Reply To: Rehearsal Attendance – where to draw the line?
Wow, sounds like a tough situation. And very similar to what I faced when teaching 6-12 band a few years ago. The JH kids were on a modified split-block (just the words sound awful, huh?). I saw them 2 days per week for 40 minutes and 35 minutes, if I could get to the JH fast enough from my elementary gig and if they weren’t gone already for sports (band was the last hour of the day). I endured that schedule for 2 years until a friend gave me good advice, “if they don’t value you enough to consider schedule changes, you should move on.” I don’t know if that’s possible in your situation, but I think it is good advice. I loved my students and loved being an hour from where I grew up, but I couldn’t keep killing myself for a thankless job.
Now, my 2 cents about your situation: I think you’re fighting a losing battle. The students see everyone else leaving early, so they want to leave early as well. Could you re-institute early morning rehearsals on Wednesdays? You could tell the students that it would be to their advantage, since they’ll get out early with everyone else.
You might also think about having small group rehearsals on Wednesday afternoons. Something like: 1st and 3rd Wednesday are WW days, 2nd and 4th are brass/perc. If your students are not taking lessons, this would be a great opportunity for them to have more individualized instruction and you could target specific problems that they’re having. In the spring, you could change this to small ensemble/solo rehearsal time. They would still be getting out early half the time so that might stop the complainers.
I’ll keep thinking about this as I totally understand your frustration. Good luck!