Friday, November 27, 2009

Five Steps to Better Practicing, Part Five

5. Schedule a Performance

In my opinion, the best motivators of all are recitals, concerts, and other performance opportunities. When all other practicing rituals are in place and working well, schedule a performance for your students to keep them practicing and let them feel the pride and rewards of a job well done.

These showcase events do not have to be limited to the end-of-year spring recital and concert season. Christmas is an excellent occasion for such festivities as well. For children, contact a nursing home to schedule a musicale or invite parents to a "Studio Day" in your teaching studio where children may perform for them. This will provide a low-key environment that can help to build up to the higher pressures of the Spring Recital.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Five Steps to Better Practicing, Part Four

Previously, we've discussed:
1. Effective Communication
This leads us to the next step:
4. Consistent Reminders

Whatever your plan for motivating your student, follow up with it consistently. Review the practcie record at every lesson. Be prepared to award the incentive you have chosen. Communicate with parents, especially if the student is not practicing enough. Work with them to encourage more practice.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Five Steps to Better Practicing, Part Three

3. Incentives

Everyone likes rewards. Not only do we enjoy receiving whatever gift has been deemed appropriate, but we also like the recognition for a job well done. Rewards can be an incentive to do your best.

This concept works well with music students. Anticipating a reward at the next lesson will motivate students to practice more during the week. Practice time can be recorded and tracked in the lesson assignment book. Use a sticker to mark each week in which the student has practiced the required amount of time. Younger students will enjoy picking out the stickers themselves. For them, this is part of the treat!

What kind of rewards are appropriate for music students? After 6 stickers have accumulated, offer a selection of small gifts for the student to choose from, such as musical pencils or music note lollipops. It is a good idea to offer at least one non-food item and be cautious of food allergies and diet restrictions.

After 12 stickers have accumulated, offer a choice of slightly more expensive prizes, like music-themed magnets or whistle pops. Students could choose between one prize from "Group Two" or two prizes from the original prize group (Group One).

There could be up to six different prize levels - after 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 18 weeks, 24 weeks, 30 weeks, and 36 weeks - but, ultimately, the frequency of prizes is up to you. Other prizes to consider are composer statuettes, stationery, music-themed socks or hats, or even a music book.

Try using practice incentives today. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes in motivating your students to practice.

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