As a seemingly crazy follow up to my lost post (When Practice DOESN'T Make Perfect) I am launching a simple practice incentive programme that focuses on the QUANTITY of practice my students are doing! (Yes, I know students should be practising purely for the joy of it but who has a full quota of students like that?!)
Quantity IS important though - up to a point. If you've got students who are only practising at the weekend or the evening before their lesson then increasing the number of times they sit down at their piano is going to have an enormous effect. Their finger strength will improve, their technique will improve, their muscle memory for their pieces will improve... simply by playing more frequently your students will make MUCH better progress!
But what of your last post? I hear you cry... Practice can have a detrimental effect. It's true! So to try to guard against that I give my students structured activities and guidance in their weekly practice notes. See an example here. I am a realist though and I recognise that even with the best structure and the best guidance some students may still be practising WITHOUT making perfect and to deal with that I'd best have a practice incentive targetting things like EFFICIENT practice next half term!
It would be great to hear how you encourage your students to practise - please share your ideas in the comments or by email.