Consistency is Key to Discipline

“Have fair rules and be consistent in enforcing them. My students know the rules and understand why they’re important, and because I enforce them consistently, without bias, they work.”

Good advice from an NAfME member. Here are some other responses to a survey question, “What are the essential practices of successful music teachers?”

  • Consistency is important in maintaining a functional classroom. Inconsistency leads to questioning of authority, which can interrupt the ability to be fair. Equal consequences for all, even your best student.”
  • “Have firm but fair discipline policy. Rules are made and discussed in class meetings, and we implement a lot of ‘love and logic’ techniques.”
  • “It’s impossible to have good discipline and management in the classroom if you’re not consistent and fair. I think that failure to be consistent and fair will hurt the classroom environment and respect for the teacher faster than anything.”
  • “Efforts to establish and consistently enforce policies on class attendance, assignment due dates, and grading policy increase student self-discipline. These policies result in satisfactory performance from the majority of students and often prevent potentially lackadaisical students from doing poorly.”

Follow through with consequences:

  • “Don’t let anyone get away with anything. Nip it in the bud. Don’t back down once a decision has been made.”
  • “Know your school’s discipline protocol, and take full advantage of it. Students need to know you mean business!”
  • “Know what classroom teachers use for discipline.”
  • “For discipline, parent contact is important. If you have a problem that is beyond the control of normal discipline procedures, one call to a parent or guardian is often all it takes.”

These ideas were adapted from Teacher to Teacher: A Music Educator’s Survival Guide.


Crowd Control: Classroom Management and Effective Teaching for Chorus, Band, and Orchestra, by Susan L. Haugland.

Classroom Management in General, Choral, and Instrumental Music Programs, by Marvelene C. Moore.

—Linda C. Brown, June 15, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (