The question, "How many beats are in each measure?" did not motivate Gabriella. She looked like I'd just asked her to take out the garbage.
"Gabriella, if you can figure out how many beats are in each measure, you can have that many stickers."
With a wide smile, she grabbed the music to investigate. Three stickers was all it took. (Think how excited she'll be to learn about 6/8!)
I find that all incentives, (stickers, music money, prizes) are best used when hooked into a specific task. Vague comments like, "I'll give you a sticker if you play really well," don't motivate as well because they aren't concrete and clear.
Do you have a student who you sometimes forget to motivate in small, incremental ways? Could you use a few stickers to make everyone's day a little brighter.
Here are some that are favorites of my students: