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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