We all need a little motivation to work towards long-term goals, regardless of our age. For our students, we decided to continue a little incentive that I started quite a few years ago called Piano Bucks.
The idea began around 2003 when I attended one of my first national conventions. I remember seeing music money being sold at one of the vendor booths and thinking that I could design something like that myself! When I got back, I designed a printed my own little “bucks” and rewarded my private students with them every time they did something great! It could have been answering a question, or working extra hard on a piece, or completing their theory work. These bucks became so popular with my private students that they began telling my (at the time) group students about them- which then led me to give them to my group classes.
Once my students started earning bucks, they had to spend them! So, I came up with prizes for the students to buy; of course, they loved that! A prize box is brought to lesson at the end of every month. This really helps students to not get distracted every single lesson wondering what they can buy, and it also forces them to save a little too! Being able to visit the prize box each month gives them even more incentive to earn bucks because they see things that they want to buy! So, the student goes home and plans to practice every single day till their next lesson! The day of music buck prize box, students are always so proud of what they can buy and what they earned.
Upon creating Music SO Simple, I really wanted to keep the piano buck tradition that my students loved so much. So, since we added voice to the mix, we decided to call the “music bucks” instead. Our students love music bucks- they help motivate our students to practice, officially making it a habit. We also use them as a reward for learning festival/recital pieces, memorization, and performances. In addition, we give them as gifts for Christmas, when they are chose for student of the week, and birthdays. Music Bucks are seriously a win-win! It’s not rocket science- it just works!