Mondays can be tough. They can be tough for students and teachers alike. A couple of years ago, I was trying to come up with some different weekly activities to use on a regular basis in my classroom to enhance our rehearsal time. I decided I needed something for Monday to get us going for the week with our music, and I called it “Motivation for your Monday.” I would share articles, videos, or quotes with the students on Monday to try and get them pumped up for rehearsal.
After a few weeks, I was running out of ideas and I honestly felt like the whole idea had fallen flat. I decided to drop it.
Several months later, students began asking about it. “What happened to our Motivational Mondays?” “When is our next Monday motivation?” I decided to poll the classes to see if anyone really cared, and it turned out they did. They were enthusiastic in their response! They wanted it back.
So it’s back. And I am finding it a lot easier to come up with activities, and so far it’s going pretty well. They aren’t all huge successes, but this week I had a pretty great one. I decided to give them a short writing exercise in which they answered two questions:
What motivates you in life? What motivates you in Chorus class?
I was really surprised and impressed at the answers I got. I found myself very encouraged by their words and it helped me get to know each student a little better. The responses were really well thought out. Here are just a few excerpts:
“What motivates me in Chorus is the freedom it offers. Other classes are fun, but the work involved isn’t usually as relaxing or fulfilling as singing in Chorus. While in other classes you must be constantly evaluating what you say, in Chorus you are free to sing out loud without fear of discrimination. This class has a higher percentage of positive, accepting people than my other classes.”
“I am motivated in Chorus by other people’s enthusiasm. I am a people pleaser so if people expect me to sing strong and work hard, I will. Enthusiasm is contagious, and it motivates me to work.”
“Learning new music motivates me. It motivates me to be better and practice more. Also, having such an excited teacher makes me want to learn more.”
“My motivation in Chorus class stems from me simply wanting to better myself, as well as [it being] an outlet for me. Music speaks for me when I cannot find the words to say.”
Teachers, try asking your students what motivates them. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn, and you might find some new ways to encourage them in the classroom.
I plan on keeping several of these responses. Just another reminder that our music classes are valuable places that allow our students to be authentic, creative, and collaborative.