1. Take lessons yourself. Put yourself in their shoes – literally. Remember what it’s like to have a busy week and have a hard time finding time for practice? Remember what it’s like to when your pieces don’t play as well in the lesson as they did at home? You can be more genuinely understanding and make better suggestions for solutions if you are taking lessons yourself and going through the same situations that they are.
2. Be sure to give them a good variety of repertoire. Make sure there is plenty of variety in the music they are working on. Find out what types of music they like. Supplement their method books with new age piano , jazz/blues, pop music, sound track music theater or whatever is currently popular!).
3. Start an incentive program. Let’s face it: some students can be bribed . In all seriousness, though, some students truly thrive on being motivated through incentive programs. Incentive programs can help to not only give your students a goal to work towards, but also to reward your students’ hard work and good behavior.
4. Try playing more music games in the lesson. Obviously, not every student’s goal is to be a concert pianist. For some students, it may more than enough for them to become functional pianists who have a strong, life-long appreciation for music. With these students, try giving an extra emphasis on theory and ear training games. This may help revive their interest in practicing their repertoire.
5. Find ways to increase studio camaraderie. Some students thrive on social interactions. Help them make “piano friends” by providing occasions when your students can meet and interact with each other. Assign duets between students who have their lessons back-to-back. And if you don’t already, hold monthly group lessons. Plan games and activities that involve having the students work together in pairs or small groups of 3 or 4. Building student friendships within your studio may help them look forward to studio events, lessons, and even practicing at home!
6. Provide regular performance opportunities. I once had a student who loved playing in soccer games, but disliked soccer practice. In much the same way, she thrived on piano performances but disliked daily practicing. Having a recital to prepare for helped tremendously! Some students need regular performances to keep them motivated. At Sally Piano Music , in addition to our annual recital, we offer mini recitals such as Halloween recitals, Spring Recitals and many more, to keep the students motivated.
7. Have a talk with Mom or Dad. Maybe the problem is simply that the student just needs to practice more. Have a chat with Mom or Dad and ask if they would be willing to give the student a gentle reminder each day to get on the piano. For some students, it’s not that they don’t enjoy practicing; it’s just that they need a reminder or a little prompting to get on the bench each day. Suggest that they make a routine and designate a specific block of time for practice each day. Ask the parents or older siblings to sit at the bench with the student occasionally and ask them about their pieces and what they enjoy about them.
8. Reward your students. This is one of the best way to motivate your students . Have a game plan : For each week practicing , give them one sticker and tell them if they earn 10 stickers , they get to choose a bigger prize from the treasure box . I asked one of my best Piano student to tell me her secret about practicing . She told me that her parents told her if she practice for 60 minutes every day , by the end of the year she earn her iPad and for each day she miss practicing , she needs to make it up the time , otherwise she will lose it . She knew she had to work very hard for that iPad and that was her goal for the past year !