Reply To: Rehearsal etiquette
Here is what has worked for me in the past. I borrowed and adapted it from an elementary general music teacher, but it works well for middle or high school band:
I start the class with three points on the board.
At the beginning of class, I put my hand up and count down from five. If they’re quiet before I get to one, we start. If they get quiet before I get to four, they get a point, if I get to one and it’s not silent, they lose a point and I do it again.
For each cutoff, if they stop playing and are quiet, I give them a point. Anything less than that, they lose a point. They get feedback after every cutoff (visually), and we never have to discuss it again.
At the end of class, if they got to a predetermined number of points (say five for the first week, more later,) they get a relevant reward- for example, one year I had them right before lunch, and if they got enough points I would let them go a few minutes early. Other years, I’ll give them a few minutes at the end of class to talk. If they’ve been on track enough to earn enough points, you’ll have saved much more time than that, and talking is what they want to do- you’ll be training them to wait until an appropriate time. And they get to talk without me nagging them to stop. Each day is a clean slate- I never did “when you get to 100 points you get a pizza party” or anything like that- if they have a good rehearsal today, they get time to themselves today. Tomorrow is a new day.
Once I started doing this, I stopped having to raise my voice, ever, and we didn’t have to talk about rehearsal expectations anymore. Rehearsals got more productive and more pleasant. I had to make sure that I always knew why I was stopping them before I cut them off- no down time after the cutoff.