For music educators - By music educators
Band Season is quickly approaching. For many, it is an adrenaline rush. For others, music to their ears. A popular topic we hear each year is the stress that surrounds a new band season. Newbie band directors and veterans frequently have tips.
What are yours?
Be nice to and make friends with your school's custodial staff. They can make or break concert logistics.
Send personal concert invitations to board of education members and school administrators.
The band season began for me when I entered the fourth grade class room to acquaint the students with
the instruments that they could actually start on in the summer. I went over basic concepts of what I actually would teach to the kids on each instrument in the sequence that I would teach it when they started. In other words they were actually getting the first lessons they would get when they started on the horn though they didn't know that at the time. That in itself made the first lessons go smoothly as the foundation had already been laid. At that first lesson I gave them a written sheet of exactly what I covered in the lesson. Usually there were about six to ten steps in the sequence for each instrument.
After the students were acquainted with all of the horns, they were given a letter to take home to the parents which explained the program and what they needed to do. The letter was to be returned signed with an indication of their first and second choice for an instrument to play. The first and second choice was important because from time to time for various reasons one instrument might get very over loaded
in the process. Who needs 35 saxophones, flutes or drummers? The balancing of instrumentation in the
program at the elementary level is important. It can be diplomatically handled if done with some thought
and will result in an acceptable balance.
I could go on in more detail but I'm not sure if this is the kind of information you were seeking. Essentially what I'm saying is that every step of the sequencing of what is done is laid out carefully so that by enlarge there are no big surprises and because of this organization it becomes a pleasurable experience for the directors and thus it becomes one for the kids too.
The organizing of these house keeping chores made it possible to be relaxed in the actual teaching situation. Thus stress level was way down and it was possible to focus creatively on the actual teaching.
From experience, year to year, it was possible to change and feel better about what I did. It becomes a creative evolutionary process.