While I’m not a fan of incentive programs on principle, THEY WORK! I came up with a very simple program a couple of years ago. Here’s how it works: There is a space on the assignment sheet where I “evaluate” the previous week’s work and lesson. I have a 4 Star rating system. Once the students have 4 lessons with 4 stars , they get to pick a prize from the Treasure Box (one of those photo boxes from Michael’s).
My requirements for 4 stars are simple. I’m not evaluating the performance, but the preparation in the hopes of developing good habits.
- All music and the binder must be brought to the lesson.
- There is to be some evidence that all the pieces were practiced.
- I require 5 practices a week, and there is a place on the assignment sheet where the students/parents check off the daily practice sessions.
- The assigned theory must be completed.
That’s it. I limit this to Elementary age students, although even high school students still like to get stickers for well-done pieces. I have a $1.50 limit on the prizes I buy – stuff from the dollar store, seasonal chocolates, etc. The registration/materials fee that I charge each year covers the cost of these treasures. I always find it incredible that the students are so very thrilled when they get to their 4th 4 Star lesson and can pick a prize. It’s clearly not about the prize itself!