As with any activity students participate in, the issue of maintaining motivation may arise at any given point during the learning process. The article, “Maintaining Student Motivation on the Musical Journey Towards Mastery” by Pamela D. Pike, suggests techniques music instructors should consider to help students keep high motivation while gaining the musical skills necessary to play the instrument chosen. Such techniques involve allowing the student to decide which musical piece he or she may like to work with, “creating a technical exercise for a tricky spot, or creating an accompaniment for the melody being practiced” (Pike 22). Pike believes that by understanding each students’ musical interest, only then can the instructor focus on their potential musical capacities. Today, students tend to lose the motivation necessary to learn a musical instrument and it is important to realize how simple things, like changing up the lesson plan as mentioned by Pike, can really make a difference in their musical endeavors.
No one said learning a musical instrument would be easy. It is all about practicing, that is of course if the student is is motivated enough and that motivation is reliant on how the music instructor takes the time to fully understand the student’s interest. They have to remind the student that if they believe in themselves and put his or her time into the instrument, they will have success. According to Pike, “if students believe the effort they have to expend to accomplish the objective is not worth their time and energy, they will likely not be motivated to complete the task. Since motivated students believe that a reasonable amount of effort needs to be expended to learn a piece of music, effective repertoire selection and the assignment process for students is especially important.” Although, belief can also decline over time, other techniques must be instituted into the music lesson.
Music teachers need to remember that each student works differently and learn at their own pace. One can argue that if the teacher challenges that student profusely, they will succeed; however, if the instructor assigns a piece of music that is beyond the student’s capabilities, discouragement will arise. Techniques that are beneficial include providing ample time to learn a piece, help them decide where to begin based on their level of playing yet still allow room for a challenge. “Students motivation can be improved and maintained through out the journey of music of study if we remember students practice differently when they are working on pieces of music that they like, break down complex material, provide time for reinforcement of new concepts, encourage students to become comfortable with struggle, and have students try various practice strategies” (Pike 23). These techniques will not only build belief and confidence, but also the motivation needed to continue learning a musical instrument.
Today, a student’s motivation decreases over time as they learn to play a musical instrument. A music teacher can influence a student’s motivation by understanding how to incorporate the techniques mentioned. Pike’s techniques enhance the musical student’s experience should be considered by all music instructors. It would certainly make a great difference in their ability to learn challenging music.