Thursday, June 5, 2008

Piano Motivator

I have been teaching piano lessons to both my older kids this year. This is the first year for both of them. I got this idea from an Alfred Publishing newsletter, and it has worked really well.

We have the "AAA Club" for piano. "AAA" stands for Anytime, Anywhere, for Anybody.

Anytime means that the child can sit down and play a certain song anytime. They do not have to go over it a couple of times to get it right.

Anywhere means that the child can play the song anywhere there is a piano. They might not have their piano book with them, so they have to know the piece by memory.

Anybody means that they play the song well enough that anybody (not parents and grandparents only) would like to listen to the song. Very easy songs are okay (that is all they can play right now) but they need to know how to play it musically and not bang it out like "Chopsticks" or keep messing up and saying "Wait, wait, wait."

When they play a song for me first thing after sitting down, by memory, without mistakes, and nicely, they get two dollars. The song goes on the AAA Club list which is currently on the 'fridge. In addition to that, if they play the song for others, they get 50 cents a song (not 50 cents per listener.) The other person has to want to hear it, and if they play a second song, it has to be requested by the person. (i.e. Not, "Let me play you ten songs, Grandma!")

Yes, this might be bribery. However, I am a musician myself. I do play for the joy of music...but I certainly do not mind getting paid and I have accepted money for my music on many occasions! I make it difficult to get a song on the AAA Club list, and I know as they move up to more difficult peices, they will get fewer and fewer songs on the list.

I am not exactly sure what to do about maintaining this list. So far, I have not required that they keep practicing the songs on the list to "keep them up." I am hoping that the performance aspect will force them to keep at least a couple of songs "performance-ready." So far it has worked, but we have only been doing it since November.


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