Reply To: Band 5 – Not getting any better at all.
Some quick thoughts for what it’s worth:
1. I’m not a huge fan of dividing bands by ability in the lower grades. You are pulling your best kids out into a separate group…you’d be surprised how the “lower” ability kids improve just by sitting with kids of higher ability. I’ve seen it time and time again when bands are divided by ability at this age group, you end up with a 50/50 split…good kids and kids that will always be terrible.
2. Is there any chance you can get band more than twice a week? I know this is very common, but that’s part of the problem. We had 5th grade band in our district…met once a week. Our JH bands ended up being awful, and many kids would just quit after 5th grade. We eliminated 5th grade band so we could start them in 6th grade and see them every day. The results were astounding. By the middle of 7th grade, they are caught up…and our JH and HS programs are thriving. Our JH 8th grade band just played at the state conference…no way would this have happened had our beginners had band once or twice a week. I know it’s a long shot, but I’d try to see if you can see your kids more.
3. Perhaps I’m a cynic (actually, I’m almost certain I am), but I’ve found practice sheets to be a waste of time. A. The kids lie. B. The parents lie. C. I think there are better ways to motivate kids to practice than assigning it as homework. But that’s just me..they work for many people. If you aren’t seeing results, try something else.
4. No matter how hard you try, there are going to be kids that just don’t get it, or that just don’t care. You can pull them out for one on one time every day, and it will still be like teaching a stump. I don’t know why, but every program has a certain percentage of kids like this. Don’t stress about it..just make sure they are the huge minority of students.