Student Recognition

Recognizing exceptional students

Missy M., Iowa

I’m highly considering an “Honors Track” with my students this year as we set goals, dream a little, etc. The point of this would be to celebrate our regular commitments in the SM student journey but especially those that go over and above. Things like extra compositions, personal mini-recitals for friends and family, extracurricular research on famous musicians, practicing more than recommended time, outside reading and holiday projects, etc. I would help students with a point system of their personal goals and recognize their accomplishment at recitals. Has anyone ever done this? I’ve noticed that in years when I have emphasized compositions and improvisation, our recitals are way more interesting, expressive, and moving. When we just do the minimal to get by, we don’t have much to show for all our work and everything seems flat. I suspect something like this would help students take ownership of their own journey in new ways.

I’ve looked at conservatory and college websites, and there are certain similar programs for students which gives them ways to reach for greatness. It seems there could be a way to do this that doesn’t violate the natural individual journey or “it takes as long as it takes”. I suspect it could help students and parents get past apathy and lack of diligence. Any thoughts?

Laurie Richards, Nebraska

I don’t remember ever seeing anything similar over the years (in Simpedia, etc), but I really like the idea. I have always wanted to try a small, very selective “fast track” group of students who start as total beginners and commit to some ramped-up requirements and progress fairly quickly through the curriculum – just to see what’s possible. But this sounds like a lot of fun as a motivator for everyone.

Leanne I., Australia

I incorporate a composition project during each Foundation level as a requirement to earn their certificate. I don’t just hand out certificates at the end of each Level. My students have to record all their Foundation pieces, all their variations and arrangements, and a composition. I don’t let them move on to the next level until most of their songs are recorded. Most of my students are quite keen to start the next level, so it is a big motivator for them. They can take as long as they like to do it.