40 Piece Challenge

40 piece challengeAre you one of the many teachers that is motivating their students with the amazing 30 or 40 piece challenge? If you don’t know anything about it or haven’t tried it yet, stop everything and consider the benefits that teachers from around the world are reporting:

  • Better sight reading skills
  • Exposure to more styles of music
  • A better “sense” of accomplishment for the student
  • Overall faster progress
  • More teacher satisfaction, knowing you are motivating students with music

Everything We Want in an Incentive Program

It might sound too good to be true, but that’s just what it does. It’s everything we really want! The idea is that you challenge your students to learn and polish 30 or 40 pieces during the year. These can be recital pieces, holiday pieces, pieces for the school talent show, hymn arrangements, method book pieces (as long as they are 16 measures…that’s my rule), or any piece they have to read!

Can My Piano Students Do It?

If you are worried that they can’t possibly get through that many pieces, remember that the key is that you give them not only challenging pieces, and pieces at their level, but also pieces that area easier than their level so that they get through a lot of literature and you can expose them to many styles of music. ALL of this reading of music results in better readers and really gives a sense of accomplishment to students which is paramount especially in the school age years (stay tune for more on attending a “Have You Forgotten What It’s Like to be a Child” workshop!).

The resources you can download by pressing the button include:

  • More links to how to implement the program
  • 3 sets of 30 piece challenge charts
  • 3 sets of 40 piece challenge charts
  • A few ideas on incentives

Download the Free 30 and 40 Piece Challenge Charts

Download the charts, read what Elissa Milne has to say about how to get started (she invented it), and let me know what you think! Download the charts by pressing the button and then entering your email and pressing the button to have them sent to your inbox!

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  1. Amy Boze August 19, 2015 at 6:29 am

    How do you balance between loaning out music for the challenge vs. students buying more music? And do you give them less selection on what to play? at least on the easier songs? I’m going to start this, but the nitty-gritty part has me curious how it all works.

  2. Wendy Stevens August 19, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Hi Amy,

    There might be others that would chime in here. You might also read those posts that Elissa Milne has about them as she might comment too. I personally seek to find an easier anthology of pieces that work so that costs stay low. I don’t give them any say-so in the easier pieces, but they are welcome to bring some in or bring in books in their library to see if they would work too. As a matter of fact, I have families that have donated books to my “library” over the years that I loan out and I’ll bet that if you sent out an email and asked families if they have any books they’d like to give away, you might end up with an entire lending library.

    I’ve also used a number of the studio licensed pieces from various composers because printing costs are so low. Daniel McFarlane is one I’ve used a lot (and of course you could use my studio licensed pieces that way too!). 🙂

    I hope that helps!


  3. Brenda Slocum August 19, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    I am tryint to sign up for the 30 challange…the green button is not showing up. Just order info on various songs. Can you help?

  4. Wendy Stevens August 20, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Hi Brenda,

    The button is purple and at the end of the post. If you can’t see it, then just click the picture of the charts and a pop up will allow you to enter your email and click the green button from there.

    Hope that helps!


  5. Kerri August 27, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I used the 40 piece challenge in my studio last year and had a fantastic experience. I even have a couple of students who learned more than 100 pieces (they practice very hard (one averages 75 min a day at 9) and have a mother who sits with them, so they are out of the ordinary, but even the more average practicers have had great success.

    Thanks for your work on these charts!

  6. […] and Composer Wendy Stevens has created new downloadable charts for teachers. Follow the link to read her whole blog and to get […]

  7. Earle Kratowicz September 3, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Learning a piece from scratch involves different skills and different parts of the brain from playing pieces we already know. If we are constantly keeping these particular grey cells active, they get faster and stronger and this makes processing new material quicker and easier.

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