“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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Sample House Rules

Set expectations and ensure proper use of the equipment and facilities.

Your Music Studio likely has a bunch of state of the art equipment – it should be viewed as a privilege for your teens to have access to this specialty program.  Setting appropriate expectations for behavior is a good way to reinforce a sense of ownership among the teens.  

We recommend establishing a set of House Rules, ideally with the input and buy-in from some of your participants. The rules set expectations for general behavior and for how to handle musical equipment.

A set of House Rules is intended to like a “contract”, where the participant agrees to a certain set of standards in order to have the privilege of accessing all the benefits of the program.  Use the example below to develop House Rules that make sense for your program.

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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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