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Piano Olympics - 10th Annual Year!

On the 10th anniversary of Piano Olympics, we thought it fitting to highlight a student who has been with us all the way.  Ethan Vu, a senior at New Berlin Eisenhower, has participated in Piano Olympics since 2014.  In our inaugural year, third-grader Ethan dipped his toes in the water by entering in just two events—white major 5-finger scales and white major tonic triads.  When he successfully earned his blue ribbons, he was encouraged to try for more the next year.  As a fourth grader, he passed three events.    Along with the previous year’s two events, he was now up to five passed events.  This Ethan earned his first gold medal.  From that point forward, Ethan was hooked.  Each year he entered 5 events (the maximum number allowed) and each year earned blue ribbons and a gold medal.  He even earned 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45-point pins, an incentive designed to encourage older students to continue with Piano Olympics and master more piano skills.  Over the course of these past 10 years Ethan has progressed to learning all major events (scales, arpeggios, chords, and cadences) and most of the minor ones (natural and harmonic scales), not to mention inversions, dominant sevenths, and diminished chords.  When asked what he likes best about Piano Olympics, Ethan said, “I like the way Piano Olympics makes learning technical skills fun.”

Ethan Vu Pic.JPG

About Piano Olympics

The purpose of this event is:

     a. to establish a firm technical base for our students, and

     b. to demonstrate that the practice of scales, chords,                      cadences, and arpeggios CAN BE FUN!

Click here for a history of Piano Olympics

The Piano Olympics events are divided into three categories: 

     1. Five-finger Patterns and Scales

     2. Chords and Cadences  

     3. Arpeggios

For each event, the student will be awarded a Blue Ribbon or a Red Ribbon based upon the score made on the rating sheet.  The Blue Ribbon is for an outstanding performance and Red Ribbon is Honorable Mention or “good try.”  If a student earns the Blue Ribbon, they cannot enter that same event again.  He or she has passed the event and must move on to another event.  If a student earns the Red Ribbon, he or she may enter that event again next year (with the exception of events 101-116), and in fact must enter again in order to pass that event.  When a student earns 5 Blue Ribbons, he/she is awarded a GOLD MEDAL — hence, the Piano Olympics!   Students may choose to play any event.  There is no prescribed order or requirements other that not repeating an event where they earned a Blue Ribbon.


Piano students need to learn scales, chords, cadences, and arpeggios to be ready for advanced music.  As teachers, we need to ask ourselves if we are doing this with each student.   One way to help us remember to teach all these very important aspects is to prepare students for the Olympic program and let them be rewarded in a tangible way for all their work.  Let your students enter the Piano Olympics and GO FOR THE GOLD! 

MMTA wishes to thank the late Vincent Watkins of Peninsula Music Teachers Association for developing the concept. We have borrowed heavily from their outline and changed and added materials of our own.

Remember, if you intend to enter students on Olympics day, you must be available to judge, monitor or serve in another volunteer capacity.

Please download and print the 2023 Piano Olympics Syllabus for your own reference.  You will need to download the  Piano Olympics Rating Sheet and print one copy, front and back, for each student.

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