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April 29, 2014 at 12:19 am #36758
Hi! What are your rehearsal expectations? Do you expect silence in the room during class? How do you enforce it? Do kids quit because they think you’re mean? I have a group that just cannot and won’t be quiet. Anyone have some suggestions? PS it’s a brass class and mostly boys.April 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm #36764
Hello, my name is Jesse with Hyson Music. I just showed your inquiry to one of our most veteran instructors. His reply may seem simple, but as we all know, it is ‘easier said then done’.
“Students respond best to consistency. You need to have a good solid plan prepared for the day’s lesson. ANY down-time on the part of the instructor will allow them to drift. If you keep the lesson moving and keep them playing as much as possible, you will naturally have less issues with discipline. You need to be consistent each & every lesson with what you expect from your class. You cannot be ‘easy-going’ one week and ‘strict’ the next.”
Best of luck with your class! 🙂April 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm #36783
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.
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