As the only music school in the Washington DC metropolitan area offering an exciting, new, cutting-edge Musical Ladder® curriculum, the International School of Music motivates students to practice more and reach greater heights! Through fun, engaging, & personalized music instruction, students make their way up the ladder earning cool music wristbands, certificates, and trophies!

Beginning a new musical instrument or exploring your voice in lessons is a fun and exciting new time for every student. Yet the idea of practice doesn’t always seem to come off as thrilling to everyone. The old saying practice makes perfect is untrue on many fronts. Perfection is not a goal we foster for our students learning, yet we idolize practicing as a goal to make Progress instead.

Our fun Musical Ladder System helps encourage and inspire students to practice and achieve their own individual goals in their lessons, and as recognition for their hard work and progress, students are able to earn exciting wristbands and trophies for achieving their goals!

How Does It Work?

Every few months, a new cycle begins where students can set a specific goal to achieve with their teachers. Such goals can range anywhere from completing a method book, memorizing a song, learning a new musical piece, performing in a recital, etc. Setting such a goal not only helps to motivate students to practice for their lessons, but is also a helpful tool to monitor their progress for themselves, their teacher, and their families.

Just like a ladder, when students participate and achieve their goals, they move up to the next level where they receive a specific wristband, certificate or trophy.

To outline a few of the levels, here are the first four (bottom-top):

First is the Apprentice Level, where after 3 months of lessons, students can earn their first level certificate with a wristband pattern of their choice.

Second is the Songbird Level, where 3 months after earning their Apprentice recognition, students can earn their first trophy in addition to their certificate and wristband! This trophy comes special ordered, with their name and the year they achieved their level on the plaque!

From there students are able to continue climbing up the ladder to continue earning such recognitions, and make long strides in their music lessons.

So, when exactly can students participate?

Students can participate on an ongoing basis year round, as long as they do so within the monthly intervals the program follows. For example, it would not be as motivational for a student to earn a trophy every week, nor is it to be expected to achieve long term goals at a fast pace. As students do advance in their music lessons and the ladder, the intervals between recognitions get larger, beginning from every 3 months to 6 months and 1 year.

Is it required to participate in the Musical Ladder Curriculum?

Absolutely not! Participation for students is completely optional for them and their teachers. The Ladder is there to help motivate students who may be having a hard time fully engaging or practicing for their lessons. It is also completely free for families!

The Benefits: 

Practice makes progress, and we know just how hard it can be to practice each day. So we are here to help improve practicing at home and engage our students to set and achieve their individual goals, and to recognize them for all the hard work they do to achieve them!

As a parent, getting your child to practice at home is no easy challenge, and our parents are happy to say that this program is motivating their children at home. From the International School of Music’s Facebook Page, here are just a few testimonials from families happy to be witnessing such benefits at home for their kids: 

“I can’t believe I don’t have to remind her to practice!”, an ISM parent proudly commented shortly after starting Musical Ladder program.

“This is the first trophy he has ever earned!”, Ms. Garcia said.

For more information on the Musical Ladder’s cutting edge motivational system, parents and students can contact the International School of Music at 301-365-5888 or at