Issue: July-September 2010
Bandworld Magazine Page

 

Head
The Cornerstones for Program Success (concluded)

by Tim Lautzenheiser  

* ESTABLISH A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE:

From the moment the young musicians walk into the room until the end of the rehearsal, there should be a detailed plan for the most advantageous use of time. It is important to create, maintain, and support an attitude of positive learning through the establishment of a safe, challenging, encouraging environment reflecting-and-respecting the integrity of the musical art form. Unfortunately much time can be squandered because the EXPECTATION OF EXCELLENCE has not been properly explained (and reinforced) for the members of the organization. It is imperative we link self-discipline and group maturity to culture of the learning climate. (This is not to thwart the social aspect of the ensemble experience, however rehearsal time IS for rehearsal; let’s use the time accordingly.)

* CONERSTONE #3: EMPHASIZING THE WHY

- The good teacher tells.

- The excellent teacher explains and demonstrates.

- The master teacher inspires.
(William Arthur Ward)

Mr. Ward’s words ring true in every aspect of our educational community; and perhaps they are MOST vivid in the world of music education. If we analyze the wisdom of his quote, we can apply it to our daily teaching habits and help us create a healthy atmosphere supporting the entire spectrum of music learning, music making, and music listening.

THE GOOD TEACHER TELLS

THE WHAT

The very essence of educational process is, “passing information from one source/mind (teacher) to another source/mind (student).” This represents the WHAT in the curriculum. From WHAT year did Columbus land on the shores of America to WHAT is wrong with the intonation in the low brass section? We are all trained to bring to our classrooms and rehearsals rooms a library of evolving valuable data (WHAT) to expand and improve the lives of our students. Even as we continue our own education via workshops, graduate school, seminars, conventions clinics, etc., we add to our own informational library. WE KNOW MORE WHAT.

However, if all we do is TELL our students this important data without holding them accountable for integrating it into their lives, we may be nothing more than yet another source of facts-and-figures. The overriding question is, “Is the material communicated in a way our students will realize it has a positive impact in relation to their well-being,”? Rather, is it relevant to their lives, and does it have a lasting effect? Most certainly the WHAT is a crucial foundation block, but we certainly cannot stop at this point in the process.

THE EXCELLENT TEACHER EXPLAINS AND DEMONSTRATES

THE HOW

This area of music education is one of the most exciting, since our discipline begs for EXPLANATION and DEMONSTRATION. Successful music teachers know it is the “hands-on” learning-processes required for high-level achievement. We simply do not instruct WHAT to do, but we show our students HOW to do it. We are participants as we sing, play, or explain by performing a phrase on a chosen instrument. Not only do we address the HOW of each vital skill, we demonstrate the tone we are seeking, the needed style, and the musical picture we are trying to paint. The class/rehearsal requires so much more than simply “telling the students WHAT to do,” it is a matter of discovering countless ways to EXPLAIN the various avenues of efficiently and effectively reaching the given goal.

* ESTABLISH A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE:

From the moment the young musicians walk into the room until the end of the rehearsal, there should be a detailed plan for the most advantageous use of time. It is important to create, maintain, and support an attitude of positive learning through the establishment of a safe, challenging, encouraging environment reflecting-and-respecting the integrity of the musical art form. Unfortunately much time can be squandered because the EXPECTATION OF EXCELLENCE has not been properly explained (and reinforced) for the members of the organization. It is imperative we link self-discipline and group maturity to culture of the learning climate. (This is not to thwart the social aspect of the ensemble experience, however rehearsal time IS for rehearsal; let’s use the time accordingly.)


 

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