Once upon a time, a long time ago before I had kids, I was talking with my husband, Brian, about an incentive to get my students to practice more during the fall. In the Spring, we had Honor Roll, but I wanted something kind of fun to help get the ball rolling, to help us get through the fall (ie Sonatina Festival and December Recital) AND so that Honor Roll wasn’t such a huge leap. Brian is a ginormous Cowboys fan, and as we were brainstorming ideas, he thought it would be cool to put the kids on teams and have them “play” against each other. I was skeptical. How would that work with kids in private lessons? So the wheels began turning, and together, we came up with “PianoBall”. It was a huge success!! The kids loved it! It got them practicing and aided in them getting to know the other students. Some years, I did girls versus boys, sometimes the team names were musical themes, or composers, and sometimes I let them pick their teammates or team name.
Well, it’s been since 2011 that I did my last PianoBall. I was thinking of a way to get my students to really get practicing again, and other teachers were having the same issue. So, I dug up all of my old PianoBall binders and rules, and I really think this is the perfect time to get it going again!!
So, how does PianoBall work? Students are given points on practice, posture in their lesson, attitude, and finishing their theory homework. Then, their points are added to the team and averaged. This year, there are 5-6 students on a team. Students were divided randomly into teams. Whichever team has the most points each week, wins! There are a few weeks of games, then the 8 teams who have the most wins go to the finals. The teams who win there go onto the next round of finals and they then play for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Prizes are awarded- which the students love. But best of all? The kids are ready for recital and sonatina festival. They have committed to practicing for weeks. And to top it all off, they are also eager to meet their teammates at the recital!! It’s a win-win!!