Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year - My "band resolutions"

Happy New Year!  Each year before heading back to school I try to think about things I did in the first half of the year that could have gone better and things I would like to try in the second half of the year, sort of a list of resolutions for my job.  Here is what I have come up with:

1.  I would like to be more consistent in my regular classroom routines, especially my warm-up.  I try hard to use the same routine for warm-up from beginning band through my oldest groups.  This doesn't mean I do the same things every day, it just means I follow the same formula.  Each class does long tones, breathing, articulation exercises, scales, and rhythms each day.  After this we will do some chorales or other things I want to address.  By using the same formula each day, I make sure I am working on these fundamentals consistently.  While I try to do this daily, sometimes I skip parts to get to our music, especially close to a concert.  I would like to become even more consistent with this.

2.  I would like to write more of my own material for beginning band.  It is really easy to overuse beginning band method books... I'll write more about this some other time.

3.  I would like to improve my classroom management - I know this isn't really specific.  I like to think I do a decent job with classroom management, but you can always do better!  The more structured and organized my classes and classroom are, the easier my day is.  I will post about this as I work on it.

Well, that's it.  What are your "band resolutions?"


  1. Hey, this sounds like a good start to the year! I have made similar resolutions in the past and the main thing I realized is that I made progress in my classroom management and teaching skill even if I wasn't always that great at sticking to my resolutions. I really resonated with your comment about overusing method books - teaching music should be about the literature!! Keep posting man and I will keep reading!

  2. Hello, I also agree with the use of the method book issue. Even the newest and best don't keep kids practicing. This is my greatest challenge and biggest single New Years resolution. I teach 4 bands, across the grades 5-12 and the only kids that practice regularly are my flutes. In every group. I'm not sure what that's about. Calling parents is not appreciated in my district, though there are a few I can e-mail and that's helpful. Most directors I talk to in southern MN have the same issue. Kids don't practice anymore. Any thoughts?

    One new thing that has helped my warm ups is that I have each of my seniors take turns leading the warm ups because regardless of what method is used, the students pay closer attention to the process. It also lets me put attendance in the computer and look around the room and watch for things I don't always see from the podium. We also play a different scale everyday and each friday we have a playing quiz on it. A simple pass/fail, lightning paced individual assessment. As soon as one student is done the next one plays. It takes about 15 minutes or less depending on the scale. It keeps them on their toes and forces them to learn those lesser used fingerings. Technicises for Band (Heritage Music Press) is a good start for junior high and I use Foundations for Superior Performance (Kjos) with the high school groups.