and inserting them in the student’s binder. (2) It involves setting goals in a number of specific areas : sightreading targets, rhythm challenges, anytime/anyplace pieces (My Top 5 List), technique goals. (3) It’s easily adaptable for each student depending on the level. (4) Exam requirements, for those already in the graded system, can be incorporated. Corresponding technical requirements from method books could be included and enhanced. (5) My students are used to getting prizes from the Treasure Box periodically. Achieving each of the 7 overall goals will result in along-the-way rewards.
There has been much research and publicity in recent years about the brain and music. Most parents bring it up in conversation. (Digression: I bristle when they say they want their kids to do music so that they will be better in math. Is that the only reason to study music?) This will tie in nicely with information about the development of the brain.
I won’t use this for first-years – and I have a number of them again this year. I also found that junior high (beginning grade 7) students are too old, or at least they think they’re too old. It’s probably part of our local school system culture that groups students K-6/7-9/10-12. Once kids reach junior high, they are SOOO not in elementary school any more.
Jennifer has a couple of posts detailing her plans for this program. My own modification will be the absence of the cranium coins part, but any studio with more students at the elementary/intermediate level would be enlivened by this, too, I’m sure.
Check out Jennifer’s posts for more details, a couple of options for the printable brain pages, and her links to more resources.