Motivation and Goals

Wish Piece

Free Printable!!!

When I took piano lessons as a kid, I wanted to play fast like my older sister and other students who were more advanced than me. We performed in group lessons once a month and played in recitals and festivals. I remember when a student who was a few months ahead of me played the last piece of the beginning book and I was amazed when I heard the music and saw their quick movements over the keys!! I was thrilled when it was my time to play the piece and I practiced it at home until I played it easily. That accomplishment motivated me to continue practicing piano so that I could learn other pieces that I heard and saw other students play. The motivation to play what I see and hear other pianists play is still one of the things that drives me today. When I have a performance coming up, I choose my pieces and begin practicing, studying and memorizing so I am well prepared. 

As a piano teacher, I like to get to know my students and discover what motivates, inspires, and drives them. Sometimes it is a parent or adult in their life that is strongly encouraging them to learn piano so there is external motivation. Other times, it is the student who wants to play piano so there is internal motivation. Ideally, a student has external and internal motivation and I work with their family to create an environment with both.

Having a goal/wish piece every few months or each year helps with both kinds of motivation. It may be an end of the year recital or a performance or an exam. Where I am teaching now in Frisco, TX, we have performing opportunities every month. I find out which events each student will participate in and we begin choosing repertoire pieces. When I give students a new method book, we will look through and choose a piece that looks interesting and I’ll perform it for them so they have a goal piece. We look at the concepts that are unfamiliar so they have an idea of what is ahead. Some students have a piece or a song in mind that they are already familiar with and want to learn. I will find a version that is near their level or I will arrange it for them and that is our wish/goal piece. Letting students pick their wish piece gives them a sense of ownership. 

I have created a printable handout to assist in choosing a wish piece. Writing a goal and making a plan help us to stay motivated and when we complete the goal we will feel a sense of accomplishment. Remembering that accomplishment gives us a positive experience to help drive us forward to do our best over and over. I recently learned about the WOOP goal setting system and made my own handout for students. Use it and let me know what you think. I welcome feedback so I can make improvements. 

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