Last spring, I made up some simple “Smile-O-Meter” evaluation cards to help my elementary students learn to critique themselves and each other after performances at group lessons. They had a great time filling in smiley faces, and the cards have since become a staple at group lessons. I use them frequently in private lessons, too. When I want a student to self-assess their progress on a particular piece, I just pull out a Smile-O-Meter card and ask them to fill it out so we can see which areas still need work.
This fall, I decided to make a second version of the cards, specifically to use in private lessons. Three of the categories (notes, rhythm and details) are the same, but for the last category I substituted technique for performance. While good hand shape comes naturally to many of my elementary students, I have a handful who have to concentrate harder to make it happen. This way everyone gets a reminder!
I still plan to use the original cards in group – technique is a hard category for elementary students to assess in their peers, and when my studio is full for group lessons, not everyone gets a seat where they can see the performer’s hands. Both versions are now available for download on my studio site.