Are you preparing music students for festivals? In the last post I shared tips for preparing your students for an amazing sight reading session. This post would go into a bit more personal side of preparing students for a music festival.
For those of you who don’t know me, I teach orchestra full time. I started this blog a couple of years ago in order to share some of the things that are working for me. This music education blog has also been an amazing way to connect with teachers outside my district. I write quite a bit about orchestra. I also write posts about general teacher and stress free teaching.
I am often asked to do clinics or judge festivals at districts around Albuquerque, where I live. This is the start of that particular post.
Three Harmless Habits That May Cost You Lower Scores at Your Music Festival
Sight Reading Music at Festivals- Don’t Be One of These Teachers
There is something very transparent about the sight reading portion at festivals. It can tell a lot about the whole festival experience. Parallels from it can be drown to advise the whole festival preparation.
You may have experienced that sight reading music at festivals works a bit differently than the actual performance. By the time the students enter the sight reading room they are relaxed and no longer on their “best behavior”.
This is where THE REAL dynamics of the class come through. You could easily see the respect the students have for their teacher, their focus and engagement.
As we all have our students’ best interest at heart, we as teachers can also step our boundaries.
Have you seen the following three teacher personalities before? All three come down to one problem – the inability to take constructive feedback. And unfortunately taking feedback is the very ingredient that turns a good teacher into a great one.
1. The teacher who tells the kids “Have you heard this before”
This is so common. You are at a festival. Another teacher tells your students exactly the same things you have been repeating in the classroom all the time. You want to scream to the students See.. I have told you the same thing so many times. If you had only listened…
And the students probably have heard this from you before. We are all educators. We know that kids often need to hear the same information in many different ways before it sinks in. Except that by pointing it out, you my be demonstrating unprofessional behavior.
I had a teacher at the judging room. As soon as the students finished playing, that person would not stop “adding” to anything I say. It was clear she felt uncomfortable with any feedback. Sensing that I made sure my feedback was positive. Yet, after the last word of mine she yelled at the students that “they have heard all of these comments from her many times”. I congratulated her on a good performance…knowing that she heard nothing.
This usually comes from GOOD teachers who strive for perfection and don’t want anyone else to be in a position of having more to offer to the students. I understand as I have found myself in similar situations.
But think about this: does this behavior show command over your teaching or insecurity?
2. The teacher who interrupts the judge
That should not even be a subject in this category.
Except that it is.
I had a teacher come in to the sight reading room. As soon as I introduced myself and started letting the students know about the sight reading rules, he would stop me letting me know that the students already knew what I had to say…really?
Hmm, I am thinking that if your rating is in the hands of a judge, and if you know that your rating is tied to your teacher evaluation, wouldn’t it be a good idea to respect that person first?
Just a thought…
3. The teacher who would not take advise or criticism
I had a teacher come and ask for a clinic. It was that festival’s rule that younger groups do not do sight reading, but instead play for comments only. Always fun to hear different groups and support them! That teacher had his students play. Then in the middle of the second piece, he stopped the class. To my surprise he started teaching the class in front of me, telling the kids what they had forgotten to do. “We were supposed to listen in measure 5, and the ending was going to be Forte”.
I stood there thinking one of us was at the wrong place.
Besides not allowing for any clinic to happen and not accepting any help, this teacher also looked…well you know.
At the End
Music teachers are by nature wonderful people. We all share the same goal – bringing music to young people. We all believe in the power of music education. Music teachers also get to that goal though different means. We lean all the time! And you never know when you will get your best lesson in teaching!
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