What makes you really excited? Studying music history? Sight-reading new repertoire? Dreaming up game ideas? Improvising arrangements of familiar tunes by ear?
Capitalize on your own area of interest to build the enthusiasm of your students. Invest your excitement into putting together creative assignments for your students. For example, plan a group class around composers and have every student present a brief report on a composer of their choosing. Or host a “Sight-Reading Super Stars Challenge” and let students put star stickers on a chart on the wall for every piece they sight-read throughout one month. Or pull out a deck of flashcards and come up with a fun, short game that you can play for the first five minutes of every lesson one week. Or hold a Name that Tune challenge where you print up a list of possibilities and give it to the student for reference; then play various tunes and have them see if they can identify which one it is from the list on the sheet.
One of the most effective approaches I ever started was developing a year-long practice incentive theme for my entire studio. Our whole year is built around the theme and I build in enough structure so that it functions like a lesson plan for the whole year, commingled with enough flexibility to customize the assignments for each student and for any specific needs throughout the year. I was able to spend a bit of time organizing my files over Christmas break and have put together a Resources for Sale page that highlights outlines each of the practice incentives that I currently have available, including the newest one that I finally added – Mastering the Mystery of Music! I’ve included not only the ready-to-print files, but also the original Word Doc files that are fully editable so that you can use the basic idea but customize and adapt it for your studio. Plus, this program also includes lesson plans for 6 correlating group classes throughout the year, complete with objectives, games, resource links, and weekly clues. (This is the kind of thing that gets me really excited, and brainstorming up a new idea every year definitely re-ignites my enthusiasm! :-D)