Musikopoly Incentive Program

I’ve been taking advantage of some summer down-time to work on studio planning for the upcoming school year.    My big project this week was putting together a new studio incentive program to kick-off in the fall.    This year, I really wanted to do something with music money.   (Thanks to Cecilly and Susan on the Piano Teacher Resources site for a great post about music money incentives that got me brainstorming!) I’ve had students earn points in the past, but love the idea of having them earn something they can really get their hands on!!    So… this year, we’re going to play a game of Musikopoly in our studio!   Our local teacher’s association is using the same theme for it’s annual Multi-Piano concerts this year, so I decided to borrow the idea and adapt it into an incentive program.

At their first lesson of the school year, each student will get a gameboard to keep in their 3-ring binder:

To complete each of the 10 game circles on the board, they’ll have to earn Bach Bucks, then use them to purchase a house, ticket, etc. as instructed on the board.    When they’ve earned enough money, they can turn it in for a game piece sticker to go on the space (I printed these on 1.5″ Avery Labels):

I decided to make my own money instead of buying the pre-made packs.    Here’s what our Bach Bucks look like:

And here’s how students earn them:

At Lessons:
Arrive on time with all of your books: $5
Successfully complete any technique, sightreading, ear training, theory or rhythm assignment: $5
Answer “yes” to a Chance card (see below for description): $10

Practice:
Get to the piano to practice (at least ___ minutes): $5/day
Complete a Perfect Week (every assignment practiced): $20
Roll a die at lessons – if you practiced that many days or more, earn a bonus!: $10

Performing:
Polish and record a piece: $20
Perform at a group lesson: $20
Perform from memory at a group lesson: $25
Perform at a school, church or other outside event (requires note from parent): $25
Perform at a studio recital or event: $50

Major Accomplishments:
Complete an entire level of assigned technique: $50
Pass a yearly theory exam: $50
Complete an entire ear training workbook: $50
Successfully clap and count an entire rhythm challenge: $50
Complete an entire level of sightreading: $50

Creative Quest Projects:
Complete a composing challenge (original composition): $40
Perform an improvised piece: $40
Complete a Listening Challenge: $40
Complete a Meet the Composer Packet $40

To make it feel even more like a game, I added 4 Bonus Cards:

Get Out of Jail Free cards let students redeem a bad week of practice.  Each student is issued 2 cards at the beginning of the year, and may play them at any time.

Free Parking cards let students “park” a piece they no longer care to work on.   Each student gets 2 of these at the beginning of the year, and may play them at any time.

I borrowed the idea for the Chance cards from a post on Laura Lowe’s site.  Thanks to Laura and Marcia Vahl for the Mystery Card idea!  I’m very excited to try this out.   (Visit the link above for more details).

Creative Quest cards are extra credit projects students can opt to do to earn more money.  Students may draw a card to find out which Quest category they will work on: composition, improv, critical listening or composer history.   They’ll then get a choice of projects in that category to complete outside of lessons.

Every student who finishes the game by the end of the school year will earn a trophy.   With every new incentive program I’ve done, I always keep the trophies the same – that way students who have been in the studio for several years can see a whole line of music trophies lined up by the piano!

All of the game materials I made are available as .pdf files on my studio site.   If anyone would like to use these, but wants to tweak them, I’d be happy to share the Publisher files – just send me an email at [email protected]

 


Comments

Musikopoly Incentive Program — 59 Comments

  1. Greetings from Australia!!! Thank you so much for putting this together and posting it Jen. What a fantastic idea! I am going to tweak it a bit and use it to get one of my students ready for their music exam (struggling just a bit to get that motivation). I think this will provide the motivation they need :D

  2. This is great! I love it. I am going to tweak it a bit for my needs and use it this fall in my studio. Thanks.

  3. Jennifer this is awesome. I have tweeked it a bit to make the musikopoly “town” into a wall display in my studio where students “drive” little cars from property to property as they purchase them. I am working on my handout explaining how much money they earn for different music tasks. I was wondering if you have your handout in a word document anywhere so I do not have to retype everything. Thanks so much for posting. I love following our RSS feed also.

    Jennifer-Anne
    Hampton, GA

    • Jennifer –

      I love the idea of a “town” on the wall! I do happen to have a Word document with the $$ amounts listed – I’ll email it over to you a.s.a.p.

      If anyone else would like the Word version, feel free to send me an email!

      • Hi Jennifer,

        I would very much appreciate the Word version of Musikopoly as well. This incentive program is so perfect for students of ALL ages since it’s often difficult to find something interesting to teenagers.

        Thanks for sharing–

      • Thanks for all the nice things you make and share with people. It is evident that you put a lot of time into teaching your students. I appreciate how you share all your ideas online. Would you mind emailing me a word document for the musicopoly game so I can make a few changes. Thanks!

      • Jennifer,
        I just started teaching and found your site. Thank you so much for how detailed you explain things that I need to know and the opportunity to use other things than just books. Please send me the Word form of this document of possible. Looking forward to reading more and more from you!

  4. I love this idea! Could you please send me a copy of your word file so I can make a couple of changes? Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Love this idea! I’m starting up something similar in my studio where the students can earn cash but I’m having trouble finding fun “prizes” that they can purchase with the money the earn. Do you have any ideas about this?

    • Amelia,

      The last couple of years, I’ve awarded students “big” prizes at the end of the year – trophies, gold and silver medals, etc (the more they earn, the bigger the prize). In the past, I’ve also let students earn points/$$ toward a pizza party, or ice cream party (they used their points/$$ to buy toppings). I know other teachers who keep a prize box full of dollar-store toys, pencils, small bottles of lotion, etc. that students can “shop” from at various times during the year. I’ve gotten away from that kind of thing as my studio has grown larger – it just gets expensive to keep up!!

      Anyone else have good ideas for prizes that you can share??

      Jen

      PS… sorry for the delay in my reply. We returned yesterday from a couple of weeks of vacation, and I’m just now getting back to the internet!

  6. I’m going to tweak and use your program this year!
    I was going to make my own again (a pirate theme…) but since I have a two year old and a 10 week old, I decided to be nice to myself and use your ready made program (I’d had you email me the word files a while ago so I’m personalizing them just a bit!)
    THANKS so much for saving this tired mommy a lot of work and making something fun for my students!

  7. I’ve been trying to work out my own incentive program this year, but keep coming back to Musikopoly. It is absolutely brilliant and has just about all the elements I want to incorporate. Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. I would love to have a copy of the word file as well so I can make tweaks.

  8. This looks great and something I have been looking for for a long time! I have one question, have you used this with students just beginning learning to play the piano e.g in the primer level?

    • Hi Lana,

      Yes, I used this last year with my whole studio – from my beginning students through my high school students (a few high schoolers “opted out” of participating, but all of my younger ones used it). For the younger ones, I’ve just found it’s important to get mom and dad “in” on the program so they make sure to write down practice minutes at home, and can help with bonus projects like Composer Challenges. All of my beginners who participated finished the program last year (it’s designed to be pretty “do-able.”).

      Jen

      • Thank for your prompt response! I will have to tweak mine a bit but hope to use most of your ideas.
        What do you mean by a yearly theory exam? Is that something available from your site? Also, I currently use the Faber Adventure Series. I use Lesson, technique, theory and performance. Would I use the ear training book in addition to that?

        • Lana –

          The yearly theory exam is something many of my students do at a local event every year. I don’t have tests on my site, but Wendy Stevens does have practice tests that go with our Kansas Music Progressions Curriculum levels over on ComposeCreate.com (it’s under the store tab).

          If you’re already using the Faber Theory books, and doing the Ear Training exercises in those, you might have to tweak the incentive program a little. I don’t use traditional theory workbooks with my younger students (we do all of our theory through games and hands-on activities), which is why we do separate Ear Training. Several teachers who have used the Musikopoly program have told me that they changed the options for “Major Accomplishments” – feel free to adjust any of it so it fits the curriculum you use!

          Jen

          • Oops… that was one of the things that made it into the “rough draft” Word version, but didn’t make the final cut when I moved it over to Publisher! I have to admit…. I didn’t end up following through on that one, but the idea was that students could earn credit for attending a concert (subject to prior approval), and doing a write-up on what they heard.

  9. I would like to get the word document version sent to me. You have some very helpful teaching ideas and great handouts that kids love. Thank you for sharing with me.

  10. Hi Jen,
    I used your Musikopoly studio-wide last year for private & group lessons. My “Musikopoly Masters” party was ice cream at my place & then an evening at the drive-in movie (Mr. Popper’s Penguins) for 10 students.
    I had another practice incentive in mind to use this year, but due to popular demand, we’re re-doing Musikopoly! It was quick & easy to run, without a steep learning curve on my part to learn “how” to do it. I have a rather rowdy group of 2nd year students & when they arrived at the studio last week they immediately asked “where’s my chance card?”
    Thanks, Jen, we’ll enjoy it again for another year — I only wish I hadn’t recycled all my Bach Bucks!

  11. I am looking forward to using this with a few students in my studio who can use extra incentive for practising. I would love to know more about your Major Accomplishments and Creative Quest Projects. For example what is “an entire Rhythm challenge”? And I would LOVE to know more about the “Composer Packets” – Both ideas sound very interesting. Thank you again for all your hard work that you so willing share!

  12. Thank you so much for making this available. I had never tried this kind of a program with my students before, but starting with your plan and tweaking it a little really worked out well! The kids have absolutely loved it, and even those who practiced the least last year have really made progress in good practicing habits. I made up my own set of Creative Challenges, and have been happily surprised at how many of the students love doing the “extra stuff” even though they can finish the game without them. Thanks again!

  13. I absolutely love all the things you post. I wish I were as creative and motivated to put things together. Thank you so much for all your hard work and for sharing!!

  14. I tried printing the game pieces on the stickers but they were off. I am using the Avery 1.5 like you said. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Jessica,

      In your print dialog box, there should be an option that says “page scaling”, or “fit to page.” You want to make sure that that is NOT selected, or set to “no scaling.” (The exact wording varies from printer to printer.) Hopefully that will solve the problem – let me know if it doesn’t!

      Jen

  15. Hi Jen,
    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been looking for an incentive program for my students and this sounds perfect. Before I start it though, I do want to include the “Composer Packets” so students learn their composers better but don’t know exactly what those are. Can you describe how you went about that? Thanks so much again!!

  16. Jen,
    Would you mind forwarding me a Word download for this incentive program so that I can personalize it a little bit — as far as the incentive items?
    Thanks so much! I have the binders ready to go — but haven’t put together the incentive booklets yet! I looked at this idea last year, but had already started putting something else together. So have been looking forward to using this for the coming year.

  17. Jen,
    I made a typo on my email address of all things :) On the previous comment.
    This reply is the correct address — (robinson without an o after it) :)

  18. I have a couple of questions: Can you please explain the “Free Parking” cards? Does a student use those in place of buying a sticker? Also, do you have them go in order on the game board, or can they buy stickers in any order?

    • Hi Pam,

      I gave my students 2 Free Parking cards at the beginning of the year. If at some point during the year they ran across a method book piece that they really didn’t care for, they could turn in the card and “park” the piece (and not have to continue learning it). I had a couple of really picky students in my studio the year I made up this incentive, and they really enjoyed having that little bit of control over what pieces they were working on! :)

      I had my students go in order on the gameboard… but you certainly could let your kids jump around if they wanted to. That one’s up to you!

  19. Jen,

    I tried to find Avery 1.5 in my local area, but not successfully. So I bought Avery 2/3 and I thought it might work the same, but turn out they were off. So I wonder are there anyway you can send me a word document with all those graphics, so I can adjust it myself.

    Thanks!
    Sophia

    • Hi Colleen,

      I usually send my incentive materials out to a commercial printer, rather than print at home. (I charge a yearly registration/materials fee, and allocate a small budget from that for our incentive materials each year). I’ve used both the UPS Store and Office Depot – both are pretty reasonable. When I did the Musikopoly incentive, I printed the gameboards and stickers in color, then printed the Bach Bucks & Bonus Cards with my black & white printer at home on colored paper.

  20. I like your incentive program. I have looking for a good incentive program for my studio. Would you please send it to me in a word document. My version 2003.

    Thanks so much.

    Marilyn Harrison

  21. Jennifer,
    I stumbled across your website visiting another piano teacher’s blog. Thank you for all of your creative ideas! I am incredibly impressed, and I think that you have many wonderful ideas that I will be using in my own studio in the years to come. I am going to implement the Musikopoly incentive program in my studio this year. I was curious if you have an editable file for the sticker sheets?
    Thank you so much!
    Sarah Coley

  22. My students LOVE this incentive program. I did it 2 years ago. Did something else last year, and everyone BEGGED to do Musikopoly again. Thank you for creating such fun files to use! I’m trying to print out the stickers and they Chopin Crossing page is blank. Wonder if you could help me with this? Maybe email that page?

    Thanks!
    Amy

  23. Jen ~
    What a great idea! I have kids of various ages and this would be perfect for all of them. I did music money last year but this is a fun twist that the kids will love. I would also like a word document if you still have it and would be willing to share!
    Thanks!
    Cherilyn

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