The Learn to Play Point System

Winning points at Guitar Hero while playing on stage with an orchestra. Photo from Elson on Flickr.

Points are all around us. We get points for doing well on a test, points for scoring high at a game, and points on a drivers license for disobeying the law or causing a collision.

Points can be good or they can be bad. But, either way, they encourage us to stay on track and work harder at the task at hand. We continuously strive for opportunities to receive good points and do everything we can to avoid situations where we might receive bad points.

Starting in 2012, I am beginning to encourage you, my music students, with points.

And, for the record, these are not only good points, but they are points that will get you cool stuff when you earn them.

Like slam dunks, practice will get you points
Photo by joshme17 on Flickr.

You can think of these more as points like you would earn in a game.

The goal is simple: I want to motivate you to practice.

Better yet, I want you to take your own initiative to learn more and have fun with music outside of each lesson.

However, I don’t want you to be stressed out about your performance. That’s why these points are not a grade.

You simply get points for practicing and working on what you should be working on.

If you have clearly accomplished the tasks (and followed the rules of the “game”), you get points.

Then, you can cash in the points for cool stuff.

Here are three ways to earn points:

1) Practice, practice, practice [worth up to 100 points]
I spent years as a teenager avoiding practice and finding ways to trick my teachers into thinking I did a lot of work when I really didn’t. So, I know how to tell if you have practiced, even if you are having trouble and haven’t improved. If you are clearly working hard on the things I tell you to, I will give you 100 points for each lesson.

2) Do the bonus exercises on this site [worth up to 20 points]
Again, I am not looking for perfection with every exercise, just a significant effort. I will give you points for these exercises simply for trying your hardest.

3) Read the articles on this site and comment [worth 5 points per comment]
I’m always sharing great music stuff on this site and giving something to talk about at the end of each post. Write about what I suggest or whatever else comes to your mind after you view the great material I share with you here.

And, these are three ways to use your points:

[As of now they are all worth 500 points]

1) Get a transcription of a song you want to learn
Can’t find music for a song you want to play? No problem! Earn your points and I’ll write it out for you.

2) Spend lesson time working on a song of your choice
We mostly work on exercises and songs that I choose to help you grow as a musician or that you have to learn for school or another music group. But, with enough points, you can have a lesson dedicated solely to learning a song of your choice or spread it out over a few lessons.

3) Get a recording of a song you are having difficulty with
While I encourage you always to try to figure out your music on your own, it’s always helpful to have a recording when you are stuck. So, to help you out, I will exchange your points for a recording of a song that you can you listen to and play along with. This way you can make sure you are playing the right notes and getting the correct rhythm and style.

Now, of course, this system will evolve over time as I come up with new ways to give you points and more options for cashing in your points. I definitely want to hear your ideas!

Tell me your suggestions for this point system in the comments and receive 5 points!

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