Reply To: 7th/8th Grade Music

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Cathy, give them little rewards. You have to give them something; sounds like these kids will not accept the idea that a good performance is the reward. At the local teachers store I found a big package of 600 stickers of varying sizes and messages for a few dollars. When students have “a good day” or when they play a particular exercise very well, give them a sticker (“you earned a sticker! that ___ was beautiful!) This goes a long way with kids. To us it’s just a piece of colored paper with glue 🙂 but to them it’s big. I learned this my first year teaching – was very surprised to learn that tough middle schoolers value stickers. Continue explaining that they are doing very well and that there will be a big surprise after the concert. “Surprise” will leave them on edge in a good way.

The day after my choir performs I usually give them a game / dance day. They have worked hard and deserve it. You can see the fatigue and lack of patience in their faces by the last rehearsal! I put in Radio Disney’s Move It CD (clean versions of popular dance songs) or anything Radio Disney. We play the Cup Game, Tarzan the Monkey Man etc. I occasionally ask them which games they enjoy and learn a new one.