Originally published to TheTrumpetBlog.com
Motivate - verb
1. inspire, drive, stimulate, provoke, lead, move, cause, prompt, stir, trigger, set off, induce, arouse, prod, get going, instigate, impel, actuate, give incentive to, inspirit His hard work was motivated by a need to achieve.
2. stimulate, drive, inspire, stir, arouse, get going, galvanize, incentive How do you motivate people to work hard and efficiently?
Most teachers are familiar with this term and are striving daily to prompt this action in their students. Everyone’s life is effected by the amount of motivation they posses. If you are on the low side of this characteristic, you are said to be lazy. If your actions indicate that you are more to the top of this scale you are accused of being an “over achiever”. It is not my intent in this post to make any distinctions as to where a person should be on this measurement for that is up to each individual. My reason for today’s material is to address the more important issue- How are people motivated and how can we as teachers do a better job at inspiring our students. A second benefit from this material may be helpful to understand what motivates us as individuals.
Before we can start to understand how to improve motivation in our students and ourselves, we must first understand the causes for motivation in our lives.
Is motivation instinctual?
No! The act of over eating may be an environmental or a habitual problem but the action of choosing to loose weight is caused from a deep motivational decision. Some may argue that animals instinctively hunt for food to which I would argue, animals are motivated to hunt because of hunger.
What are the reasons we are motivated?
• Fear/ embarrassment
• Financial needs
• Self gratification/ improvement
• Lack of self respect and confidence
• The desire to please others
• Competitive attitude
Before we address the student in this discussion, we need to first look at ourselves. Most people who know me would agree that I am a very self motivated person. While writing this post, I became more aware of the reasons for my limited focus and drive. I have enjoyed many activities in my life and for that reason; I have worked extremely hard to achieve my goals in each area. As a young boy, I became interested in archery. Eventually I placed 2nd in my division in the Illinois State Field Archery Tournament. Later, I became interested in wood carving and most particularly carving birds out of wood. I soon became, as stated in the The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s Birds In Art Catalogue, “One of the premier bird artists of the Western World”. My interests in trumpet playing eventually took me twice to the stage at the International Trumpet Guild’s festival of trumpets and my interest in teaching students the art of Dixieland music ended in Chicago when my student Dixieland band, “the UNI Bearcats” were one of three university Dixieland bands to compete for “the best college Dixieland band” in the nation. Everything I have seriously undertaken, I have done well in. Even this blog illustrates what motivation can do if directed in the right direction. I began this and another blog approximately four years ago and from then on, I have dedicated between eight to fourteen hours everyday to their success. I am not sharing this information because of my ego for in every area that I have done well, I still feel that I never really reached the top. The real question at this time would be what motivated me to work so hard in these several areas in my life and I have to admit I was influenced by every item listed above.
How does this relate to instilling motivation in students?
For a student to become motivated, they must have the following attributes-
• Interest- Without interest, there will not be motivation.
• Talent- Without talent, motivation will be difficult.
• Inspiration- Each student must have a role model to look up to and respect.
• Instruction and direction- Enter the band director.
• Time and energy- Both are required to reach the goal.
• Support from close friends- This would include fellow students as well as family.
• Determination- This is almost synonymous with dedication.
For music teachers to be able to motivate his/her students they must have the following attributes-
• Interest- You must let your students know that you really enjoy working with them.
• Talent- Know everything you can learn about your craft.
• Inspiration- Be an example of what a musician and teacher should be.
• Instruction and direction- Enter your classroom each day with a definite goal to achieve and achieve it.
• Time and energy- Use your time wisely and make every minute count.
• Support from close friends- Communicate with other teachers on more effective ways to teach.
• Determination- You are under paid! You do put in long hours! You aren’t given the respect you deserve! If these things are more important to you than your students, GET OUT OF MUSIC!
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