Awards for passing books?


Lois Reiter said: May 9, 2018
Lois Reiter
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Gatesville, TX
13 posts

Do any of you give awards for passing books? I’ve taken over directing the Suzuki string portion of a large pre-college music program. We have certificates for Twinkles and Book 1. The person who preceded me did ribbons for books 2 & 3 and then medals after that. I’d like to honor the hard work for students but see the medals as getting pretty expensive and after raising my own children and seeing what happened to awards (bottom of a drawer, left home, what do I do with all this “stuff”, I’m trying to figure out what is best. Any thoughts???

Arlene said: May 9, 2018
Arlene Patterson
Suzuki Association Member
Longmont, CO
15 posts

My Twinkle graduates earn a Star Student award.

It’s a “gold” medal on a ribbon with “Star Student” written on the medal.
The medal is presented along with a pair of star shaped sunglasses.

I order both items from Oriental Trading company (online or catalog). Very inexpensive, lots of fun, and I think an appropriate incentive for and recognition of that hard work at the very early stages.


Karen Stefanik Collins said: May 9, 2018
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Cello
Summerfield, NC
5 posts

My students do a graduation recital/celebration for each book, earning a ribbon for each graduation. Young Musicians has a different colored ribbon for Twinkle and each Suzuki Volume (1-10). My own children (adults now) have these displayed in their bedrooms. The ribbons from Young Musicians come 5/pkg and are affordable—my students really look forward to their graduations!

Karen Stefanik Collins
Suzuki Violin

Lois Reiter said: May 10, 2018
Lois Reiter
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Gatesville, TX
13 posts

Thanks so much—and especially for the best place to order them!

Anne Brennand said: May 11, 2018
Anne Brennand
Suzuki Association Member
Cello, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Boulder, CO
55 posts

Hi all. I feel I need to compare musical accomplishment with intramural sports, particularly given where I reside, in Boulder Colorado. I therefore make sure each graduation is followed and enhanced by a reward/award medal.

For Twinkle graduations, as these are mainly very young students, I keep this simple, with a cello lapel pin. For advancing students, I choose a medal on a ribbon, inscribed with the year and Book, (about $3 each, from most awards organizations). The student who accomplishes completion of all 10 Books merits an inscribed star trophy, harkening back to the Twinkle pin.

In many ways I dislike this commercial physical award, and in other ways honor current culture—this is the way of things in sports and other venues. Does it matter to the student and family? That is the real final question.

Anne Brennand, cellist and cello teacher

Kathryn Reeves said: May 23, 2018
Suzuki Association Member
9 posts

For Book 1, I made my girls I small shoulder bag in their favorite colors, and for the boys a wallet using an outdoor woodsman theme. Book 2 has not been determined yet.

Alicia Johnson said: May 26, 2018
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Harlingen, TX
5 posts

For book 1 I give a Book 1 ribbon and I have the student pin a Violin pin on the parent who practiced with them. For Twinkles. I give a I can twinkle ribbon and also ribbons for the other books As other awards I have given Symphony bars along with the ribbon


Gina Devirro said: May 30, 2018
 19 posts

A parent here. My kid has had these physical awards raining down on her for everything thing she has ever participated in until they are pretty meaningless. When she was younger (age 5-9) she was receiving a small ribbon on a pin for each book graduation that she enjoyed pinning and collecting on her cello case, and it was kind of a fun reminder of each milestone as she made her way through the books. Anything beyond that (medals and such) will be appreciated for about 2 minutes, then will just clutter a drawer. For older students, I would just skip it altogether.

Joanne Shannon said: May 30, 2018
Joanne Shannon
Suzuki Association Member
Los Angeles, CA
142 posts

I’m not into awards much. Since the eighties I have printed on my computer an award for each polished piece (students have to go through a lot for me to call it “polished”. I noticed several students store them in their notebook, who knows what happens to the rest of them.. And, they are only presented at group lessons so there is personal recognition for their accomplishments.

When I have personally received pins for whatever, I’ve never worn them and they collect in a drawer somewhere.

Janse Vincent said: May 31, 2018
Janse Vincent
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
Madison, WI
6 posts

Beautiful graduation/recognition certificates are available to order on the SAA website. They are personalized, have a gold seal and say they are from the SAA. Our program presents these for Book and Twinkle graduation at special twice yearly recitals.

Jean Petree said: May 31, 2018
 Flute, Viola, Violin
2 posts

It might be fun to have an ongoing charm bracelet system. Not sure it would do much for the boys, though.

Karen said: Jun 1, 2018
Karen Huffman
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Portland, OR
29 posts

Graduation certificates are out of stock :(

Nancy Brown said: Jun 15, 2018
Nancy Brown
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Charlotte, NC
8 posts

I have given a certificate and a small composer bust at book graduation recitals, usually a composer from the upcoming book. I tell them they will be meeting that composer and learning a piece written by them. I try to keep track, so hopefully siblings will get someone different. They display them on their piano, and they have them there for years. They seem excited when they can add to their collection. I encourage a notebook to hold all the music recital programs and award certificates in plastic sleeves earned from other music accomplishments. Looking back at these milestones can bring a sense of accomplishment and visitors may enjoy seeing them as well.

Anita Knight said: Jun 15, 2018
Anita Knight
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Kent, WA
26 posts

This is a topic near to my heart!

When my 6 sons were studying Suzuki violin and traditional piano, their piano teacher had a system of awards that made my boys practice and I did NOT have to remind them—they were so motivated! I’d beg our Suzuki teacher(s) to consider it, and now it is foundational to my studio! This is what awards look like for me:

Each week the student may earn an “Awesome Lesson” This requires: a) minimum of 5 days of practice b) come back with the lesson prepared.
They then get a big A on their practice sheet, or my Awesome Lesson! stamp.
At the end of the month, if they have all Awesomes, they get a prize from the prize box (piano teacher had King Size candy bars—that was worth practicing for them!). At the end of the year, I pass out Awesome Lesson trophies ($3.75@ at the local trophy store).
They also earn trophies for 100 Day Practice Club, which we celebrate with an ice cream party at Group Lesson. Everyone brings their favorite topping and we enjoy after group.
At this time, I also award trophies for Book Recitals, each getting bigger, and ribbons for completing books (I ordered from the source someone shared on this topic- thank you).

The weekly Awesome Lessons give me ALOT of leverage with the student—you sounded great, but didn’t practice 5 days, or “You practiced alot, but I can’t tell from how you played”, in both cases followed by… “I know you really want an awesome, lets try this… for next time!”.

I have a few trophies (from my sons) in the studio. I’ll have students come in with big eyes asking “How do I get one of THOSE?!”.

Its turned into a great event of honoring those who have worked hard, and building community and good will. I want to be that teacher, like our piano teacher was, and this is a powerful tool to be there!

Anita Knight
“Joyful Sound Violin Studio”

Mengwei Shen said: Jun 16, 2018
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
221 posts

“The weekly Awesome Lessons give me ALOT of leverage with the student—you sounded great, but didn’t practice 5 days, or “You practiced alot, but I can’t tell from how you played”, in both cases followed by… “I know you really want an awesome, lets try this… for next time!”.”

Anita—I am pondering enforcing practice chart usage soon and have wondered how to address the incongruity of practice chart not matching playing or playing not matching practice chart. This is awesome!

Anita Knight said: Jun 16, 2018
Anita Knight
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Kent, WA
26 posts

Mengwei, good for you!
At the beginning of each lesson i look at the practice sheet and comment on the number of days practiced, and occasionally on how much time they’re practicing.
Then after the lesson all i have to say is “That was an awesome lesson! But I’m sad i can’t give it to you if you haven’t documented the days you practiced!” At that point (or at beginning), mom and student quickly figure out and mark in the days practiced. That emphasizes the value of keeping track and they do it without needing to be ‘enforced’. Helps them take ownership!
Keep me posted on how it goes!

Anita Knight
“Joyful Sound Violin Studio”

Emily Morgan said: Jun 27, 2018
Emily Morgan
Suzuki Association Member
Jamestown, NC
17 posts

Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I now have many great ideas that I can implement this next school year. I especially like Anita’s idea about Awesome lesson sticker or stamp each week. For me, trophies have never been motivating. But I can understand that for some kids who are already very involved in sports and used to getting a trophy for everything, trophy (or candy bar) would be very motivating.

Kiyoko said: Jul 26, 2018
 95 posts

Maybe I’m old school, but I still have my Solo and Ensemble medals. Those were awarded based on performance level and you had the option to purchase them. I’d say interest in the medals for older kids will depend on quality. If it’s somthing nice they can pin on a backpack or school jacket, they’ll enjoy it.

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Public discussion forum posts are viewable by anyone. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Private forums are viewable by anyone that is a part of that private forum's group. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Please do not use the discussion forums to advertise products or services