The Badges Challenge

One of the new activities students took part in last year was a badges challenge.  Students worked hard in lessons to collect a variety of lesson-related badges.  Students could earn badges for playing scales in lessons, practicing, learning music, and taking part in studio events.  Taking part in this activity was a great way for students to appreciate all the hard work they’d done in lessons.

The full list of badges is a few pages long, but here’s a very small sampling of badges:Examples of various badges

At the end of each term, students also had the opportunity to design their own badge.  I asked students to make a badge about something they thought they’d done a great job at in lessons.  It was great hearing students talk about what they were proud of!

Students collected their badges on a sheet of construction paper all year, which they got to take home in June to show off.  Here’s part of one student’s sheet of badges:

Badges example

Practicing Badges

This year in the studio, students are collecting badges for the hard work they’re doing practicing and preparing music.  Badges can be earned through a variety of means.  Some badges come from attending studio events, others from learning songs in their method book, practicing ear training, beating a high score in an educational music game, etc.  There are many badges for students to try and acquire.

For the last week of lessons before the end of term, students will be invited to make their own badge – this badge will be to celebrate something they think they have done well this term.

There are a few tricky ones that students can attempt to achieve if they are feeling ambitious.  For example, the gold level practicing badge is achieved by a student practicing 50 days in a row.  The bronze level practicing badge is given out for practicing 14 days in a row, and the silver level for 25 days in a row.  I can provide a calendar to track if students are interested in trying to achieve this badge.

Piano lesson badges

Students will continue collecting these through the new year, and will be able to take their sheets home in June.  If you would like to see all the badges you child has earned, pop into the studio and take a look!  I also have a full list of all badges available – parents are welcome to stop by during the lesson and take a look at this list.

It takes a lot of hard work and practice to learn to play the piano or clarinet!  These badges are a great way of celebrating all the different accomplishments students achieve during their lessons.  I’m looking forward to seeing all the badges students achieve this year!

Brainy’s Practicing Challenge

Starting in November, Students had to complete a practicing challenge.  The mascot of our challenge was Brainy the octopus.  As such, students were given one challenge a week.  During the week, they had to complete this challenge 8 times.  Challenges included: playing a piece 8 times, doing 8 pages of theory, and sight reading 8 pieces.  For each week students completed this challenge, they earned a penny.

Brainy the Octopus

This is brainy collecting the pennies.

Students were given 3 challenges each, and reported their results at the end of the week.  Over the course of the challenge, students earned 29 pennies.  At the end of the challenge, the pennies were exchanged for loonies at the Stuffie Bank, meaning Brainy had 29 dollars to donate to the food bank.

Brainy says thanks!

Brainy’s proud of everyone who tried their best to complete their challenges!

Brainy took photos of his entire shopping trip.  Results were announced at our Christmas Recital on December the 19th, where students also got to see photos from Brainy’s shopping trip.  (If you’d like to see the entire trip, all the photos have been uploaded to the studio’s Facebook Page.)

“Take Chances. Make Mistakes. Get Messy!”

Can you guess who said this quote? It was a character in one of my favorite series of books: The Magic School Bus. I can still hear Mrs. Frizzle’s, from the cartoon, saying these words. Mrs. Frizzle’s advice is as good for music students as it was for her class.

Take chances.   Musicians have to take lots of chances. A complete list would be very long! Performing, playing from memory, sight reading, duet playing are all common ways of taking chances. The great thing is, musicians of all ages have other kinds of chances, too. We have the chance to connect with others by sharing  our music with our families and friends or even strangers.  Music is a chance to connect with the community.

Make Mistakes. Mistakes happen. Everyone makes mistakes, even in performances. The best mistake is one that we can hear. If students recognize their mistakes, then they are one step closer to fixing them. Being able to identify and fix trouble spots is an important skill. It’s always okay to make mistakes, especially if we can learn something from them.   Mistakes are experiments, and experiments teach us about the world.

Get messy! Getting messy is important to practice and discovery. Perhaps one student’s way of getting messy is to improvise. Another might like to try playing by ear. Playing duets, performing for others, composing… there are so many great ways to ‘get messy’ as a music student. All of it is part of the fun!  Students who get messy in these ways are showing their enthusiasm for the instrument, and learning new skills in the process.

The Magic School Bus is a wonderful series because it was so much fun.  Mrs. Frizzle’s words reflect the enjoyment that can be found in the learning process.