In the last couple of months of the year I like to give my students a challenge to keep them focused and motivated. It needs to be easy to setup, easy to keep track of, and easy to complete! One of my favourites is the Shooting Star Musical Challenge which my students also love.
I was inspired after reading a post on this blog for book lovers and knew there had to be a way to use origami stars with my students. I decided to write a musical challenge on each star for students to open at their weekly lessons, with the goal of completing one task every week.
Following these instructions, I made enough stars for each of my students for the final term. Full disclosure: it took a couple of hours to get through them all, although I listened to podcasts to keep myself entertained!
Here are some of the challenges if you’d like to do something similar in your studio:
- Compose your own song
- Learn a new scale
- Teach yourself a new piece (also known as YOYO – You’re On Your Own!)
- Complete 5 theory worksheets
- Perform for a friend or family member
- Teach someone else one of your pieces
- Learn 3 facts about a famous composer
- Complete 2 practice quests
- Perform one of your pieces from memory
- Complete a listening activity
- Try 3 improvising exercises
- Find a new piece you want to learn
- Make a video or audio recording of one of your current pieces
- Complete 3 sight reading exercises
- Treat yo’self!
Once the stars have been opened, students stick them into their practice notebooks. Some of the activities we complete during our lessons, while others happen at home.
If you’ve got a large studio (or don’t fancy making 50+ stars!) then here are some alternatives:
Earn a Star
Set your students a weekly goal, and every time they complete it they get to make a star with their name written inside. At the end of the month/term/semester draw some winners and offer a small reward (check out this post for some ideas).
Choose a New Piece to Learn
Whenever a student needs to choose a new piece they could try their luck and pick a star with the name of the piece written inside. Use different coloured stars for different levels, and make sure every piece included has universal appeal!
If you’re looking for some engaging new music that’s also fun to learn then check out:
Keep it Simple
I love the stars (which are very easy to make once you’ve got the hang of it) but why make things more complicated than they need to be? Writing the challenges on a piece of paper and folding it in half will work just as well.