I just could not figure out what to write this week, so I have decided to give away my biggest secret to keeping my students excited. I may regret this, but I think everyone deserves to know the great big mystery to how I keep so many students for so many years. Is it my fabulous teaching style? Is it my musical talent? Is it my charm? Sighhhh. Well I certainly hope that students think those things, but the answer to all is no. The secret is the music money. I had my graphic designer husband make up a sheet of dollars with musical symbols on them. Students earn them by winning musical games that I play with them, practicing consecutively, and passing “quizzes”. The kids go mad for these things because once they earn 10 they can “buy” something from a prize basket I keep stashed in my car (I’m a traveling teacher). The trick is to not make it too easy to earn them, but also to not make it too difficult. I aim for giving at least 2 away in each lesson. That way they have something to look forward to. I understand that some may criticise this as being a bribe, but who cares? They all love music deep down inside, but some are a little lazier than others and just need a little push. The music money is like candy to them. They will do anything for the music money, even practice.
If you want to make your own music money, take a real dollar and copy it on a copy machine. Next you will want to cut out an image of your favorite musical symbol and paste it over George Washington on the photo copy. Make another copy onto green paper.