Everyone needs a little extra motivation from time to time. Even doing the things we love the most can become too routine or lose focus. Here at our house, I noticed practicing was in a mid-winter slump after the holidays. We’ve been using Motivation Medicine to stay on track.
This is a great little trick that parents can use to make practicing more enjoyable and pleasant.
I first read about this idea from ViolinJudy. In fact, it was the inspiration for my #28daysofpianopractice incentive that I put together for my students over Christmas break.
It’s super simple: you just use a 7-day pill box, fill it with little treats and let your student have the treat each day after practicing!
I got our boxes from the dollar store (but there are tons of options on Amazon as well) and got a little stash of treats from Trader Joe’s. I put together a box for myself, one for my daughter, and one for a friend. As soon as I showed it to Sophie on a recent Monday afternoon, she asked if she could practice. Success!
A month later, the novelty still hasn’t worn off. It’s always just the incentive she needs to have a good practice session. Before, she usually didn’t put a fight about practicing, but sometimes it would be a struggle to get her to finish practicing. When it came time to get to work, she had all kinds of excuses. Now that we have Motivation Medicine, I tell her exactly what she needs to do in order to get it, and our practice sessions are efficient and productive.
Back in August when I introduced my students to Better Practice App, I made a commitment to join them in practicing everyday. My practicing had become very sporadic in recent years. Even though I’ve made a point to practice everyday anyways, it’s definitely fun to have a treat when I practice.
I fill Sophie’s box with a mix of sweet and savory treats, since we try not to overdo sweets at our house. I had originally planned to use some non-food treats as well such a stickers or other small trinkets, but so far I’ve stuck with food treats. The nice thing about this system is that you can use anything that is motivating to your child.
Of course, you could just bribe your child with a treat everyday, and skip the box, but I have found that it is helpful to a visual representation of what can be earned as well as to see when a day has been missed.
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Thanks so much for incorporating my idea in your studio and blog post! The post can be found here! https://violinjudy.com/2016/08/practice-boxes-fun-treat-students/
Thanks for the great idea, Judy!
Sondra Robertson says
I like this!!! This gives students a tangible reward for consistent practice. Many thanks for this idea🎹🎼😀
Yes! It has been so effective to have an immediate, tangible reward. I highly recommend it! 🙂
Just curious if this works for older students too. (10 and above). Do you give it to the parent to “control” the treats? Or do you just give it to the kids and just “trust” them to be honest about it.
Hi Gena, I’m sure it varies from student to student. As with all motivational tools, you really have to find what will motivate the individual. I usually offer this approach as a suggestion to parents, then let them follow through with it how they see fit. I imagine there are varying degrees of involvement from the parents.
Its such a nice idea Meghana