SmartMusic at Instrument Fitting Day

SmartMusic at Instrument Fitting Day

Instrument fitting days are exciting events for your incoming students. They’re also a perfect opportunity to get logistical details out of the way early, freeing you and students to focus on music when school starts. Many educators also use fitting day (or another mandatory parent meeting) to perform administrative tasks including signing everyone up for Remind, CHARMS, and their LMS.

Preparing Your Jazz Band for Festival or Contest

Preparing Your Jazz Band for Festival or Contest

‘Tis the season for festival prep! For many band directors, jazz band happens outside of “regular” rehearsals, and that means preparing for a big performance (like a contest) can be daunting. When faced with limited time, every minute of rehearsal counts!

I like to break contest or festival prep into three phases: repertoire selection, addressing style, and final polishes.

Going Against the Grain: Flexibility Exercises for Trombone

Going Against the Grain: Flexibility Exercises for Trombone

Brass players talk about lip slurs and flexibility to describe mastery over a simple concept: buzzing the right pitch. Band directors are all too familiar with a brass player buzzing the incorrect harmonic partial while fingering the correct notes. The result is the wrong pitch. Things get worse in the upper register, where partials are closer together and more accuracy is required.

Why Is Assessment Important in Music Ensembles?

Why Is Assessment Important in Music Ensembles?

For better or worse, teachers spend a lot of time measuring students.  This measurement is necessary to ensure that effective teaching and learning are happening in each classroom. Ultimately, assessment is about making sure that students meet instructional standards. Testing for testing’s sake isn’t productive. Instead, good assessment should ensure that student learning is measured in a way that helps both students and teachers improve.

How To Practice Sight Reading

How To Practice Sight Reading

Educators agree: sight reading is important. It develops musical literacy, challenges students technically and musically, and checks for understanding of important music theory skills. It can even be fun on occasion. But how should you work sight reading into your rehearsals? After all, you have limited rehearsal time and a lot to cover.

Using Differentiated Instruction in Music Lesson Plans

Using Differentiated Instruction in Music Lesson Plans

Yesterday we talked about how incorporating differentiated instruction into your classroom can help meet student needs, empower them, and help them learn new skills faster. Today we’re going to look at five concrete ways you can get differentiated instruction into your lesson plans.

1. Try “Compacting” for Advanced Students

Strong players often get bored when it’s time to play another F major scale in half notes.

Differentiated Instruction in the Music Classroom

Differentiated Instruction in the Music Classroom

What if there was a way to make your classroom more efficient, save you time, and better communicate with your administrator all at once? Incorporating more differentiated instruction into your classroom takes some work, but the rewards are worth it.

“Differentiated instruction” refers to a teaching philosophy that gives different students different ways to learn the same material.

Lesson Planning for Music Teachers

Lesson Planning for Music Teachers

Why create lesson plans? After all, music ensembles are largely judged on their performances – at concerts, at festivals, at contests, and at school assemblies. If the kids sound good, why should you take the time to plan for every lesson?

For the ensemble director, having a great performance is a goal worth striving for.

5 Quick Fixes for Young Jazz Trombonists

5 Quick Fixes for Young Jazz Trombonists

Having a strong trombone section can take your big band to the next level. It’s tempting to focus on the shout chorus and the sax soli and leave the trombones to their own devices, but a few simple adjustments can bring your young jazz trombonists up a notch, and add power, balance, and consistency to your horn section.

3 Ways to Provide Better Feedback This Year

3 Ways to Provide Better Feedback This Year

Resolutions are easy to make and hard to keep. Instead of resolving to clean out the large instrument closet (which we all know isn’t happening), choose a resolution that you can implement in your classroom incrementally every day.

Communication in December

Preparing for the holiday concert didn’t leave a lot of room for providing thoughtful feedback.