UMT-ALS Theory Challenge


The Theory Challenge

Looking for a way to inspire and motivate your students to complete theory (without bribery and candy)? Why not try a Theory Challenge! It's a great way to teach students about theory and about giving to others.

4 Steps to Setting up the Theory Challenge

Theory Challenge Set-Up Step #1 - Select a Charity

Is there a charity that is near and dear to your heart? Perhaps you have a "Music Family" with a special need.

When you have selected a Charity for your Theory Challenge, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I donate easily to this Charity?
  • Can my "Music Family members" donate easily if they want to match donations?
  • Does the Charity provide an Income Tax Receipt?
  • Can I explain the reason for choosing this Charity easily to my students, especially my youngest students?

Theory Challenge Set-Up Step #2 - Select a Time Length

Are you going to run your Theory Challenge for a specific number of weeks? A good length might be from 4 to 6 Weeks. Just ensure that you have enough time to motivate and encourage your students (and send the parents an email reminder or two).

Theory Challenge Set-Up Step #3 - Create the Ultimate Music Theory Challenge Goal

UMT-ALS-Aydan1-Theory-ChallengeUltimate Music Theory Workbooks were printed so that the Teacher can "clip" the bottom corner of each page when the student has completed (correctly!) both sides of the pages.

An easy Theory Challenge Goal is to place all "clipped" pages in a special container as the students complete their theory. At the end of your Theory Challenge Time Period, count all the clipped corners in the container. For each clipped corner, you will donate so much money (a dime, a quarter, a dollar, whatever works for you) to the Charity.

Theory Challenge Set-Up Step #4 - Challenge Your Students (and Parents)

And now you are ready to create your email or newsletter outlining your challenge. Send it to your students and parents. If your parents have signed a Media Release Form (allowing you to take and post pictures and videos online of their child/children), then take pictures to celebrate your students completing their challenge.

Some charities even allow you to create a Web Page to keep track of donations. When your Challenge is complete, celebrate with your students. You can even contact your local newspaper and share how your students have raised money for Charity. Watch the UMT-ALS Challenge!

The UMT-ALS Challenge

UMT-ALS-Eve1-Theory-ChallengeMy challenge to my students was the UMT-ALS Theory Challenge.

For 6 weeks, every time my students completed pages in their Ultimate Music Theory Workbooks, we clipped the corners and placed them in a special container.

Each clipped corner earned a $1.00 donation to support families with ALS and 1 ice cube in the bucket that would be dumped on my head. My home studio students completed 122 pages of theory for a total of 61 clipped corners.

I also have a studio at Academie-catholique Ange-Gabriel where I teach privately during the day (and, since this is a French School, the Students call me "Madame Shelagh"). My Ange-Gabriel students completed 192 pages of Ultimate Music Theory for a total of 96 clipped corners.

UMT-ALS-5-Theory-ChallengeSo, on (Canadian) Thanksgiving Monday, I had over 157 Ice Cubes dumped on my head AND I donated $157 to support families with ALS.

I challenged my Parents to check their child's Ultimate Music Theory Workbook to see how many pages were clipped during our Theory Challenge and to support families with ALS with a donation of their own.

The first donation I received? It was from my dear friend Glory St. Germain - Founder and CEO of Ultimate Music Theory. Thanks Glory!

My Next Theory Challenge

My students were so excited to be raising money for Charity (or dumping ice on my head), they want to do another Theory Challenge! So for 5 weeks, each clipped corner = 1 dog bone = a donation to a campaign to purchase an Autism Support Dog for a student at our school who has Autism.

P.S. - Join the Conversation! Have you ever held a Theory Challenge to raise money for a Charity near and dear to your heart? Share you story with us below.


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Keep on Learning... With a Smile and a Song!

Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren


1 thoughts on “UMT-ALS Theory Challenge”

  • Glory says:

    Congratulations to you and your students Shelagh! Great job with the UMT-ALS challenge. Helping others while learning. I’m proud of you. P.S. Throw in a few extra ice cubes for me!

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