Adding Gadgets to Your Rehearsals

Vary the classroom learning throughout your rehearsals with different applications of technology.

Playing around with new things can be a lot of fun or very stressful when forced upon us.  Adding anything new to your rehearsals should feel like it’s an extension of your teaching, not a commercial break imposed by the powers to be at your school. Be proactive. Find ways to help yourself do what you need to get done.

Some basic guide lines to start with:

Always practice by yourself first; so you can end with a positive result. Take time to learn and experiment before doing anything new with the group. Understand the learning curve.

Rehearsal is still about rehearsing. Students still need to feel that they have accomplished something at the end of class. Gadgets add to the rehearsal, not replace it or detract from it.

Getting Started:
What is your goal/target for adding something new?
Adding new things: always add in small amounts.  Can they digest it?

Expect students to have a mixed reaction.  Some will:
Be interested in trying something new.
Have a wait and see attitude about something new.
Panic about any change.

We are role models/mentors. (Contrary to what Nike and Charles Barkley say.) Monkey see, Monkey do, in other words, is very real to our kids.  If we use a device in class, students will associate it as something that is appropriate and helpful for learning. For example, I have a metronome, tuner and recording app on my phone. I tell my bands that my phone is for teaching not texting and that when I have it out in class it is only for teaching. 

When I’m away from my podium and tuner, I will use my phone to tune an issue.  Many of my students will often go and download a tuner for use at home after they experience its use in class.  The point is simple that we can make kids comfortable with the technology that is useful to our classes. This does require time and effort to stay up on major trends and the changes that come every year to your district’s infrastructures.

Our classes are used to seeing a tuner or wave recorder being projected onto the wall screen during rehearsals.  Recording themselves to an mp3 file and submitting it over the internet for playing test is something we practice at school first and then the kids like it better than playing live.  Well, most kids.

Websites and apps are changing constantly.  This makes it a challenge to keep up with good sites and poor ones alike.  This is now just part of rehearsal prep.   Unfortunately, there is often a monetary cost involved with keeping up on technology that is truly useful.  Work with your school as much as possible to try and piggyback on grants, funding etc. to try and get some help.  Most apps are not too expensive.  A gadget should make  it easier for you as well as the kids.

Steve Giovanoni attended UNT. His teaching experiences include both large and small school programs. He is currently teaching at Randolph ISD. His bands have been state finalists for both TMEA Honor Band and ATSSB OPS as well as participating at Texas State Marching Contest. He has presented clinics at the Midwest Clinic, TMEA Convention and the TI:ME National Convention. Hector Perez attended A&M Kingsville. He is currently at Randolph Schools. His students have been to the state round of the TMEA Honor Band process and the ATSSB OPS and have been a participant of the Texas State Marching Contest. He has presented clinics at the TMEA Convention, TI:ME National Convention and Midwest Clinic. 


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