114 – ICYMI: Free Student “Award” Programs from MTNA

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Episode Summary

Welcome to the first-ever “ICYMI: In Case You Missed It” episode of The Piano Pantry Podcast! ICYMI episodes will feature anything from opportunities and resources I feel those in our profession should know about to items from the archives of the Piano Pantry blog that – if you’ve not been following me since 2016 – you might not know about! Today’s episode features three free student “awards” made available to members of Music Teachers National Association.


Items Mentioned

Trader Joe’s podcast ICYMI episode

Music Achievement Award

Music Study Award

Studio Festival Award

Blot post: Studio Awards Policies and Procedures

MTNA Music Study Award Printable Template

Support the podcast on Patreon

Amy’s digital organization summer retreat (June 12-15)


Related Items

My Trader Joe’s Shopping List

Blog post: Studio Awards Update



Welcome to the first-ever “ICYMI: In Case You Missed It” episode of The Piano Pantry Podcast! While you might find me clever for using this acronym, let me quickly set the record straight. My favorite grocery chain, Trader Joe’s, does ICYMI episodes, and I thought it was a fun, clever idea, so I thought… why can’t I do that for my people?

These ICYMI: In Case You Missed it episodes will feature anything from opportunities and resources I feel those in our profession should know about to items from the archives of the Piano Pantry blog that – if you’ve not been following me since 2016 – you might not know about!

By the way, I’m your host, Amy Chaplin – a piano teacher on a quest to support and enrich the lives of this community with amiable advice and simple solutions. Ever since the first Friday Finds blog post was published in 2016, I have become known as a bit of a resource guru for my piano teacher friends. There’s 100 times more stuff out there these days than in 2016, so I promise I will do my best to always point you to useful and practical resources, starting with today’s ICYMI feature.

Today’s feature is a series of three student awards available to members of Music Teachers National Association: the Music Achievement Award, the Music Study Award, and the Studio Festival Award.

All three of these awards can be found in the members-only section of the MTNA website. They can be tricky to find, though, as they’re 3-4 levels deep in the menu. First of all, make sure you sign in – then navigate to the Join + Renew tab at the top. At the bottom of those options is the Members-only tab. Hoover over that, then at the bottom, select “Music for Everyone.”

All three awards are there. I do have a blog post linked in the show notes that shows you a screenshot of what I just described, so if you need to, you can find it by visiting the show notes at PianoPantry.com/podcast/episode114

First off is the Music Achievement Award.

This award is flexible and can be set up by the teacher however you like. The goal is to encourage students to work toward goals that will not only help them become better musicians but will also enhance their love and appreciation for music.

Essentially, the teacher and student set a list of goals and the time period in which they are to be completed. It could be anything such as a list of 10 items that include things like:

  • sightread 5 entire books assigned by the teacher
  • complete 1 theory book
  • attend a professional concert that is not a school event
  • perform in a venue outside of studio recitals – whether it be a school talent show or church

…and so forth.

I offered this award a few years early on in my studio, and, in addition to the certificate offered by MTNA, I also took the students to who completed their requirements to a professional performance. I did charge a small fee for them to sign up and participate in the program to help offset the cost of that performance, but it’s up to you how you want to do it and what you want to offer. It could just be a pizza party.

The second award is the one I use currently and have since I started my studio. It’s called the Music Study Award and it’s simply a way of recognizing the number of years a student has been enrolled in lessons.

If you’ve ever done awards in your studio and wished you had a way of recognizing students who don’t do competitions or festivals, or if you would like a simple way to recognize students’ dedication to ongoing study, this award is for you.

Awards don’t always have to be about celebrating achievements; they can also serve as a time to celebrate tenacity and commitment to long-term learning, which is why I love using this award.

The third award is the Studio Festival Award. This is the only one of the three I have never utilized. Similar to the Music Achievement award, the Studio Festival award is intentionally designed to be flexible to the individual teacher. There are no set rules or regulations and I love that.

As with the Music Achievement award, MTNA provides resources to help you set up your own program within your studio.

All three awards have different certificates made available from MTNA that are predesigned with the MTNA logo and signatures of the current president and CEO.

You just add the student’s name, years of study, and date, then sign it by hand. The certificates are usually fillable but some years I’ve gone to download them and they were not so I can’t say they will be for certain.

If you find they’re not, I do have a blog post with a downloadable template that should at least work for the Music Study award certificate to allow you to print it and not have to handwrite their names. I’ve linked to that in the show notes.

For the first few years, I printed them on heavy white cardstock but moved to using heavy certificate paper, which made them look a little nicer.

Thanks to MTNA for offering these resources to our community. I hope that perhaps one of these may be something you will find useful for your studio in the coming years.

That’s a wrap for our first ICYMI: In Case You Missed It episode!

If you enjoy this podcast and have it within your bandwidth, please consider joining me on Patreon. If you’re not familiar with Patreon, it’s a place where followers can help support content creators like myself. For less than the cost of an expensive foo-foo coffee, you can link up with others to cheer on this work. Visit Piano Pantry.com/patreon for more details.

Lastly, as you’re making your summer arrangements, consider doing something a little different for yourself and your professional development this summer by attending my digital organization retreat. I know you’re a piano teacher, but you’re also running a business and are completely engulfed in technology to do so.

If you’re tired of feeling like you’re struggling with the basics or just can’t seem to set aside the time needed to get your entire digital workspace under control and in functional order, you need this retreat. It’s more than just the basics – it’s a comprehensive step-by-step approach to considering all the angles, whether it’s email, media management, digital files, or the 100s of apps on your devices.

Let me help – remember – that’s what I’m here for. Visit PianoPantry.com/retreat for more details.