Issue: Jan - Mar 2007
Bandworld Magazine Page


My Rehearsal is a Riot! Part 2
10 Years Ago in Bandworld
Click here for part 1
by William Fry and William Prescott

Setting Goals and Developing Winning Attitudes
(and how it all affects discipline)

SETTING GOALS helps to develop a winning attitude and winning attitudes foster excellence. And excellence leaves little room for poor discipline.

Goals that produce self-motivation in turn produce winners, so set your standards high. When you set high expectations for your students, you dare them to match up.

One way of setting high expectations is to always be preparing for something. If your group is always preparing for some performance, you eliminate many discipline problems.

So, do what musicians are supposed to do: PERFORM! Football shows, marching competitions, Christmas concerts, concert festivals, school assemblies, pep bands, concerts for the community, a concert tour (in or out of state), solo and ensemble festivals, small ensemble public performances (churches, local civic clubs, etc.) Perform! perform!

Don't be afraid of competition (unless you personally can't handle critiques). The benefits are in the growth gained, in the preparation and the actual competitive performance. Every competition represents a chance to improve through evaluation. And that's being a winner. And winning groups don't have many discipline problems.

Competition is in every facet of American life. It's the American way, if used properly. It's a great incentive and great training for adult life: Competition within the section for chair placement, competition for offices and honors, competitions with other bands or orchestras.

Rules and How to Make Them Accepted and Productive

  • Rules are limits which show the teacher cares. Keep rules to a minimum.
  • You should have a band or orchestra Handbook, in which you spell out the major, pertinent rules and regulations.
  • Make them short and concise.
  • Make them reasonable and fair.
  • Overlook what is not important. Failure to know what IS important is a major cause of teacher failure in discipline.
  • Make sure your students know what to expect.
  • Discipline is fair if each individual is treated as an individual and each person gets what they deserve.
  • Avoid issues, if possible.
  • Act on crises immediately.
  • When poor conduct is willful, take immediate action, don't wait.
  • Apologize for your mistakes .... (even music directors make 'em). Don't be afraid to admit making mistakes.
  • Don't give a choice if you don't MEAN choice.
  • Don't ask "WHY?" a person broke a rule.

A Sad Tale About Rules Defeating Their Purpose

An (Un-named) High School Band went on a four-day concert tour to Florida, where they were to participate in a concert festival and a marching contest and have fun and sun on the beaches. The Director's letter (booklet) of instructions included three pages of rules-every little thing the Director could think of, touching all the possible bases. One student quipped, "there's a rule for everything, even going to the bathroom." As a result, most rules were ignored, the discipline was atrocious and word got back to the principal of the high school, who proscribed future band trips until all present members had graduated. MAKE RULES SHORT, CONCISE, REASONABLE AND FAIR. AND THEN ENFORCE THEM.



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