Motivational Buttons

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By Lisa Cyr,

Art Work Motivational Buttons Article

It’s funny how “Mom” jeans have come back into style.  I thought those days were gone, never to return.  Those big bottomed, high waisted, baggy jeans caused ladies to look three sizes larger and accentuated our worst attributes. How did marketers motivate us women to not only purchase a pair but love them?

Being able to discover a student’s motivational buttons is a powerful teaching tool and creates a lighter learning atmosphere.  With the rise of the Covid-19 virus situation, some parents will be homeschooling or supervising online learning with their children. Below are a few ways of how to push a person’s motivational buttons:

Words of affirmation make a positive difference. Truthful compliments are very meaningful.  Bing Crosby sang, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.” Excitement and positivity are contagious.

For many, rewards and gifts are important.  Discover their interests. Ask basic questions such as favorite colors, activities, people, subjects.  And then listen.  A treasure chest is fun.  As an example, one of my students loves small polished stones, so I purchased a bag of them.  At the end of the lesson he asks, “Do I deserve a stone?”  In reply, I ask him, “Do you think you behaved well enough to get one?”  Sometimes, he says “no” and sometimes, I disagree and let him choose one. If motivated by sharing, let them pick another one to give to a friend or family member.

Charting one’s achievement is helpful.  Simply placing a colorful shiny star around the border of a page of music for each performed task will inspire them as they see their progress from week to week.  The more bling the better!  I let the student choose their sticker and place it on the page. Or use a sticker chart, to record daily progress.

High fives can make someone’s day special!  After a student performs a difficult section (even if they stumble through it), I might give them a high five along with the words “Good job!” or “I am proud of you.”  Everyone needs to hear that from time to time.

Displaying one’s achievements in a public performance is motivational.  For some, being able to perform before an audience is a purposeful driving force.  I prepare my students to be ready to perform before they desire to.  Even if they choose not to play, at least they are ready. For quieter students, I encourage smaller sharing with family or friends.  Memorization of a popular song like “Happy Birthday” is a great start.

Cross pollination learning energizes the brain. Such as, if a student does well in math, I show them the math side of the notes they are playing.  If stories, we add a storyline to the melody. If patterns, we locate a number or letter pattern.  Connecting current knowledge with new information will tickle their brains.

So, put on those Mom or Dad jeans and accentuate positive motivation.  With a smile and deep breath, eliminate negative thoughts or feelings. You will tap into the lighter side of learning.

Our staff at Studio 237 Music Lessons provides high quality music lessons for kids, teens, and adults in person or online lessons in the South Walton area and surrounding communities. For more info, call 850.231.3199 and visit our website  

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