Bead Chains

DSC_0383Last year I ran a year-long incentive called the Wall of Wow, in which students displayed the pieces they had learned on the back of the studio closet door. You can read more about it here, and my evaluation of how it went here. It amazed me how well a little incentive like this built community within the studio and motivated the students to learn.

So I knew I wanted to do something like that again this year. Once again, Pinterest to the rescue. 🙂 I ran across this gem of an idea from Hilton Music Studio and decided to tweak it a little bit to fit my goals.

DSC_0384I decided to award a bead for each piece learned, or in the case of more advanced students, a bead for each page learned. I also award one bead if the practice goal is met for the week. A bead is also given if the student practices and learns the scale, chords and arpeggio assigned for the week.
IMG_0390So far the bead chains have been a huge hit with both girls and boys. The girl featured in the picture above said at her last lesson “I wish I could come twice a week!”. One parent who had to cancel a lesson for medical reasons reported that her kids were very disappointed to miss the lesson. I have noticed a general rise in practicing throughout the week. Yay!

While I try to minimize competition between students as much as possible, the chains provide motivation to earn beads since they are displayed for everyone to see. The students enjoy creating patterns with their choices of beads.

My goal in teaching is to make learning enjoyable for each student. These bead chains have been a useful tool in rewarding the learning that is taking place in a fun and engaging way.

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Piano Wall Art

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About six months ago I was with my hubby at a church that was selling a few things on craigslist. As he was picking through the sound equipment, I was on the sidelines looking through their “keep” pile. On the counter was sitting the action from an old spinet piano. I couldn’t keep my eyes off it and asked what was to become of it. They said several people already had dibs on it. Well, ever since that day I’ve been thinking of that action and how I could get my hands on an old piano.

Fast forward six months – we’ve been rearranging and getting rid of some old furniture, so we borrowed a friend’s trailer. It has been sitting in our driveway as we load up things to take to the dump, and my mind went back to that action I saw at the church. “Now’s the time!” I thought. So I did a quick search on craigslist and found a piano for sale for $50.

Once we got that old piano loaded up and brought home, we had to figure out how to get out all those old bolts and nails to pull the action out. It wasn’t easy, but my husband figured out the system and also how to hang it on the wall.

I am thrilled with the result. It has been really fun to show to my students and to demonstrate how the key moves the hammer which in turn hits the string.

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