In our dream world, students practice daily because they love music and because they believe us when we say that practice makes perfect. In reality, students practice once a week, probably ten minutes before the lesson. Not all of them, of course! Some don’t even practice those ten minutes before the lesson. Fine, some do practice. But it either takes mom barking orders to practice or the teacher coming up with some creative reward system and hoping for the best.
Bribery Is Not A Four Letter Word
I’ve come to the conclusion that my favorite form of “motivation” is bribery. I can only bribe so much as the teacher. I can offer them a sticker…or 2 stickers…or 3 stickers…Some kids really don’t care about stickers. I can’t bribe with candy because I’ve been told that’s unhealthy AND because parents will hate me for wiring them up on sugar before bed time.
Do What You Have To
A few months ago I went into a lesson with one of my favorite students. She didn’t hesitate to scream “I PRACTICED!” the second I walked in the door which is music to my ears, but also shouldn’t be a huge announcement because she should always practice! But I’ll take what I can get. I said “that’s what I like to hear!” Then she said the 13 magic words: “My mom said I can have new light up shoes if I practice”. I laughed and her mom chimed in from the other room, almost defensively, with “I did what I had to do…bribery works!”
Earning Is Learning
I agree! Why not bribe students with things they’d already be getting, to give them the opportunity to earn it and to knock out some practicing at the same time. Valuable lesson for student and happy teacher!