Filling them with confidence

We love hearing about how the 40 piece challenge is changing your teaching and your students!

Carol from Victoria writes:

We started earlier this year and everyone is loving it.

It is filling them with confidence and helping them with sightreading amongst other things.

I am keeping track of what and how many pieces they play by writing down the title and adding a sticker to the page for each tune accomplished. I have also taken the liberty of giving them an even greater incentive by offering them a small trophy at the end of the year, plus something extra for the student who learns the most pieces.

I wonder how many other teachers are discovering a newfound confidence in their students?

Result – improved skill and coordination!

A first term review from one of our Melbourne participants: 

Well nearly the end of term and some of the kids are right on target! That doesn’t mean that the others can’t catch up!

Who knows what can happen down the track?

It’s just wonderful observing the development in some of them. One girl in particular, is highly creative and has an innate sense for structure and harmony at a tender age! I count her original pieces as well.

Others are busy tackling new challenges and together we work out ways to deal with them. Result – improved skill and co-ordination!

Josie Thomas

Piano Teacher…what they’re saying

What they’re saying…
I already have a student on 15 pieces in three weeks. She has been learning in the past one piece a fortnight and uses piano adventures and grade 1 AMEB Other students working hard and the learning output has doubled. I have awards for the first to 15, 20, 30 and 40 with names up on the wall. They are eating it up!
Deanne Scott Calamvale

Just letting you know I am up for the 40 piece challenge next year, and really excited about implementing it with my students!

I really don’t think there is going to be an issue for most of my students. I do need to push some of the transfer students out of their comfort zones, but most of them have accepted the challenge, especially when I explained how it is going to work. Most of the students who started learning this year have finished 2 sets of books and are well into their 3rd set – this equates to more than 80 pieces each. Not a bad effort, and they were very proud of themselves when I pointed that out to them and have no qualms with the challenge.
The kids have the 40 piece challenge, do you know what that means for me? I currently have 65 students ….. 65 x 40 = 2600. That is a lot of music …. what have I got myself in for?

I really love the idea of 40 pieces challenge, so we will give it a go.
I have always been getting my students to learn extra pieces, but not that many! Giving them easier pieces than what their exam level is will definitely be more fun and give them real satisfaction. I was quite excited about this challenge and started to look for some fun repertoire to even improve some technical points.

I only have a few students, but all are keen to give it a go and some have started already (even with the Christmas carols). It is also great to start now, after they have done their exams and the school holidays are coming up ( although we will start to count them in 2013).

I would like to reister for the 40 piece challenge you have advertised in your last magazine. I already do a similar project with my students now and I have noticed a huge improvement in the student’s sightreading and enthusiasm for learning more pieces.
To make the challenge more official will hopefully mean greater committment from my students.
Tracy Meyn Cre8tive Kidz Pty Ltd

I’m very interested in this idea-it’s such a good one, I can’t think why I didn’t think of it myself years ago. I’ll bet everyone says that! I’ve spoken to the Head of Music here at school and he’s keen for all piano teachers to be involved so I’ll keep you in touch with how it goes.

I have been speaking to my students about the 40 piece challenge and they are all excited for it! I like the idea of it because I might actually make use of some the books I have here that never get used. I think it might also motivate a few of the stragglers who are driving me nuts. It is interesting to note the ones who struggle the most are the ones who have come from other teachers and whose reading skills are not so strong. Obviously they are the ones who will most benefit from doing this kind of thing.

We have over 60 students and they are all going for the challenge, Thanks for the great motivational idea!

We’re going to do the 40 piece challenge. I’m going to let the students start on the holidays to encourage holiday practice:)

The Tim Topham article was inspiring and I’ve decided to take up the 40 pieces challenge for myself, and my students.
I’ll let you know how it goes.

Ready to challenge my students.

I have been challenging my students in 2012 to a 50 page challenge. Already 20 students have completed this and 3 of those have also completed 100 page challenge and working on their 150page.
It is a great idea and works extremely well.

At my studios we had introduced this challenge to a few students this year. Some have really taken to it, others petered out early and thought it all too hard to go on!
Would like to really make it a big part of next year.
Saw the ad in Piano magazine so thought I would give you a shout!

Well, this is some challenge! As I am asking my students to do this, I will also put myself out there and see just how much effort is required!
Not sure how many will actually take on the challenge (especially as I has mostly young pupils in the earlier stages)…but it is worth a try.


Not only practicing but they are practicing properly!

WOW! Just had this update from challenge teacher Lorraine. I am sure you will be just as impressed as I am – especially love the last line. Thanks for sharing, Lorraine.

Keep those stories coming everyone!

Just to update you that I have about 95% of my students who has committed in trying out the challenge. Most of my students that hardly practice in the past now come to lesson prepared and are enjoying playing their instrument more. They are amazed at how far they can go with putting that extra effort in their practice which makes them practice even more. They are not only practicing but they are practicing properly. All of my student’s parents are on board of this challenge and acknowledge the tremendous change in their child’s playing.

Not only has their sight reading improved but they got better results in the exams…

Some more feedback about how a studio challenge has already been working for one NSW teacher. Many thanks to Anne for sharing her story:

Just letting you know that I set my students the 30 pieces challenge last year.

I chose 30 pieces because there are about 40 lessons in a year and students or myself might be absent for 2 or 3 of those lessons so I thought I could set the 30 pieces challenge with ticking about 1 piece a week..

I used beginner method books as the repertoire.

All my students who are doing AMEB exams (prelim to grade 6 only as I only teach to grade 6) were set the challenge.

If it got close to the end of the 12 months and they were making slow progress through the pieces I would just get them an easier book so they could make the 30 pieces.

Every one of the students that I set the challenge to made the 30 pieces.

The year ended in October when my piano students concert is held.  As a reward for meeting the challenge I gave each of them a trophy with their name on it.  The trophies cost me $9 and the engraving cost $3 so I was happy to fund this.  The students were very proud to receive their trophies.

I started the 30 pieces challenge again in October last year and the students are working towards it again this year.

Not only has their sight reading improved but they got better results in the exams with 5 students getting A+

Anne – NSW

The challenge goes Global…well to Canada anyway!

A big welcome to the following teachers who have taken up the challenge! We’re LOVING hearing how you are running the challenge in your studio and hearing how your students are rising to the challenge.

Elizabeth in Canada!

Gabby, Richmond, VIC

Brenda, Loganholme QLD

Jenny, Magnetic Island QLD

Donna, Gippsland VIC

Janice, Geelong VIC

Elizabeth, Kallister VIC

Helen, Clifton Hill VIC

Alice, Freshwater NSW

Chrissa, Kingaroy QLD

Sarah, NSW

Ming, Hervey Bay QLD

Fab, Point Cook VIC

Sheila, Wandana Heights VIC

Di Burt, Banksia Beach QLD

Michelle Randall, Abbotsford NSW

Lyn, Buderim QLD

Josie Thomas, VIC

Lynda, Pleystowe QLD

Pik, Vermont South VIC

Candy, VIC

Claire, Cleveland QLD


Challenge accepted!

Here’s a great idea from WA Challenge participant Tracy Meyn: Cre8tive Kidz Pty Ltd:

I have already begun planning for the challenge and have designed punch cards similar to ‘coffee cards’ progressing through different levels. Students cards will be punched for each piece completed with ten places to punch on each card.

While Deanne Scott’s students are well on their way. 4 of her students have already learned 20 pieces since beginning the challenge and another 5 have learned 15 pieces!