It’s a New Year, and maybe you have students at your studio who are ready to start fresh and get into a consistent practice routine. Or maybe, YOU are hoping to light a fire underneath your students in anticipation of spring recitals, competitions, festivals or masterclasses.
Performances alone may be enough to motivate some students; for other kids, the reality of blundering through a piece in front of a group of people doesn’t phase them, and they’ll continue forward with lackluster practice habits.
So how do we encourage consistent, quality practices in our students during this time of year?
I propose — a practice incentive! Practice incentives are fun for students, and a great way to encourage parent-child communication when it comes to practicing, as you will likely require parents to sign off whenever goals are met.
You will want to think through how students go about earning the incentive. Do you reward them for numbers of minutes practiced, pieces passed off, or days practiced? Will they need to reach a personal goal or be competing against other students? How will they be rewarded?
As for the prizes, that’s the fun part! Last year, all my students who practiced 150 days earned a trophy. They were SO thrilled! Should you decide to implement an incentive at your studio, here are some fun ideas for student rewards:
- iTunes song (iTunes will give you a special certificate with a code your student can use to download the song)
- medals, trophies, ribbons, etc.
- a student pizza or ice cream party
- “music bucks” that they can redeem for prizes/trinkets from the dollar store
- a special privilege, such as learning a favorite pop song or making a recording of their piece
- a children’s book about music or composers
- opportunity to perform at a special “honors” recital with other students who have accomplished similar goals