Brain Goals

This is your Brain… on Music.  Our studio incentive program for this year is off to a fine (well, slow – my fault) start this year. I have FINALLY got the pages in everyone’s binder. I printed this on 2 sheets of cardstock and inserted them in page protectors, with concrete goals for each section.

The big question at the beginning of the year was what students could do to get prizes (junk from the dollar store). Big question on their part, not mine. Seems I’ve trained them that way. So I decided to give them a star for every small goal and once there are 5 in one section, they get to delve into the Treasure Box.

Most of the goals are things we’ll take care of in lessons or classes – they’ll end up being covered in the weekly assignments. The goals I’ve decided on for each section:

Technique Patterns: tied to the exam requirements for those in the graded books; for those in the method books – either all the major and minor pentascales, or the 2-octave major scales starting on white notes (and a few minors), along with the triads and hand-over-hand arpeggios for the same keys.

Rhythm packets: mostly worksheets from  Wendy Stevens’ vast resources.

Sight-reading goals: to be done at the lesson; I’ve said 25-30 pieces to allow for one a week throughout the year. I figure it counts if they adequately read through a brand new piece that is just being assigned.

How FULL can you stuff your brain? We’ll fill out My Top 5 List some time in spring.

Listening goals: I really want the students from a young age to listen to some classical music. I wrote down a goal of listening to 3 different movements from Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns). We’ll listen to one when we have Performance Classes next week, then they can listen to 2 more on their own.

Another way to get a star in this section is to listen attentively in the classes (pure bribery). Included in this section – for the youngest students – being able to identify major and minor chords and scales and do some simple playbacks; for students in the grades – the required ear tests for their level.

Creative project: this is where it can get fun. I’m leaving it to the students to decide – suggestions on the printed sheet are Youtube video, composer bio, composition, art project or creating your own project. The fun part is seeing what sparks each student. One student was so excited she already did her project – which is now hanging in the studio. This is what it’s all about.

This incentive is the creation of Jennifer Fink at Pianimation.

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About LaDona's Music Studio

Musician, pianist, teacher, blogger.
This entry was posted in Inspirational, Method Books, Piano pedagogy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Brain Goals

  1. Erica Sipes says:

    I love this, LaDona! Can I come study with you?

    What a fun, clever way to keep track of all that your students will be doing and it’s such a clear way to demonstrate all the different functions in our brain that are used when playing or listening to music.

    Enjoy working on your students’ brains. I look forward to hearing more about it.


    • Laughing. Unfortunately, Erica, I am completely booked!
      I need easy incentive programs – I’m not into all the craft stuff. I think the program can certainly overtake the actual learning and playing. Thanks so much for commenting.

  2. Joe Head says:

    There is a wonderful recording of Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” done by the late Leonard Bernstein, as a part of his “Young People’s Concert series.” He takes the time to introduce and describe each of the animal movements[?], mentioning the soloists for each selection by name. They were all young musicians specifically chosen because of their age.

  3. Pingback: The Aquarium | LaDona's Music Studio

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