Healthy competition that encourages collaboration, talent, and self-esteem
It’s impossible to please all of your participants with song choice, especially when they’re at different skill levels and have different musical tastes. So, how do you keep everyone engaged? A Cover Song Challenge is a great way to increase participants’ motivation, give them a sense of choice/independence, and recognize their efforts. Active participants, beginners, and members who wouldn’t usually get involved all have the opportunity to try new things, collaborate, and showcase their skills.
Participants will experience…
Motivation – performers get out of their comfort zone, sing in a band/group, perform in front of others, and improve their skills
Choice/independence – allows singers, instrumentalists, and staff a common playlist of popular song options (that they can choose from) to learn and play together
Recognition – singers learn about finding their unique voice and talents as an artists and are recognized and mentored through the competition
Plan a Master Schedule for the semester for the Cover Song Challenge
For example, the typical after-school music program runs 8-12 weeks during the Fall and Spring, and 8-10 weeks during the Summer.
Plan an entire semester’s worth of weekly “Cover Song Challenge” themes. Try to create categories that can be achievable at any skill level (beginner – advanced). See “Sample Cover Song Challenge themes” below:
Create a “Cover Song Challenge” approved Song List
Choose a diverse set of popular songs with participants’ musical tastes in mind. Also be mindful of the level of difficulty and have song materials ready and adapted for various skill levels.
FYI: By limiting song options from a common playlist, you give participants a sense “guided choice.” They are in control of what song they choose (even if it’s from a list of popular and current songs that most participants will like). This also allows the staff to focus on and prepare learning materials (i.e. tablature, sheet music, song form, lyric sheets, and lesson materials) for a realistic amount of songs.
Each week, post a new cover song challenge in a prominent location (like on a bulletin board, etc.)
Participants work with staff and their peers to prepare their cover song, including:
Selecting a song from the approved Song List
Learning, practicing, and rehearsing individually or with a group
Receiving feedback from vocal instructors/staff
Setting up a recording session or performance (for their submission)
Submitting their Cover Song Challenge
By end-of-day Thursday, participants must submit their cover song
Encourage participants to submit their entries using:
Cell phone audio or video
iPad audio or video
A multi-tracked session in the studio
On Friday, as a group, listen to each cover song and choose a winner for the week