On a very cold day in early February, I went out on the icy sidewalk in front of our Brooklyn apartment building with spray glue, a large box, 2 bags of beans, and a lot of sparkle. Never mind the people walking by me wondering what I was up to, in New York everyone is pretty accustomed to crossing paths with oddities on a daily basis. So I went about my freezing cold business of bedazzling thousands of beans.
Mission accomplished, I was ready for my 5 and 6 year old girls to come over for their group lesson and to learn about their new practice contest. They would each receive 100 beans and each day they practiced, they would be allowed to place one of the beans in their decorated practice jar. Whomever reaches the 100 bean journey first will be receiving a grand surprise prize from me. I encouraged the parents to come up with small accolades along the way.
So far it has definitely inspired most of my students. They really are more excited about practice, with several of them asking if they were allowed to practice more than once a day for extra beans, what?!! The bean patrol has also taken one of my students, and especially her mother, to the boiling point with violin, resulting in her quitting the violin. When the child refuses to practice and throws a temper tantrum every time she is asked to pull her violin out and is not even encouraged by these awesome sparkly beans, it is time to stop.
It was sad to have lost one student, but ultimately as a teacher I have to accept the fact that it is really best when you've done everything you can. The bottom line is it really is no fun to teach a student that refuses to practice. So now I'm left with 4 young girls that are having fun with practice, are loads of fun to teach, and are going to be progressing much faster than without this motivation. Go beans!