Ever wished you could wield a magical conductor’s baton and instantly have your students ready for a concert? It’s a charming thought, but let’s face it, real life doesn’t work that way! While we can’t eliminate all stress (some of us thrive under deadline pressure 😉), there are indeed teaching and planning strategies that keep me calm and organized in the midst of it all.
My journey toward writing the book, ‘Program Preparation: Teaching Strategies to Avoid Rehearsal Boredom,’ began when I found myself trapped in a teaching routine. I was stuck, using the same strategies for every new song in our repertoire. I was bored, and worse, my students weren’t truly connecting with the music. I realized that although I was doing some things well, I still craved variety in rehearsals, all while struggling with limited rehearsal time. I’ve gathered invaluable insights from a mix of experiences, both good and not-so-good.
My two most significant revelations were:
- The whole-part-whole learning process works wonders. This process had been a staple in my regular music classroom lesson plans. However, when it came to planning concert rehearsals, I often skipped over the crucial first “whole” phase due to time constraints. I learned that introducing students to the entire piece before delving into individual parts significantly expedited their learning process.
- Careful planning can help me maintain my curriculum while preparing for a performance. By choosing a different curricular focus for each song in the repertoire, I injected variety into rehearsals while addressing various curriculum topics. In some cases, I even consulted my curriculum map first, selecting songs that aligned with previous or upcoming units.
So, how can I assist YOU? Conversations with fellow music educators, both in person and online, revealed that many others shared my need for rehearsal planning guidance. I knew I wanted to provide deeper help, which led me to write this book!
Program Preparation: Teaching Strategies to Avoid Rehearsal Boredom
In the first section of ‘Program Preparation,’ I delve into two distinct framework strategies and seven focus areas that transformed my rehearsals. Each area incorporates active, purposeful listening and is explained in detail. Additionally, I’ve included numerous easy-to-implement activities that focus on the crucial initial “whole” phase of the learning process, serving as a valuable resource for your rehearsal planning.
The second section outlines my planning system, which has kept me organized and infused variety into my rehearsals. Here’s where considering your curricular goals comes into play! This extra layer of structure helped me stay on track for upcoming performances, with options for both paper and digital planning.
As professional musicians, we know that listening is key to achieving our best performances. Younger students can also use listening as a learning tool. Part of our role as music teachers is to teach our students HOW to listen purposefully during learning and performance.
The result? Students who are well-prepared, and you feeling confident in how your curricular goals align seamlessly with that looming performance deadline.
Ready to explore these strategies further? Let’s embark on this exciting journey together!
Click here to learn more about Program Preparation: Teaching Strategies to Avoid Rehearsal Boredom
Sally Utley is a seasoned music educator who recently retired after 30 years of teaching elementary band, junior high band, high school color guard, and 24 years of elementary music. As the lead elementary music teacher in her district, she provided professional development, supervised curriculum development, and mentored first-year music educators.
Sally holds a BME from Oklahoma State University and an MME from the University of South Carolina. She holds Elementary General I, Early Childhood I, and Instrumental Music Learning Theory certifications as well as Orff Level I and Early Middle Childhood Vocal National Board Certification. An active teacher-author and presenter, Sally shares her expertise through her blog, www.sallysseaofsongs.com.