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Bandworld Magazine Page


My Rehearsal is a Riot!
10 Years Ago in Bandworld
Click here for part 2
by William Fry and William Prescott

Developing Superior Rehearsal Discipline

Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.
Good discipline is the result of student respect for you, your personality, your skills, your musicianship.
Good discipline is a result of proper rehearsal atmosphere.
Good discipline is a result of setting high expectations for your students.
Good discipline is a result of setting and striving for individual and group goals.
Good discipline is a result of your respect for your students.
YOU are the number one cause of the success of your band, orchestra or chorus.
YOU, THE TEACHER, may also be the number one cause of discipline problems!

  • You talk too much!
  • You are not prepared for class.
  • You try to learn the score at rehearsals.
  • You start the rehearsal with talk and announcements instead of MUSIC; 90% of the discipline problems are caused by you, the teacher!
  • Slow-paced rehearsals cause boredom (i.e. discipline problems).
  • You permit students to talk during rehearsals.
  • You talk over students who are talking.
  • You are hesitant in corrections, you say "let's go back to No. 5," without giving a reason.
  • You don't know your score, so you're really winging it during class. (How do you know if students are making mistakes if you don't know the score?!)

Fast-paced rehearsals eliminate many discipline problems. That means:

  • Keeping your head out of the score, memorizing the score, being ready to conduct a performance at the very first rehearsal. Students will usually sense when you are winging it, when you don't know what corrections to make.
  • Boredom in the rehearsal is a major cause of poor discipline.
  • Don't say it, conduct it. Teach them your conducting motions. Memorize the score; know what every instrument is supposed to be playing. You can't teach what you don't know. Keep your head up and out of the score. Keep eye contact with the students.
  • Poor results can be a major source of dissatisfaction among students and, therefore, poor discipline.
  • Students can sense poor quality of teaching-lack of balance in the ensemble; overblowing; poor tonal quality; poor sectional balance; lack of technical preparation.
  • Students may not know the CAUSE of poor results, but they will blame it on you, the teacher-and that causes poor discipline.
  • DO YOU TALK TOO MUCH?  It's a MAJOR cause of poor discipline.

More Ways to Poor Discipline:

  • Your preparatory beats are confusing.
  • You don't diagnose the problem, you just say, "let's do it over."
  • You work too long on one problem and lose the group's interest. (There's always tomorrow.)
  • You rehearse the complete work when spot rehearsal (small segments) would improve interest (and, incidentally, improve technique).
  • You don't break down problems into musical factors, then drill each factor.
  • You talk too much!
  • You don't use a blackboard to clarify problems.
  • You make the whole group sit idle while you repair an individual's instrument.
  • You never work on fundamentals, so you don't have any carry-over value from one piece to another.
  • Your exact ictus (tip of baton at point of attack) is not clear.
  • Your baton beats are out of sight of the students.
  • Your eyes cannot be seen because your head is in the score.
  • You didn't check the height of the students' music stands (too high or too low), so they cannot see your eyes, baton and facial expressions.
  • Your rehearsals are slow-paced and lose student interest.
  • You talk too much, instead of letting your baton talk for you.

                                                                                                                           - CONTINUES -


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