I Do Bribe My Students to Practice
Practicing is just one of those things that needs to be done in order to get better at any skill in life, and the piano is no different. The issue that I have run into with students is they see no value in practicing unless a recital is about 4 days away, and then they practice like mad trying to get their song performance ready. This is especially damaging in a group setting like we have at Arwe Music Studio because those who don't practice will make the others sound bad. And since I can not have a recital ready for them to play at every week, I needed to find a way to show them that hard work pays off. What better way than money? I don't give out grades because I do not believe they are very effective.
Letter grades usually have a subtractive connotation. Meaning, every child knows that when they go to take a test, they start at 100%. As the teacher grades their test, they mark what the child missed constantly subtracting from what the child had in their mind. Even though they have learned a great deal on whatever subject they are being tested on they still feel like they have lost something despite all the knowledge they accumulated through the period of time before the test.
With my method, students are in a constant additive state, and students never lose what they have for failing anything. They can lose what they have for other actions such as being disruptive or disrespectful to the teacher or fellow students. But never for missing a note, or forgetting their homework, or not practicing. They simply do not get any more music money. Also, with the added benefit of being able to spend their hard earned money on tangible items that they value, it incentivises them to work throughout the week so they have a better chance earning more Music Money at the next class.
How Do Students Earn Money You Ask?
It's a simple process with great results. The basic premise is "Put the Responsibility on the Student". My job is to present information to students in a way that they can comprehend. Then with that knowledge I give them, I tell them how they can earn Music Money with it:
1 coin = Answer a Currency Question Correctly (not all questions will be rewarded coin, but you never know when the teacher might toss one in there)
1 coin = Turing in a completed worksheet. (this does not mean it all has to be right, but every question needed to be attempted)
1 coin = Memorizing the Weekly Song. (So almost every week a new song will be assigned. If a student memorizes it within the week, that shows practice)
1 coin = Every logged 30 minutes of practiceLimit 3 a week. (Through my website, students have the ability to log their practice minutes online. It pays to practice)
1 coin = Winning Games (Just like how not every question earns money, neither will every game, but at least one per class will)