How to Host a Piano Practice Challenge

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Practice challenge chart with piano keys and gingerbread men

Have you ever considered hosting a piano practice challenge in your studio?

I love challenging my students to practice a specific number of pieces, measures, pages, minutes, days, at a predetermined tempo, or accomplishing a specific goal or goals over a short period of time. Why? Because practice challenges are highly beneficial to students in a number of ways.


How Practice Challenges Benefit Students

  • Help students stay on track when preparing for a recital or other performance
  • Get students back into the swing of things after a break or at the beginning of the piano year
  • Promote consistency in practicing
  • Friendly competition
  • Require more practicing than some students would normally accomplish on their own
  • Some students thrive on being challenged
  • Grouping students together can promote teamwork to be successful in the challenge
  • Promote responsibility and accountability
  • Help build internal motivation over time
  • Show students they are more capable than they may have thought
  • Encourage creativity in practice time (fitting in a few extra minutes before school, after dinner, etc.)


Little girl tentatively playing the piano and looking,at the camera


The Rules of the Practice Challenge

  • Our challenge is 2 weeks long: Long enough to be beneficial, but short enough to feel attainable.
  • For practice challenges that are based around minutes practiced, students write down the number of minutes they practice each day on the corresponding piano key.
  • My students are required to practice, for example, at least 20 minutes a day, for 5 days each week during the challenge.
  • Students who meet the goals of the challenge (and goals do change for each challenge) will have their names placed into a drawing to win a gift card!
  • I check their practice minutes (or goals, pages, tempo, etc.) during their lesson and provide praise, encouragement, motivation, or whatever my student needs throughout the challenge.
  • At the end of the challenge, they text a picture of their practice challenge chart to me.
  • I check to see who qualifies for the drawing and add their names to the Decide Now app for iPad.
  • I video myself spinning the wheel to see who wins the gift card!
  • Then I send an email announcement with the video to my piano families.
  • Last, I send the gift card to the winner.


Practice challenge chart with piano keys, yeti, and bear


Host Your Own Practice Challenge

Summer Vibes Piano Practice Challenge Charts with piano keys, crab, jellyfish, coral, fish, seaweed


Share About Your Studio Practice Challenge

  1. Join my Facebook group for piano teachers and let us know how your studio practice challenge goes! Be sure to answer all of the membership questions to be admitted into the group. I look forward to seeing you there!
  2. Follow me and tag me on Instagram when you share photos or videos of your practice challenge: @melodypaynepiano
  3. Follow my page and tag me on Facebook when you share photos or videos of your practice challenge: Melody Payne – Music for a Lifetime


Click here to join my Facebook Group for piano teachers

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Melody Payne

Melody Payne

Dr. Melody Payne is a pianist, teacher, and educational resource author who believes that all piano students deserve the best musical experiences possible, in every single lesson. Melody self-publishes pedagogical materials for piano students as well as piano teaching articles and professional development courses for piano teachers. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Music with emphases in music education and piano pedagogy and a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music through the Music Teachers National Association. Melody and her husband Greg live in Marion, Virginia, a small town nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, where she teaches children and adults of all ages and abilities in her online piano studio.

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Hi! I’m Melody Payne, a pianist and piano teacher, educational resource author, a fun-loving wife to the most wonderful and talented hubby I could ask for, and a lifelong learner who loves to share. I want to make your life as a music teacher easier by writing and sharing helpful and relevant music teaching articles, and by creating educational resources with your very own students in mind. If you are a parent who wants to enroll your child in piano lessons, I’d love for us to get started building those skills that can give your child a lifetime of musical enjoyment!

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