Piano Lessons Blog - Achievement in Music

Achievement in Music

All this month, our Honors students have been participating in the Achievement in Music (AIM) program. AIM evaluates students on performance, technique, sight reading, theory, and ear training in ten, progressively more-challenging levels. Students must achieve an average score of seventy percent or higher on levels one through five to progress to the next level, and eighty percent or higher on levels six through ten. The intent is that a student will start with level one in third grade and progress through level ten by the time he or she is a senior in high school, but students may start at any age and at any level.

AIM is an excellent way to track students' progress, provide motivation for working on more tedious aspects of piano such as technique and ear training, and give a structure for learning these aspects in a gradual way, building upon knowledge and skills developed in previous levels. One thing I especially like about the AIM program is that its focus is on the achievement of each student, each student's progress, and how they are becoming better than they were before.

So far, our Honors students have completed their theory, ear training, sight reading, and technique evaluations. Teachers proctor the theory and ear training tests for their own students, so I have been administering those during their Honors lessons for the past three weeks, and I'm pleased to say that our students have done quite well and, if the same holds true for their other evaluations, will each pass their current level and progress on to the next one.

Sight reading and technique evaluations are done at the same time, but students are judged by a teacher other than their own. I took my turn judging technique and sight reading a week ago, and it was a good experience for me to see the abilities of other teachers' students and give them scores based on their skills and levels of preparation. It gave me insight into how I can better prepare each of my own students for such evaluations.

This current week will be a time of final preparation and confidence-building as I help students make that final leap to complete readiness for the performance evaluations. Wish them luck!

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