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What motivates students to practice?

I asked a handful of my own students because I wanted to hear from the source. I asked students from beginners to adults and many ages in between, "What makes you want to practice piano?"

Here were some of their answers:

  • I want to be able to play the song Fur Elise by Beethoven

  • I practice a lot if we have a recital coming up.

  • I practice a lot if I get to play a song from a video game I really Ike.

  • I like to see how a song sounds from beginning to after I have practiced it.

  • If there is a song I really like, I will be more motivated to practice.

  • The outcome of the music compared to when you first played through it.

  • To add more songs to my repertoire

  • I want to live inside the song and the closest way is to be able to play the music.

I think there are a couple overall themes. If students have a specific goal such as a recital or certain song they are working toward, they will practice a lot. The other common theme is that they work really hard if the music is something they truly like or enjoy. So to best motivate your students, find music they enjoy and pick songs that are personally important to them. Also, give them specific goals to work towards, such as adding a favorite song to their repertoire, or performing in a recital. Here's to lots or practicing!

Sarah Beckelheimer is a piano instructor and co-owner at Dynamic Music Studios in Coralville, IA. Photo is by CliftonMarie Photography.

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