US Piano Teacher, Crystal from Wilton, Iowa writes:
I started the 40 piece challenge in September after our summer recital. It’s been a hit with my students for lots of reasons! They like that they can accomplish something fairly quickly. They get introduced to lots of music. And since we are writing all their titles and composers down, they can see their progress in writing!
I like the program for additional reasons like I can introduce an easy version of a classic that they would otherwise show no interest. I see excitement when they add another song to their list. And I think it emphasizes the importance of reaching for a goal. The hidden success is that they are playing more pieces and developing more confidence.
I am half way through the year. I will probably have all level certificates come September. It will be an exciting accomplishment!
How is the challenge going in your studio this year?
2015 Certificates are now available to download here.
We love how teachers around the world are taking the idea of the 40 Piece Challenge and making it their own!
Sydney Piano Teacher, Samantha Coates writes about how the 40 Piece Challenge has morphed for her into the 40-Thing Challenge.
Samantha explores the question of what constitutes a piece and how to avoid neglecting important things like composition, improvisation, general knowledge, aural skills, technical work, transposition and theory in favour of learning as many pieces as possible.
You can read all about how Samantha is structuring the challenge in her studio by clicking here.
Samantha will be presenting at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in July in Melbourne. Not to be missed!
Challenge teacher Rebecca has involved her local community in helping to support and motivate her 40 Piece Challenge students.
Rebecca uses the excellent Coffee Card idea and places a sticker on the students card for each piece learned.
When her students finish 10 pieces they can redeem a free hot-chocolate or ice-cream at her local café. The café provides this free of charge (wow!!!) and it allows the student a chance to celebrate their achievement with their parents.
I wonder how could you could involve other local businesses in your studio 40 Piece Challenge?
Some other little reward ideas to help motivate students along the way…
Lip Balm Treble Clef: VWS012 Keyboard: VWS014
And something for your adult students!
Piano Teacher Christina, from Rockhampton sent through a photo of her 40 Piece Challenge wall with this message:
“I wanted to share with you the bit of fun I’m having with my students at the school I teach at.
Our room has 2 walls carpeted for acoustics, so I thought I’d use this to my advantage and design this playing board for the students.
Each student has been given a little character to decorate which is their playing piece for the year.
I have some very creative students!
We are very excited about the challenge and I have some keen beginners who have already moved up the board.”
Thanks, Christina. We look forward to seeing how your students progress.
We love hearing all the positive feedback about the challenge. Sharon from Victoria writes:
“The 40 Piece Challenge is going fantastic in my studio. In 30 years, I’ve never had so many motivated students. It’s just wonderful. I’ve been able to shift the intense exam focus (by many of my kids’ parents) to what’s really important.
The kids are loving it and they’re already better sight readers and so much more confident.
This Taylor Swift book is fantastic!! Two thirds of my students are primary aged children and it’s a real winner with the girls. It’s great sight reading as it’s simply set out and has no words to distract the reader.”
You can order this book from your local music store now! Just quote the ordering code: 109369
Pieces are about a Preliminary level, and arranged really well so that they sound like the original.
We heard from a lovely piano teacher from WA today, who writes about the challenge:
“I did venture into the 40-piece challenge last year (read about it on one of Tim Topham’s blogs) – well, I gave my students a choice of 20 or 30 or 40 pieces – and found there was quite an even spread amongst them of which challenge they undertook (though I did have one little lad who opted for the 20 piece challenge but completed that in 2 1/2 terms and then asked me for another challenge sheet!!)
I asked parents to give their children a little treat/reward at 10, 20, 30 and 40 pieces and asked the kids to make sure they reminded their parents!!”
Irene – WA
Teachers, to encourage suitable musical “rewards” to be given by parents to students, why not assist with a list of repertoire suggestions. Ensure the repertoire is easy enough so that the student and parent achieve instant musical gratification when the book is gifted.
For example, if a child has just completed their 3rd Lesson Book in a series (for example Level 3 of the Hal Leonard Student Piano Library)
suggest one of the books from the correlated series, perhaps a Broadway or Popular Collection. Allowing the parent to choose gives them some ownership or the idea and allows them to hear the music that they want to hear in the home.