How I use fun and pride to help motivate my flute students


I always vowed I would have a flute studio one day like the one I wished I had belonged to as a child.   This is the concept I keep in mind in creating motivation for my flute students today.  I take various approaches and hope that some will pay off.


Let’s face it.  We live in a rather materialistic society and many kids love to get physical prizes for their efforts.  I capitalize on this by keeping hat boxes full of “Oriental Trading” and “Forever 21” prizes.  My students earn flute stamps for anything from learning a scale to bumping up their practice time. I have a cute ink flute stamp I use to stamp their practice books.  With these stamps, they can “buy” prizes worth 2 or 4 stamps. I have bigger prizes available as well like Madame Alexander and American Girl dolls they can earn for 50 or more stamps earned over time.  When Beanie Babies were big, I gave them out for learning all major and minor scales.  Prizes excite the students and I hope they will transfer that excitement to the learning process.


Another motivating tool is “Student of the Month”.  If a student goes above and beyond or is especially creative or wins a competition or chair placement, I take the student’s photo and place it in a holder under which I describe their great accomplishment.  I believe this nurtures the self esteem of the honored student and drives the other students desirous of similar acknowledgement. 


A further offering is my student Christmas ensemble.  Every year, we form a group or groups to rehearse holiday music once a week in addition to regular lessons.  I work hard to find venues in December for the kids to play in.  We have played for Nutcracker tea parties, Christmas tree lightings, Holiday Harmony, at malls, etc. Whether they play duets, trios, or quartets, I make sure everyone gets to play first part at some point.  I think this is part of developing self pride and self esteem.  At the end of the season, students are given music note trophies with the student’s name inscribed to commemorate the fun experience. 


There are many ways to motivate students to work hard at their flute.  I believe enjoyment, above all else, works wonders!


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