Reply To: Putting your best players in one band and what's left…

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Hello bandgoddess,

I am sorry to hear that you are having difficulty. I apologize, but I have not actually dealt with this situation before, as I am actually just a junior in college, but I hope I can at least offer some helpful advice.

What kind of management strategies are you currently using with them? What procedures do your rehearsals typically follow? Make sure that your warm ups are not the exact same every day; switch it up to avoid monotony. This may sound strange, but have/would you consider giving them more power in the classroom? I have read that when students are more responsible for their own education, they are more invested in it. For example, maybe you have tried this already, but if not you could try having the students hold sectionals for a day, and perhaps they may surprise you and actually be more engaged in learning the music. This of course is something band directors commonly do. But there are other ways that the students could be more responsible too. Perhaps you could have an open discussion with them about the music, asking them for their interpretations of the music that they play and building upon those interpretations, offering support and other suggestions. Another idea for a future concert is to have a day where you and your class listen to different pieces that you would consider performing and having them select the repertoire from the different examples they listened to. This would immediately indicate their interest in a piece, naturally making them more invested and willing to work on it. Do not be afraid to include some pop songs or selections from movies. One assignment you could do to nurture a general interest in music is have the students listen to pieces at home and choose one to present to the class, describing specific aspects about the music that they enjoy. This could help you select music that they might find more interesting as well. My final thought is to connect the music somehow to the students’ different specific interests, helping to ensure that the students think about the music.

I am just an amateur, so I cannot guarantee anything, but I sincerely hope that these suggestions may help your situation in some way. I wish you the best of luck!