Posted by: meredithbuchanan | September 21, 2009


Organization is key in running a smooth and efficient lesson. I would like to reflect on one of the first times my mentor teacher was away and I was to take charge of the instrumental band classes. She left me specific notes about what needed to be accomplished. The music class that week was an instrument selection class. Students have had a chance to try flute, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone. This class I was to have each child retrieve the instrument they wanted to play, have them set up, fill out a sheet on their instrument, and play me their “Two Note Song” so I could help assess whether that instrument would be a good choice or not.

In the first class, I had all students practice their song while I came around and tried to listen to two players at a time. I found it extremely difficult to hear some of the softer instruments over the louder ones. My voice was getting worn out from trying to talk with each student about their instrument choice over top a class of 25 kids honking away at their horns. I was hardly able to get through testing everyone before the class was over. I was exhausted, out of breath, and my throat was killing me. Luckily it was lunchtime and I had a chance to collect myself, and my thoughts. The next class coming in was even larger, 33 kids; I knew I needed a better strategy to make it a successful class. I needed a better organizational strategy of the class in order to accomplish the set task.

After the lunch I had the large class of 33 students file in. This time I had the students set up their instruments and I gave 2 or 3 minutes for them to blow away at their song. After this I started with the trumpets since they are the loudest. After assessing the trumpets I instructed them to put away their instruments and work on the accompanying sheet. Then I moved onto the trombones, they are the second loudest, after assessing them, I had them put away their instruments and so the same. In doing that, I was no longer competing with the volume of 15 loud horns and could more easily hear and communicate with the clarinets and flutes. Flute is the hardest instrument to make a sound on so I wanted to leave them the most time to practice, so I moved onto the clarinets. In this particular class I had a lot of kids wanting to play clarinet (more the usual, about 12) I had them gather together in a circle and play two at a time so I could hear each child clearly, and speak to them without straining my voice. Once they finished I had them pack up their instruments and work on their instrument choice sheet. Then I made my way to the flutes. I was able to get through testing everyone; I even had a few minutes to spare. Things went much more smoothly the second time when I developed a better strategy for making my way through the lesson.


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