Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The Motivation to Sing
In class today we were discussing an article which brought up the topic of "Reinforcement or Motivation." Of course, it was in relation to what extent we, as Speech-language clinicians, should reinforce good behaviour in our child clients or whether we should let intrinsic motivation guide their behavior. We defined reinforcement as anything external to the child, such as giving stickers, and motivation being the child's own reasons for learning.
In one study there was a group of children were told that they would be given a prize when they finished a drawing activity, there was another group of kids that didn't know they would get a reward until the end of the activity, and one group who received no prize at all. The study showed that the children initially told that they would receive a prize for their drawing were drawing less in the classroom afterwards and that drawing became an instrumental means to receive an award. Overall, these types of studies have shown that "rewards have a significant negative effect on intrinsic motivation."
I got to thinking about this and its application to my experiences with choral music and I feel that my intrinsic motivation to sing is really what drives my passion. I always find that whenever I am offered money to sing... my relationship with the music changes. It no longer is a passion for me since performing the music is just another job. Of course, I would be lying to say I didn't enjoy the fact that I get paid for gigs occasionally; however, I can't honestly say that my most musically fulfilling experiences occurred when I was paid to sing. I understand that performing is part of an artists' livelihood, but do we ever reach a point where we are just doing another job and we're not being musically satisfied anymore? I know many musicians are possibly reading this and I would love to get their input on this matter.
Therefore, dear readers, what are your thoughts? Does internal motivation guide your happiness or do you feel like monetary reinforcement plays a role in shaping your happiness response as well? It doesn't even have to be choral or music related since I find this is a topic applicable to all areas. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!