Mission: Music Incentive

Bring on the school year!  All of my new studio incentive materials are back from the printer and ready to find their way into the hands of my students.  For any of you looking for incentive ideas, here’s a look at what we’re doing this year:

This new studio incentive is a little bit “Mission: Impossible” and a little bit “Amazing Race.”   Each student receives a game board with a list of musical tasks they must complete.  They’ll attempt to make it all the way around the world by the end of the school year!

The maps are printed on 11 x 17″ (tabloid size) paper.   Each of my students has a 3-ring assignment binder with a clear cover, so they can either insert the map under the outside cover of their binder, wrapping it around the front, spine and back, or fold it in half and store in a clear page protector inside the binder.  For every task students complete, they’ll get to add a colored star sticker to their map.  Some tasks have a blank that I can fill in to customize them for individual students.  At one stop on each continent, students will have the choice between two similar tasks they may opt to complete.

Along the way, students will have the opportunity to earn Virtuoso Visas for exceptional work.  Once they have accumulated 4 Visas, they may be turned in for a free pass on any one task on the map.  (Many thanks to Wendy at ComposeCreate for the idea for these!  I’ve been anxious to try something like this with my students since I had the opportunity to hear her present a workshop this spring where she shared about the Certificate of Artistry cards she was using in her studio.)

It just wouldn’t seem right to issue a Visa without stamping it, so I found these great little stamps we can use to “Approve” the Visas when they are issued, then mark them as “Expired” when students turn them (that way they can still keep them if they’d like).   I ordered my stamps from this online company.  

Last year, I opted not to use any kind of studio decorations or public tracking chart where students could follow each other’s progress, and some of my students really seemed to miss the thrill of a little friendly competition!  When they arrive this fall, they’ll see this as they walk into the studio:

When students complete all 3 tasks on any given continent, they’ll get to post their name on the map.  If you look really closely at the picture above, you’ll see a couple of name stars – one on the US and one on Australia.  I looked high and low for removable stickers or post-it notes we could use on the map, and finally decided just to make my own, with these removable label pads I found at a local office supply store  (they come in other colors, as well):

and this star punch from a local craft store:


All of the files for the incentive are available for download on the Studio Aids page.   They’re available in both PDF and MS Publisher formats, so for any of you who have Publisher and want to edit or adapt anything, feel free!  


Mission: Music Overview Cards
Mission: Music Overview Cards
Overview Cards.pdf
125.0 KiB
Mission: Music Overview Cards (edit friendly)
152.5 KiB
Mission: Music Virtuoso Visa
Mission: Music Virtuoso Visa
Virtuoso Visa.pdf
25.7 KiB
Mission: Music Virtuoso Visa (edit friendly)
136.0 KiB
Mission: Music Student Map
76.0 KiB
Mission: Music Student Map (edit friendly)
195.5 KiB


Mission: Music Incentive — 41 Comments

  1. Whew! Your ideas are great. I am thinking on these. By the way, I moved my piano posts to a new blog, just about piano. Come by sometime, I blogged about my favorite I-pad app today.

  2. Jennifer, this looks wonderful and simple to implement. I think it’s even workable for teens so an entire studio can use it! I’ve been considering doing a “Passport: World Music” next year and this incentive would be a perfect lead into it! Thank you for all your creative ideas!

  3. Looks awesome! Can I ask what your ending prize is? That’s always the hardest thing for me about my incentive programs…finding something affordable that will excite 5 year olds up to teens.

    • Amy –

      I’m actually contemplating that myself at the moment. For the longest time I’ve always awarded trophies at our spring recital to the kids who finish the entire incentive, and medals for those who get close (I usually make sure I have something for every kid, even if it’s just a small medal or ribbon). But… I’m thinking I may do something different this year… perhaps something a little more “themed” or a pizza & movie night… I figure I have the rest of the year to figure it out, right? 🙂

      If anyone else has any great ideas for prizes and awards, I’d LOVE to hear them!

  4. Anna, Costco had wonderful, laminated maps last year… when they get all their school supplie type things in – excellent price too.

  5. Thank you thank you thank you for so generously sharing your incentive program! My students had so much fun with Musikopoly last year and I know they’ll get a kick out of this one this year. You’re such a blessing for those of us (ME!) who are creatively challenged!

  6. I used your Musikopoly last year and my students loved it. I can’t wait to look over your materials from your latest masterpiece. Thanks for sharing your genius with the rest of us!!!!!

  7. This looks wonderful! Do all the students start at the same place and continue in a certain order, or do they chose their starting place? I thought it might be kind of “mysterious” to let them chose their starting place and then map their progress on the map. They would all be trying to guess where the others were going next!
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Maybe a international party at the end for a reward! You could serve pizza slices, nachos or tacos, mini-eggrolls, etc. You could do the Mexican hat dance and have a pinata! I’m lovin’ this!
    Thanks again!

  9. Where did you get your great map? I love the colors and the simplicity of it. I tried printing yours but it won’t fit onto a page (8.5″ x 11″). You warned us that it was 11 x 17 but I thought I could change it but it is “read only”. Can you help me?

    • Hi Linda,

      I got the image for the map here, then added my own background and text.

      If you want to use the one off the site, just scale it to print on regular letter-size paper, you’ll need to download the pdf file (right-click on the image, then choose save as), and then open on your computer (it should open in Adobe Reader). When you choose “Print”, you should see a drop down box where you can adjust the “Page Scaling.” If you choose “Fit to Page”, it should automatically shrink the map for you.

      Hope that helps!

      Jen Fink

  10. Love it, love it, love it! I almost planned a similar around the world incentive for this year! I should have waited a week and learned from you…
    thanks for sharing!

  11. After much thought…I think I will just use this incentive program. It is so complete . Wow!
    Just thinking some more to make sure it will work…
    What will your super-secret reward be?

  12. Hi Jen,

    I have been a lurker on your website for quite some time. I used Musikopoly last year and loved it. I love this idea as well. I was wondering how you planned to pace the three choices on each continent throughout the year. I have some very studious, motivated students that will do one or more things a week and finish them all very quickly. I want to be able to have the incentive last all year long. What are your plans that way? Thank you for sharing all your wonderful insight and ideas! Sara

    • Hi Sara,

      Good question! I had to admit, I don’t really design incentives for my super-motivated kids who zip through assignments. They tend to be motivated whether I “incent” them or not! This is really aimed at my kids who need a little extra nudge to get work done through the year, and intended to be within reach of the majority of my students (which means the motivated kids will finish it early).

      You’ll notice there’s one blank spot on each continent where you can fill in goal number for each individual student. You could always up the goals for some kids! If students still finish early, you could give them a second gameboard and see how far they could get in their second trip around the world before the end of the year. I did that last year with my Musikopoly incentive, and made a special acknowledgement at our year-end recital of students who made it the farthest.

      Hope that give you some ideas!

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  14. Hi Jennifer,

    Your map lists completing a listening activity; can you please expand on what you do for this type of activity? I only have 5 students but they range from absolute beginners aged 6 to the developing competency aged 11.

    Kind regards,


  15. Hi Jennifer,
    Wondering if you have come up with what you will be rewarding your students for completing the Misson:Music incentive.

  16. This was an awesome incentive! 18 of 36 students who participate in recitals completed the mission. Their reward? a trophy. That was the only way I could come up with a reward that was personal and would not involve more money and more people. The trophy was presented at the end of recital, each student received a passport that upon opening had a recital participation certificate. I decorated with a travel theme and even had an airline pilot handing out boarding passes (programs) as everyone entered!
    Thanks again Jennifer!

    • Miss Dorla –

      I’m so glad that your and your students enjoyed the incentive, and I’m blown away by your creativity with the passports and boarding passes!! Your recital sounded like so much fun – I’m sure your students loved it!!

      Thanks for sharing your ideas!


  17. Just wonderful! I’m so glad I came across your blog (via the gorgeous Miss Luba) – this plan for structuring student’s activities is absolutely fantastic. Very exciting stuff….

    • In the past, I’ve always ordered trophies online from either ADTrophy.com or CrownAwards.com. This year, instead of trophies, I gave out Easy Buttons from Staples (staples.com).

      Hope that helps!!

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  19. Hi Jennifer,

    As always, fabulous ideas! I’m not sure if you can do this, but would you be able to send me a pdf of the map (including your design of background and lettering), but without the text for the cities? I have a Mac and so don’t have MS Publisher, but I’m thinking I could play around with printing on clear shipping labels in order to identify the cities & tasks that work for my studio and syllabus requirements.

    Thank-you so very much!!


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  21. How does the ‘minutes of practice time’ work? Is it supposed to be all in one day, or just in total? I love this incentive, by the way! I agree with someone earlier who says you are a blessing for those of us who are creatively challenged!

    • Samantha,

      I’m so sorry! I just saw your comment – it somehow slipped through without me catching it when you posted. When we used this, the practice time was a total for the week.


  22. Hi Jennifer – thank you this is an amazing program! I am going to implement this into a 3-4 week winter incentive program. I see you have editable files but the fonts don’t work. Would you mind providing where you got the fonts from kindly?

    Thank you again so much!!

    • The year I did this incentive I gave out Staples Easy Buttons as prizes. They were a big hit with my kids, and budget-friendly for a large studio. Other years, I’ve hosted year-end parties for the students who completed their incentive challenges – we had ice cream sundaes one year, and pizza another. Those are always popular as well!

    • The visas are extras – a student could complete the whole incentive without ever earning a visa. I used these kind of like a “get out of jail free” card. Once a student had accumulated 4 visas (given out whenever I “caught” them doing something exceptionally well), they could turn them in and in return, get a free check off on one item on the map, without actually completing the task (this could be on any continent of their choice).

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