The Ladder of Awards

Last year, the Upbeat Book Club read the book “The Dynamic Music Studio” by Philip Johnson. It was a great read and I highly recommend every teacher read it.

Johnson proposes that teachers find creative ways to think outside the box. I took his suggestion literally. Using many of the ideas he suggested, I created a Ladder of Awards for my students to participate during this past musical year. I was not quite sure how well this concept would be received.

One of my teens, Nathaniel, rose to the challenge. Ever motivated, Nathaniel loved the idea of achieving various levels of mastery in the studio. Nathaniel practiced miles of scales, listened to numerous pieces and completed research on a composer, “boot camped” 2 of his pieces and learned the Circle of 5ths and corresponding key signatures backwards and forwards. For his final “exam,” Nathaniel had to draw the Circle of 5th (and correctly label it) along with identify key signatures in 50 random pieces. I’m happy to announce that he passed with flying colors.

For his hard work, as a final reward, Nathaniel received an engraved trophy and a $25 gift certificate to the store of his choice. He’s already working on the Ladder of Awards for ┬ánext year!

Way to go, Nathaniel!

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