Each year when I was younger, my piano teacher gave me a piano assessment. This wasn’t a competition against anyone else but rather scored me on a personal level of achievement over the year. Receiving the feedback from my teacher as well as another unbiased teacher who sat in on the assessment was a bit nerve wracking yet it pushed me to conquer my technique goals, diligently learn all my theory concepts, and even practice my sight reading better.
Now as a teacher, I have experienced several variations of end of year/semester assessments as I have taught at different academies of music. This year, I have only been teaching at home so I am looking forward to holding my own end of year piano assessment. I have named them – “Piano Olympics”! The first picture for this post is a general logo but next you will see my studio’s version of the logo.
My students will first finish their recital in May, then the week after we will begin preparing for our Piano Olympics. I’ve found it helps having a goal for myself as I teach each day to keep my students well rounded and learning theory, technique, sight reading, composition, as well as regular performance repertoire. I’m debating about when to hold them but will probably be hosting them on a Saturday morning so I can ask another teacher to come observe and comment with me.
Students will be tested in five areas – each worth a certain amount of points that add up to 100. We will have a short one page theory test (20 points), a sight reading exam of 8 measures at their own level (20 points), a piano technique check (20 points), a composition performance (20 points), and finally a memorized repertoire performance (20 points). There will be ribbons/medals representing bronze, silver, and gold levels for various scores. My goal is not to let any student know another’s score but to keep it personal so they just work hard to achieve their own highest score each year.
So as I prepare to host this event, I have plenty of work to do! Do you have any tips or ideas for piano assessments you hold for your own studios?! Please share!
Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at 4DPianoTeaching.com