While my first year was mostly a learning experience disguised as a disaster, this year has been more invigorating and enjoyable. I come home happy most days so far, and feel ready to go the next day, for the most part. Last night is one example, where I had been at school from 7am to 9pm, with rehearsals and classes all day, and still felt well enough to stay up until after midnight doing things. That would have never happened in P-ville.

Anyway, today I learned that I have lots of ideas of what I want to do in the classroom, and I know all the concepts I want to teach the kids, but I don’t know the order in which to teach them. Band directors in this year don’t rely on lesson plans, other than rough ones they make in their heads, so that doesn’t help much. I’ve tried using lesson plans, and it fails pretty hard.

It’s all about the sequencing. I can pace pretty well, but today, I was at a loss for what to teach my saxophone and flute beginners. I’m still learning, but I thought it was important to point out that I’m feeling a bit ignorant today, and a bit under prepared. I have some notes know of what I want to do.

Routines, I believe, are very important in beginning playing (or any playing) so that’s what I’m focusing on: Counting, breathing exercises, time on the mouthpiece/head joint, concept review, book-work, and learning the chromatic scale by rote. That’s what’s gonna start tomorrow.


4 Responses to “routines”

  1. This issue of setting routines and procedures has been my biggest challenge as I have just changes levels from HS to MS. I’m starting to do better, but it sure isn’t easy!

  2. Thanks for including me on your blogroll!

    I’m a little surprised to read that you don’t use lesson plans. Have you tried mapping out your goals? What do you want your students to know or be able to do by the end of the year, or by the time they graduate from your program? Is it possible to create some progressive goals to reach during the course of the year? I’ve found it very helpful to have a vision for what you want your graduates to accomplish and get them there with a stepping stone approach.

  3. I second Stengel. Plans are invaluable. What your principal/mentor/professors didn’t tell you is that you DON’T have to start by writing daily lesson plans. Besides, it take several years to build up your work until you have lesson plans for every day.

    I would recommend that you start at the annual level (as Stengel said) and decide what your students have to know by the end of each year. Then break that down by semester or quarter, using your concerts as benchmark points during your year. When you know what knowledge and skills the kids need for your winter concert pieces, then it becomes much easier to start making plans. Personally, I generally plan down to the week level, to stay focused on target concepts rather than activities. This also gives me flexibility to deal with unforeseen hurdles such as student learning hangups and late-breaking school events.

  4. yeah, don’t get me wrong, I don’t completely wing it. I keep the kids doing things that will ultimately prepare them for better playing from year to year, good foundations, and I have long term goals, but its the order and sequencing that I really don’t have definition in. Yes, it is making classes more stressful right now, but I’m refining. Once I get the kids in the book, things will smooth out some.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

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