Today, I created this studio chart to help incentivize my students to learn their scales and I thought I’d share how I did it, in case anyone would like to make a similar one.
- Poster board
- Word processor, computer, internet connection.
- Printer and printer paper.
- A yardstick or T-square to help you draw straightish lines.
- Spray glue and/or a glue stick.
- Scissors or paper cutter.
- Watercolor paints (optional).
- Take a normal-sized poster and cute in half lengthwise.
- Follow this link to download the Chisel Mark font by SavanasDesign at TheHungryJPEG.com. It’s free to download. You just have to create an account (which isn’t so bad because they email you about free products that way!)
- Install the font. If you are on a mac, you simply go to the font where it downloaded, open the file that is either .ttf or .otf and then click “install font.”
- Open your word processor. Type in the text you want in your chart so that you can cut it out and paste it to your poster board. If you’d just like to use mine, you can find it here, but please note it won’t look the same unless you’ve already downloaded the font.
- Decide on your background. I chose to use this circus-themed background which I purchased for $1 on TheHungryJPEG.com. They have tons of $1 deals as well as free graphics that you can use if you want to keep your budget low. It’s one of my new favorite resources when I create things for my students (I used to hand-draw a lot of things! Crazy, I know.). NOTE: When I used this background, I chose to set it at slightly transparent so it wouldn’t overwhelm other elements of the design. You might experiment with what you want.
- Take your background and open it in a different page in your word processor. Size it to print to fill the whole page. If you have a printer that can print legal-sized paper, use that setting.
- Now gather your materials to construct your poster.
- Cut out the words you printed that you intend to use as the Title of the poster and as the Headings for each column.
- Take your background paper and trim bleed areas so that when you layer on poster board it will not have extra white space. I needed four pages of my pattern to cover my poster, for reference.
- Cover surface with newspaper or other protective layer. Lightly spray poster with adhesive spray and position the background images so that the entire poster is covered with the pattern. Overlap and trim as necessary. Allow a couple of minutes to dry.
- Use glue stick to adhere the Title near the top of the poster board. Be careful to make sure it’s relatively straight.
- Below the Title, use the glue stick to put your column headings in place. If you typed up your students’ names to label the rows, also put those in place but make sure you leave room for names of any transfer or new students you might get in the coming months. (Also, pro tip, this is probably obvious but, when a student leaves, just white out their name and replace it with new name of student if you need room.)
- (Optional): Use watercolor paint and a brush to lightly paint the background of each column heading and the title. I found this helped them stand out a little better from the background.
- Use a T-square or ruler and draw your grid so that each student has a space under each scale where you could put an “X” or a sticker to show success. I recommend tracing the lines in pencil lightly, then going back over with a sharpie.
To use in your studio:
- Select a prize or prizes that will appeal to all students that they can earn by completing the chart. Add an additional prize for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd students to finish. In my studio, I offer discounts to adults and special toys for children. For the girls, they win a charm bracelet and with each new prize-winning feat, they get musical charms to add to it.
- Instruct students on the rules. Important: Make it so that the student must play the scale correctly multiple times before they pass on to the next scale. I suggest five good repetitions to make sure the scale is truly ingrained in their memories.
- When a student “completes” a scale, put a sticker by their name under the scale. Make sure to explain to them that the sticker does not mean that they will never have to play the scale again and plan to do a scale “check-up” a few lessons in the future.
This is my plan on how to encourage students. We shall see if it works or not. Please feel free to comment with tips, suggestions, questions or anything relevant!
I’ll update in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going!