88 – BEADS Piano Reward Program

What kind of reward system do you use in your music studio?

points?    music money?    stickers?



But before I share…

I should preface this post by saying…

that THESE are the criteria that any reward system I use should have:

  1. SIMPLE – I do NOT want to spend more than 3-4 minutes of a students lesson tallying, counting, or adding! AMEN!!
  2. FAIR – It needs to be a system that rewards the “talented” and the “hard-worker” equally.
  3. AGE APPROPRIATE – I have a wide range of ages in my studio. I need something motivating for all.
  4. COST EFFECTIVE – enough said!

SOOOOO…..let me introduce


The first thing I did was find a small piece of wood and painted in black. I hot glued clothes pins on it. I then took a ribbon and hot glued a washer to the bottom. I finished it off with bright colored tabs with my student’s names on them.

Even though this ribbon is full of beads, it shows the washer at the end.

I hung the ribbons inside my music closet that is close to my piano.

{Note: I initially used 3M velcro adhesive strips but they were not strong enough as the beads were added.}

Next, I bought a tray full of brightly colored beads for under $15.


  • Students work to earn 88 – BEADS {representing the 88 keys on the piano} throughout the year.
  • Students can earn and an average of 4 beads per lesson. {See how below}
  • For every 15 beads, they earn a “treat” out of the drawer. {In my studio, the treat is a choice of a variety of candy bars, a bag of skittles, packages of starburst, and an assortment of $1 prizes}
  • Once the student earns their “Keyboard”, 88 – Beads, they receive a beautiful certificate and a $10 gift card to the place they choose. {Amazon is a VERY popular choice!}

{CLICK HERE} to download the PDF file

At the beginning of the school year, I show students how to put the beads on and use a tab to mark when they have earned 15 beads. I make it clear to them that it is their responsibility to keep count of how many beads they have.

For the students 7th Grade and above:

You will notice that students get 2 beads for an “A” lesson and 1 bead for a “B” lesson. I love having my students that are 7th grade and above GRADE THEMSELVES. It helps me stay the “CHEERLEADER and COACH” and allows them to self-reflect on how their practicing went for the week.

For each item they practice {an item can be a song, passage, theory page, technique exercise, or musical measure} they can get up to 10 points. I remind them that the points have to do more with the honest effort put forth, rather than with “passing it off”.

Now simply have them add up the points and divide by the maximum number of points.

Let’s say they earned 65 points out of 70

65 divided by 70 = .928

so the student gets a 93%, an “A”

{Don’t know how? Ask Pianogalval – For more help on lesson grading}

If you feel like this is even a little too complicated simply have them give themselves and over-all letter grade with a little bit of input from you and Voilà – there it is!

My student’s love FINDING THEIR PATTERN for the year and watching those BEADS ADD UP.

{Not to mention that it is fun for them to see how other students are doing. A little friendly competition is always good!}


So, if you try this program let me know how you like it! Email me at askpianogalval@gmail.com



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *