Motivating students to practice is no easy task. As part of my class, students are required to perform playing tests for me every 2 week, and that is supposed to be motivation for them to practice, yet still, students don't always do the work and I am left with some students who lack the skills needed to be successful in my class. I lecture them about practicing. I try to teach them how to practice effectively. I show them videos of performances to help with desire to be successful and practice. Still, it can be so frustrating when I see that the progress of my orchestra is slowed because of kids who don't practice. Recently, I asked my students how often and how long they practice as a bellwork assignment. I was astonished at the amount of practice that was NOT happening! No wonder my large class of beginners feels like such a struggle right now! What to do? Require practice cards? I don't know. I want my students to practice because THEY want to practice.... I don't like to force them.
I am still trying to decide how to motivate my class. I am currently holding a practice competition where my students are recording their practice times on a giant paper in my classroom. The class with the highest average gets one playing test cancelled.
I think I might bring a potted plant to class. I will have students stand-up if they practiced the night before and I will count how many students practiced and I will mark them on my seating chart so they see me noticing and marking their efforts. Then, I will water my plant a teaspoon of water per student who practiced and we'll see how my plant does. My plant will die if not enough students practice. I'm thinking this could lead to a great object lesson about nurturing your talent so that it can grow.