In another post, I wrote about how one of my schools performed a particularly poor Winter Concert. That experience has forced me to reflect on my teaching techniques and rethink some of my basic approaches to working with those students. In previous posts, I shared some thoughts about how I’ll address classroom management and rhythm and pulse. In this post, I’ll write about documenting rehearsals.
One odd aspect of teaching at multiple schools is that sometimes students’ progress at one school may not follow progress at another school. One school may have mastered a particular piece or musical concept, while another might be struggling on the same music. One school may have sightread a piece or been introduced to an unfamiliar musical issue while another hasn’t, for whatever reason. I’m embarrassed to admit that sometimes it’s not until making final concert selection decisions that I realize one school is behind my others in their mastery of a certain piece.
I think my lesson planning not necessarily the problem; I’m pretty good about planning what concepts need to be learned and what music needs to be rehearsed. What’s probably not so good is my documenting of what actually was learned or rehearsed. It’s quite possible that an ensemble rehearsed a section of music while half the group was gone on a field trip, or while the players who need the most practice were absent, and it wasn’t until two weeks later that I realized there are major problems.
If you teach at one school and can’t relate to this post, I apologize. If, however, you travel to different schools like I do, and you have an inkling what I’m talking about, please comment below.