Reply To: How to teach orchestra?
I think a big factor is definitely picking music that engages the students- familiar standards, movie themes, pop tunes. When kids are excited about what they’re playing, I think they’re more likely to try harder and practice.
A good thing to focus on in rehearsals is playing in tune and playing with good time. I’ve seen all too many young orchestras have a characteristic “string-out-of-tune” sound. If rehearsals are focused on intonation, then the students will eventually become more inherently aware of it. When the students are playing in tune, they’ll start to notice how good they sound, and most likely get even more excited about their playing.
In the end, I’d say it comes down to keeping the kids engaged and excited about orchestra. Middle school is a big time for people to feel “too cool” to be in orchestra, so it’s important to make sure that orchestra stays relevant in the lives of the students.