Clipped Corner Theory Challenge

Ultimate Music Theory - Clipped Theory Corner

When you mark a Theory Page in your Student's Ultimate Music Theory Workbook, and the page is finished, complete, and 100% correct, what do you do?  Are you the kind of teacher who:

  • puts a sticker on the top of the page?
  • puts a check mark on the top of the page?
  • doesn't put anything on the top of the page?

I like to put a sticker at the top of each completed page.  I also like to quickly and easily know what pages my Student has completed in their Workbook, so I clip corners!  With the Clipped Corners, when I open their Workbook, I flip to the first "unclipped" corner and I know that I need to start marking on that page.  (It saves me a lot of time!)

For years, my teaching room floor would be littered with little confetti corners from completed Theory Workbook pages!  This year, we started the Clipped Corner Theory Challenge... and it is a HIT!!

Step #1 - Create a Container

I created the Clipped Corner Theory Challenge to motivate my Students.  Each Student received a Clipped Corner Container to save all their Clipped Corners in (for this Teaching Year).

To create your individual containers for each Student's Clipped Corners, take your teaching space into consideration.  These Containers are typically NOT sent home with each Student (unless you teach at the Student's home!).  They will remain in your Studio (to avoid the temptation of Students adding Clipped Corners from other books to augment their "stash" AND to keep them safe from being lost).

I purchased some plastic jars at the Dollar Store.  These store nicely in a small tote box in my studio.  Other ideas for Containers are:

  • Large Business Sized Envelopes (9 x 13 inch envelopes work well!)
  • Medium Zipper-Lock style of Freezer Bags
  • Empty (clean) recycled Margarine containers
  • Small Tupperware style cups with lids

When you Create a Container for each Student's clipped corners, it is nice to have each Student decorate their own (and write their name on it).  I have used foam letters, stickers and permanent markers.  Have fun!

Then, when each Student has their own Clipped Corner Container, the clipped corners from completed Theory Workbook Pages are placed in the Container.  Students then have a visual reminder of all the Theory Pages they are completing (and it often motivates Students to complete even MORE Theory Pages!).


Ultimate Music Theory The Clipped Corner Challenge Container

Step #2 - Create a Challenge

So-La and Ti-Do are integral parts of my Teaching Studio.  I like to "use" them to motivate my Students in both their piano, voice and theory studies.

For the Clipped Corner Theory Challenge, So-La and Ti-Do "challenged" my Students to complete extra theory pages.

Each lesson, I assign each Student their "typical" Theory Work.  For my Ultimate Music Theory Beginner A, B, C Workbook Students, this is usually 1 to 4 pages of Theory each week.

For my Students in the Prep 1 and Prep 2 Workbook Series, they are typically assigned 2 to 4 pages.  For my Prep 1 Rudiments Students, we also add the Prep Supplemental Workbook followed by the LEVEL One Supplemental Workbook.

For my Prep 2 Rudiments Students, we also use the LEVEL Two Supplemental Workbook followed by the LEVEL Three Supplemental Workbook.

For my more advanced Students, we assign 2 to 8 pages in their:

  • Basic Rudiments Workbook and LEVEL Four Supplemental Workbook (followed by the LEVEL Five Supplemental Workbook);
  • Intermediate Rudiments Workbook and LEVEL Six Supplemental Workbook (followed by the LEVEL Seven Supplemental Workbook);
  • Advanced Rudiments Workbook and their LEVEL Eight Supplemental Workbook.

And yes, I love the Supplemental Workbooks and use them with ALL my Students.  Not all my Students are in the RCM Theory Exam Stream, but I find the History and Melody Writing/Composing components SO MUCH FUN to teach!  My Students also enjoy learning how to read Root/Quality Chord Symbols (which makes creating and improvising easy).

Ultimate Music Theory Clipped Corner Theory Challenge

Step #3 - Celebrate The Clipped Corners!

When a Student meets or exceeds their Clipped Corner Challenge, I like to Celebrate Their Success with a photo.  That 1 minute that it takes to snap a picture and email or text it to a Parent/Guardian is PRICELESS!

The Parent/Guardian has a chance to share the music lesson experience with their child.  The child feels appreciated for the work that they did (and it often motivates them to do even more during the next week).

And it is easy when you use your Ultimate Music Theory Whiteboard.  These Whiteboards have a Keyboard and Staff on one side, and a "blank" dry erase board on the other side.  In my studios, I simply erase the number that indicates the number of clipped corners and reuse this "template" with the next Student.

Ultimate Music Theory

What Happens Next?

The great thing about this Clipped Corner Theory Challenge is that it can be a year long Studio Challenge OR you can set the Challenge to last for a certain number of weeks.  (For Example, a 10 Week Clipped Corner Theory Challenge.)

At the end of the Teaching Year or at the end of your Challenge, count those Clipped Corners!  Remember that each clipped corner equals two pages of completed theory (front and back of each page).

My Students do not know this yet, but every Student who has participated in the Clipped Corner Theory Challenge this year will be invited out for Ice Cream or Fudge at this really cute Family run Ice Cream and Fudge Parlor here in Brockville.  I love supporting Family Run Businesses.  (Ultimate Music Theory is a "Family Run Business"!)

Students will be given an invitation with a "pick one of these options" check list so that the Ice Cream and Fudge Parlor can be prepared AND so that the Students don't try to "upsell" their choices!  (And I will be able to let the Parlor know exactly what we will be ordering.)

I figure that it will cost me $4 per Student.  Here in Canada, I can claim this as a Studio Expense on my income tax.  However, the cost of the Ice Cream or Fudge is worth every penny.  (Oh wait, we don't have pennies in Canada any more....)  The cost of the Ice Cream or Fudge is worth every "rounded up or down to every nickel".  (Gee, that doesn't sound nearly as fun!)

When a Parent and Student feel a part of a Celebration in your Studio, they are definitely motivated to continue being a part of your Studio.  And when a Student knows that their is a reward at the end of the Challenge, they are definitely more motivated to do their Theory!

Here is where I want YOU to get creative.  How will you Celebrate the end of the Clipped Corner Theory Challenge in your studio?  I would love to hear your ideas!


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