Don’t Wait for Carnegie Hall: Recognizing Achievement in Young Piano Students


By McKenna Rammell, Assistant Director

I believe recognizing achievement early equals SUCCESS for piano students. Celebrating milestones means students gain confidence and are more likely to succeed at other life activities they choose. Many of us think the success of piano lessons comes after years of hard work: the”Carnegie Hall” moment. For instance, when a student auditions for a college music program, when they debut their first music album, or when they can sit down and read whatever music they want to. These are all wonderful long-term achievements! However, along the way to these long-term successes, I believe parents, teachers, and students can easily miss equally important achievements in piano lessons that are crucial stepping stones to the “Carnegie Hall” moment. That is why at Utah Piano Conservatory, we make it a point to recognize when a student reaches a major checkpoint in their piano lessons! For example, when a student finishes all three of their method books of a certain level, they are awarded “Golden Bench”! (See our blog post, “We Love the Golden Bench!”). I want to share three stories of REAL piano students who are reaching for success at piano lessons RIGHT NOW.

The firstdaniel-2 sm student is Daniel. Daniel is 8 years old. He has been taking piano lessons since April of this year. In August, he was nominated for the Honors Division by his piano teacher. In September, Daniel added 30 extra minutes of lesson time to his piano lessons as part of the Honors Division (See This past week, Daniel reached “Golden Bench” for the first time. As part of the award, he was able to choose from a box of large candy. He chose skittles, but he wasn’t just excited about the skittles! He came into the Pass-Off Room to tell one of his piano teachers all about his BRAND NEW books! I was there, and could see the excitement radiating in his face. I knew at tMark 40 pieceshat moment that Daniel wouldn’t be quitting anytime soon. I knew he felt like he was reaching great heights in his musical career, and I knew he would be motivated to work even harder to earn his next achievement.

The second student is Mark. Mark has been in piano lessons for over a year at Piano Academy. At some point, he took advantage of one of our most time-consuming challenges at Utah Piano Conservatory. He decided he wanted to complete the 40-Piece Challenge! (See “40 Piano Pieces in One Year – A Different Take on Piano Lessons”). In a year, Mark learned 40 songs and passed them off to his solo teacher, in addition to his other piano assignments. This earned Mark a name plate on our “40-Piece Challenge” recognition plaque! Imagine knowing 40 songs you are able to sit down and just play! How many people say that’s EXACTLY what they want from piano lessons? Mark didn’t wait until he could read really difficult repertoire to achieve this goal, he decided he could achieve it NOW.

The last student is img_3613 (3) smBrigham. Last week his piano teacher was talking with Brigham’s mother to schedule Brigham’s solo recital . . . . HIS OWN solo recital. Brigham is around the same age as Daniel and Mark. He has been preparing 10 songs to play for this solo recital! All of these pieces will be memorized, polished, and nearly error-free. Or in other words, all of them will be performance-ready. How many young piano students are featured in their own solo recital? How many feel they can pencil in a date for such a performance, and are confident enough to perform? Brigham didn’t wait until his sophomore recital in college. He took advantage of the opportunity to perform NOW. And not just in a recital that happens once or twice a year and “call it good”. He decided he knew enough and was confident enough to have his own recital, an achievement that will earn him a name plate on our “Solo Recital” recognition plaque.

If you or your child is not feeling successful in piano lessons, consider some of these reachable achievements! These three examples are only a few of the many we offer at Utah Piano Conservatory. These students are also a sample of the many students who are reaching for similar achievements in our conservatory! So, don’t wait for your “Carnegie Hall” moment. Let us help you experience success, at ALL stages of piano lessons. Our talented faculty, our mission, and programs are all designed to help students succeed, not just in piano lessons. In every aspect of their lives! (Click here for more info.)  Come join us at Utah Piano Conservatory today!

Contact me at 385-219-0774.