Finishing Strong Music Education by Joel Wagner - May 28, 2007July 5, 20100 A band director I used to work with said this. The concept is that success comes from finishing something well. It’s easy to start something great. Greatness comes from finishing something great. That is why greatness is so elusive. One And A Half Is Not The Same As Two I find myself saying the very thing to my students. Why? Because so many of them start notes well but give up before the end. One and a half is not the same as two. A half note does not get most of two beats, it gets two beats. Simple. But How Does This Apply To Me? Simple. Most of us teachers are at or near the end of the school year. This is not the time to be racing home from work, trying to beat all of the kids home! This is time to keep the momentum going. Use the current proximity to the year to really be able to objectively sit down and evaluate what worked and what didn’t work. The summer is long enough to forget some things. That can be both good and bad. I will sit down this week and really analyze some things that worked and some things that didn’t. I will revise my band handbook. I will do so by scouring the web for strong, successful band programs and printing off their handbooks. I’ve already started! I will revise my classroom procedures pages and classroom rules and all of those things. After that, I will leave the stuff alone. Let is settle for a month or two. Then when the end of July approaches, I’ll begin dusting stuff of and be able to look at things again with fresh eyes. There will probably be some major revisions done again, but this is the nature of the beast. In a way, it’s like getting a friend to proofread your term paper in college in that I will be two months removed from the process. The power of music is in the end of the school year. Finish strong. But don’t let the finish line be the end. Your students deserve a little more effort from you! Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.