It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years when I first introduced a music Olympic program to my students. At the time, I called it “Piano Olympics”, not knowing any better. (You can read more about why that changed here if you are curious) Fast forward, what was “Piano Olympics” became “Musicathlon“. And over the years developed into what it is today.
I hold Musicathlon every 4 years, the same year that corresponds with the winter Olympics. This year (2021-2022) is particularly exciting because we have TWO Olympics. Summer Olympics and Winter, which is unheard of.
What is Musicathlon?
I’m so glad you asked! In short, Musicathlon is an “Olympic” inspired practice incentive program. Students choose and complete different music-themed events while completing a 30 piece challenge. When I first used this program with my students many years ago, I hadn’t included a 30-piece challenge. Fast forward, when I was doing some changes and updates, I decided that I wanted to step things up!
I’ve never been the teacher that taught only a handful of pieces during the year for a student. I never understood that. Who wants to work on the 3-7 pieces all year long? Not me. I want variety! Plus there is SO much good music out there to play!
Do you remember book clubs when you were a kid? During the summer, books were my life. We went to the library and checked out a stack full of books to read. During that time, the library would have a book reading challenge. The more books you read, the better! I’ve always believed just as reading a lot of books are beneficial to reading skills, so is playing a lot of music beneficial to reading music notation.
For this program, I chose to include a 30-piece challenge. I felt it was a reasonable number that students could accomplish while working on Musicathlon events. If they decided to do more, fantastic! I love when students go the extra mile.
On top of the 30-Piece challenge, the Musicathlon events are what keep students on task with their music goals. Learning and reviewing their theory, naming their notes, developing their ear training and rhythm skills, etc. And while we make sure we have our music fundamentals down, there are also events that allow students to step outside the box and try some new skills, like composing.
There are 9 Musicathlon events. Students can choose which events they want to do. (Though the teacher can have a say as well if there are particular events that are must do’s) I think it is important for students to have choices. To earn a gold medal, students need to complete at least 5 or more events.
Event “tests” are not included in Musicathlon. This is because I want you to be free to use what is best for each individual student in your studio. I do give suggestions and ideas, but you can easily use what you already have laying around. (FYI- Many of the event tests don’t need anything special)
When should I hold Musicathlon?
Good news, you have a choice! Both summer and winter sports-themed graphics are included so you can use this any time of the year. As I mentioned before, I like to use Musicathlon every 4 years. Mine just happens to correspond the same year as the winter Olympics but can be done when the summer Olympics are going on or perhaps you want to use this as a summer practice incentive. Totally up to you! I try to make all my practice incentive programs in a way that you can adapt what works best with your students.
In my studio we kick off Musicathlon in August and then it ends in April, a month before our spring recital. This way I have time to order the medals (Crown Awards is my go to) with plenty of time. But again, the program is completely adaptable. This gives my students 8 months, keeping in mind those holiday months as well when we are on breaks. If you want more time or less time it’s totally up to you!
What is included?
- Incentive Instructions
- 30 Piece Challenge Poster
- Assignment Page (includes an editable option)
- Getting to Know You Sheet
- Musicathlon Certificate
- Musicathlon Decor
- Student Activity Workbook (includes logs and 30 Piece progress map)
- Activity Pages (inside the student workbook)
- Musicathlon Tags (JPG options included for digital “stickers”)
- Teacher Log
- Musicathlon Treat Toppers
- Practice Chart
- Photo Props (PDF and PowerPoint)
- Digital Badge Boards (track 30 piece challenges and Musicathlon event progress online)
Strive for the Best
Our theme in Musicathlon, is to “Strive for the Best’ and is for is for all ages and levels! It is my hope that this program will help your students strive for their best. Find Musicathlon here.