There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from one’s inner desire to complete a task. Extrinsic motivation comes from external desires through rewards like gifts and money. I believe both types of motivation are essential in learning an instrument.
Intrinsic motivation is needed in learning an instrument such as the piano—and indeed, one’s desire to play a piece, perhaps a favorite, with ease can certainly be motivating. The desire to be recognized and rewarded for one’s accomplishments becomes an extrinsic motivator. Who doesn’t want to be praised for their hard work and achievements?
I love giving my students prizes for their hard work. I want them to know that they are acknowledged and appreciated for their effort. I believe that through extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation will emerge, if it is not already present. I believe incentive-based learning creates a distinct difference in a student’s overall attitude and performance.