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!
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As a life-long professional musician I find that it is a rare occasion when I can "do" music for fun...
not that I can't enjoy myself, or revel in good music...but it has been a long time since I've just sat down and done music because I wanted to...
I used to tell my students "don't do music unless you can't not" and I think it is true, whether you are a professional or a lover of music...
Well, I've been a lurker off and on on your blog for a little while, and as this topic is one of some particular interest to me, I'd like to throw my two cents in the bucket, as it were.
Though I have to admit that my experience with paid performances is somewhat shallow yet, I have not found that a money component makes much difference to my enjoyment in the music. I've done a couple semi-professional gigs both singing with my choir, and as a solo artist, and I enjoy them both. I think the truth of it is that I just really love to perform for an audience. Every performance I can recall doing was both something I worked towards, and something I actively looked forward to.
I once had a choir teacher who told me that a performance is a gift from the performer to the audience, and to be paid feels like a mark of how badly they actually want that gift. In that sense, I occasionally take pride in it. But it remains a gift I would give freely, paid or not.
Of course, I'm sure the setting, type of music, and/or how badly I actually need the money also have the potential to weigh in fairly heavily...
I would say my happiness comes mostly through internal motivation but the "monetary reinforcement" certainly doesn't hurt!
The best way I have been able to motivate my middle school students to sing is to convince a current music professional to come in and do a seminar. It really motivates my older kids.
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