Welcome to Education: Now Change Your Plans To Fit OUR Schedule Music Education by Joel Wagner - March 31, 2009June 30, 20104 I was supposed to have my Pre-UIL concert tonight, but we were informed yesterday afternoon that the 7th Graders would be having pre-registration that night instead and they need to use the cafetorium, and gym. Of course! By the time I left school at 5:45 this afternoon, parents were already showing up and trying to go into the band hall. Evidently they had meetings scheduled in there tonight also. Lemme tell you, I can’t wait to get to the band hall tomorrow morning and figure out what they’ve done with my chairs and stands that I had set up for our 7am rehearsal! So in my last article, I mentioned that I require pass-offs and also that I cut students. Those two items elicited a few questions in the comments, so I thought I would use this opportunity to eloaborate on them a bit. Pass-offs In an effort to ensure that all of my students worked on all of the music and were at least attempting to learn it all, I set up a pass-off system. What this means is that I hear each individual student play every measure of music. Much like some band directors require students to tape record themselves playing (or the cool “with-it” ones use SmartMusic nowadays), I feel that the face-to-face thing works a little better and helps me to connect with the kids a little more. Initially I had set up to require them to make two mistakes or less on every section (each concert piece is divided into 5 sections) before they got the sticker on the pass-off chart. As time has progressed, I have come to realize that my music is too challenging. So I had to give in or else I wouldn’t have only had two trumpets, a clarinet, and a percussionist go to contest with me this year! Cutting people out of parts As far as cutting people, one of my readers thought I meant that if they couldn’t play a few measures of music, I just cut them out of the band. Not hardly. In fact, some of the kids cut themselves, and I do everything I can to encourage them to go anyway! What I meant by cutting them, was that I cut them from playing that measure or that note or whatever. I want the music to sound as good as it possibly can while still giving all of the students the chance to learn the music and participate! On an unrelated note I will be participating in ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog beginning on Monday. Join me! 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.