I recently received an email from a music teacher friend asking for suggestions for student awards so I thought I’d share my response here in case anyone else is in need of these ideas.
In my studio I try to identify at least one unique gift that each student brings to their piano studies and make a big deal about it at our annual concert. There is nothing better than seeing how this small gesture boosts my students’ confidence and encourages their parents. While the students bask in their newly discovered area of expertise they also take notice of what other students received recognition for. I am sometimes amazed at how months after the event a student will ask if they now qualify to receive an award that was given to someone else. Who knew that they were secretly striving to attain that expertise status?
So, here are some awards I have used in the past:
Best Ears (for the student who can easily pick out songs by ear)
Fastest Fingers (for the student who is notorious for playing too fast! I conveniently leave this description out)
Practice Master (always exhibits good practice habits)
Musicianship (I use this for the student who may struggle with music learning but never gives up and maintains a good attitude)
Best New Artist (for new students)
Songwriter of the Year
Learning the Most Songs
Sight Reader of the Year
Funk Master, Pop Master, Gospel Master, Jazz Master, Blues Master, Classical Master (for the student who excels in a particular genre)
The list can go on indefinitely. The point is to carefully look for the treasure that each student holds and tell everybody about it! Not every student will be a great piano player, but every student is the best at something as it relates to their musical training. It’s up to us as teachers to find it and build on it!
By the way, I don’t give out a certificate for these awards. LaDona of LaDona’s Music Studio has written an excellent post that mentions this point. Check it out here. A small gift from the dollar store usually works well.
Do you have any great awards you give out to piano students? Share them in a comment below!