“Karate Belt” Reward System

Want ninja level musicians?! Help your participants earn a musical “black belt.”  

A black belt in karate is a badge of honor representing the highest level of skill. The “Karate Belt” Reward System uses different color guitar picks (similar to “karate belts”) to reward participants’ progress and motivate them to achieve their goals on instruments or music technology.

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How to…

  • Determine what skills participants must demonstrate in order to “level up” on each instrument or music technology gear. Then print and display the “karate belt” requirements for each instrument.
    • The Sample “Karate Belt” Reward System Achievements chart below uses 5 colors, each representing different levels of achievement plus an exclusive club called “The Red-Hot Pick Society” for anyone earning a purple pick on 3 or more instruments
  • Create an incentive chart to visually track and help motivate participants’ achievements.
  • With help from instructors, participants work to earn each colored guitar pick to add to their necklace.
    • Note: If a participant earns their “Yellow” rank in more than one instrument, no need to give them another yellow guitar pick for their necklace. Instead, simply note their achievement on the incentive board.
  • Participants wear their multi-colored guitar pick necklace that proudly displays their rank.

The recommended equipment list below is an example that would serve approximately 30 participants. Your needs and quantities may vary (depending on # of participants).

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New Participant Orientation Tools

Expecting lots of new kids this Fall? Set them up for success with these handy tools!

Download the bundle of all of the New Participant Orientation Tools

or choose an individual resource:

New Participant Orientation Process

New Participant Orientation Process

Help break the ice and welcome new participants so they can make music right away! ...
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Sample House Rules

Sample House Rules

Help establish expectations for all participants and ensure proper use of the equipment and facilities.  ...
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Equipment Orientation Worksheets

Equipment Orientation Worksheets

These quick Equipment Orientation Worksheets are perfect for beginners on amp, bass, drums, guitar, mics, ...
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Musical Poster Boards

Musical Poster Boards

Large posters you can print and hang in your music room to help remind participants ...
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Sample House Rules

Help establish expectations for all participants and ensure proper use of the equipment and facilities. 

Horseplay, attitudes, and broken equipment unfortunately come with the territory when working with youth. One way to curtail this is by developing a set of House Rules for your program, ideally with input and buy-in from some of your youth participants. The rules set expectations for general behavior and for how they handle musical equipment.

In addition:

  • Creates a sense of pride in the music program
  • Makes it less likely that equipment becomes damaged or broken
  • Avoids dangerous or disruptive sound levels

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How to…

While each music program is encouraged to establish their own set of “house rules” (based on your organization’s mission and core values) we have provided the following example:

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Sample Daily Schedule (Word Version)

Save time by downloading our sample daily schedule and customizing for your music program

This editable word document includes days of the week, typical after-school programming hours and a variety of programming activities. Download now and customize so you can get back to making music with your participants!

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