Throughout history, an important aspect of all facets of education (including music) revolves around the ways in which a teacher helps motivate his students. A teacher can be most effective when the student trusts him. This teacher-student relationship creates a natural love for learning that is nurtured by the teacher and cultivated by the student. An important way that a good teacher helps to continue nurturing this love of learning is by tapping into various types of motivation to give the student achievable goals. In the field of education, there are two important types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
By definition, extrinsic motivation is the type whereby the teacher includes objects, rewards, and other “prizes” that are offered to the student for a “job well done.” The effect is this: the student works for the reward and receives the reward in a short period of time. As such, extrinsic motivations are organized, worked on, and accomplished in a short period of time. As soon as one set of extrinsic motivation triggers is completed, the teacher must create and distribute another set. An example of this type of extrinsic motivation would be the use of stickers to offer students as a reward for their progress or behavior in class. The reward is awarded when the various tasks associated with the sticker are completed; the next task that requires an additional tag is provided to reset the previous task. As such, the motivational circle continues.
On the other hand, intrinsic motivation, by definition, offers the student internal rewards for a job well done through the actions that the student presents to the teacher. Essentially, by working hard or completing an assignment and thus receiving a strong sense of accomplishment for completing said task successfully, the student not only receives praise from the teacher, but also feels good about completing the assignments. There are no external rewards, as is the case with extrinsic motivation. Instead, motivation comes to the student through the feeling of accomplishment that comes with the completion of each task they set out to complete. This sense of accomplishment is the inner reward that fuels the natural inner desire to learn that is within each student.
A good teacher is able to juggle both types of motivation. As part of the private music lesson, the teacher has the opportunity to get to know the student well enough to decide what tactics to use to help foster continued motivation. With the advent of various technological tools, the task of helping to motivate students has become easier and easier.
In a series of surveys published in 2013 and 2014, data was provided indicating that more than 1 in 4 children under the age of 8 know how to use a computer, tablet or smartphone. In the same study, it was estimated that 1 in 3 children between the ages of 9 to 13 was proficient in the use of such technologies that they could confidently teach an adult to solve problems. Children who used technology for educational purposes at home had a heightened sense of problem-solving skills and an increased ability to complete tasks when given a reward (such as accumulating points, completing a level of a game, or completing a game). the game itself). This use of extrinsic motivation to offer a reward for completion of tasks allows the student to have fun while completing the task at hand.
For all of us who have studied children’s music, currently have children studying music or teaching music, we know that the challenge we all face is this: learning a musical skill takes a lot of effort and time to be successful. The proper amount of time to master the skills associated with music takes many years. Many masters of the performing arts, such as professional musicians, singers, record artists, and recording engineers, will all agree with this fact. All people of the same pedigree will also agree that at one point along the way, at least one teacher inspired them to prosper in their musical studies. This teacher, generally known and remembered by name, created the spark for musical growth that creates a lifelong love of learning. This is strong evidence to argue that intrinsic motivation is a powerful resource to help foster lifelong success.
There are many interesting tools that a music teacher can use, including various applications on a number of topics including music theory, music history, auditory training, and recording techniques. In addition, there are many programs such as YouTube, Garage Band, Ever Note, among others. Each of these tools offers a host of options for any music teacher and music student to create a fun environment to increase motivation. Students no longer have to sit at their instrument and only have books as their main resource for learning. By using the multitude of available tools, teachers have the option of creating a custom study that is tailored to the needs of many learning environments. This allows the student to enter a world of vast possibilities that were not available 15 years ago.
The trick for every teacher is to be willing to embrace this new generation of technological advancements while fostering intrinsic motivation in an extrinsically motivated environment. In conclusion, there are many tools available to all music teachers, parents and students in this new generation of technology within the 21st century. It is important to note that these tools, as mentioned, will help encourage everyone to have fun while enjoying their music studies; however, these tools are not just secrets to success. The teacher must know how to motivate students to “keep going” through the successes and challenges that naturally present themselves to all music students. The combination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivational triggers will help create the next generation of musicians, music enthusiasts, and music appreciators. This is the primary goal that will help keep music alive and thriving for the next generation and beyond.