Using a first-year method book is an obvious one. It helps you manage the almost impossible task of starting tiny little people, with tiny little fingers and huge minds full of curiosity, on their very first steps of musical discovery. Videos of professionals showing some of the basic techniques can help you start them off right, and may remind us of tips we’ve forgotten over the years.
We, as directors of ensembles, are charged with the amazingly challenging task of predicting the future. What is the band/orchestra/chorus going to be like this year? What music is going to challenge my students yet not overwhelm them? What music is going to be achievable yet not bore them to tears?
We live in a time where the tide is turning. Instead of giving everyone a trophy, we’re beginning to teach students how best to deal with both the ups AND downs of life. We’re moving away from helicopter parenting/teaching. Instead we’re allowing students to take calculated risks and see the benefit from both success and failure – giving them a longer leash by which they can engage in self exploration and discovery.