Sticky Music Lessons Trap Students

Using Stickers as a tool to help younger students practice their music lessons is a great way to keep a child’s motivations high!

Fast Music Lesson Progress

Stick to Music Lessons
Stick to Music Lessons

What is the fastest way to progress in music lessons?  I hear this question all the time as a music teacher in South Florida.  The answer, as you may have guessed, is actually extremely simple:  Practice.
Great music teachers know that the fastest and most effective way to improve on your instrument is through consistent practicing.  The difficult part is helping students with this concept and encouraging them to practice between lessons as much as possible.

Self Motivation

Some students take right to this and will practice a lot between lessons.  This is more common among older students who have developed more of a disciplined work ethic.  The difficult part, however, is helping our little ones see the benefit in practicing daily and helping them develop a practicing routine.

Sticker Charts

Fairly recently, I have found an excellent tool to help younger students practice: sticker charts.  I used sticker charts often when I worked in a learning center helping children with learning difficulties learn how to read.  A simple well-placed sticker could keep even the most distracted child on task.
I was teaching a 6 year old student drum set and was having a difficult time encouraging her to practice and I finally got the idea to incorporate the sticker chart.  On the left-most column, I wrote down the exercises I wanted her to work on.  In the following column, I wrote how many minutes she was to practice the exercise each day.  In the last column, there was a space for her parents to sign each day that she completed the task.  We made a deal.  For each 5 signatures she collected, she would receive a cute animal sticker on her chart.

If Stickers Work, Use Them Wisely

I am very happy to say that the sticker chart worked like a charm.  The next week, she was so excited to show me both her signatures, and everything that she had worked on.  Her playing had improved more in that week than it had all month.  She was playing perfectly to a metronome, where she had struggled with that previously.  Her playing was faster, more accurate, and comfortable – all the signs of someone who had been practicing.  She was so proud and happy at her improvements and as a teacher, this is all I could ever want from a successful lesson.
I let her pick out the stickers she had earned and she was so proud of the accomplishment.  She is happier with her lessons and at the same time, improving faster than ever.  All it took was a piece of paper and some stickers and the results are priceless.  I plan on incorporating a sticker chart into all of my music lessons with my little ones!

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