One of the most challenging tasks of a music teacher is finding ways to motivate our students. We all want them to listen to us, enjoy their lessons, practice, and improve. The key is to get them to want to do all of that without it seeming like a chore, but more for the satisfaction (and reward of course) that they will get at the following lesson when they show off what they did all week.
I refuse to rely on parents to help me do my job for the other 167 hours in the week that I’m not there. I consider parent involvement a bonus but not always necessary. Learning what makes each student tick is the key to determining how to make them practice without needing parental reminders, which is really the most important thing along with spending time on the instrument. The reward systems I use are always personalized and they create a sense of responsibility for even my youngest students. I prefer to rely entirely on the children and I find that it’s much more satisfying and enjoyable for the students when they do it on their own and can keep their parents as an audience and encourager and not as much as a practice enforcer. The end goal, I think, is when the child is more excited about the song accomplishment instead of the reward. That’s a happy and magical teacher moment!