- Build on what they already know.
- Teach style first.
- Go to the doctor when you first start feeling sick.
- If you want kids to learn something, you better introduce it in the beginning year.
- “It’s not rocket science.”
- Always give more than is required of you.
- You’ve got to face your fears, dig in your heels, and never let them get the best of you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- If you want your band to sound good in the sight-reading room, they must play with a good concept of sound (of their instrument and of a band). This must be taught every day from day one.
- If we sell it, they can do it. (If you build it, they will come.)
- When it comes to beginners, lesson plans must be flexible. Some days they move faster than expected, some days slower. Be ready to adapt based on the needs of the students.
- Thou shalt not breathe at the end of the measure unless it’s the end of the phrase.
- Thou shalt not play the chromatic scale from memory. (Yet)
- You don’t learn to ride a bicycle without taking some falls.
- Always ask, “Is that easy or what?”
- When you’re practicing, don’t ask yourself how you have time to do your warmups. How do you not have time?
- Don’t take it out on the kids.
- Have a metronome marking for everything!
- When speaking to a customer service person on the phone, always start the conversation with, “Hi Jane.” (People like hearing their name. Make people feel special.)
- “Hard” and “Can’t” are four–letter words. (so is break)
- Learn to transpose.
- God invented peripheral vision so that we could watch the band director.
- Don’t play a bad arrangement of a good march. There are too many good marches out there.
- You have to face your demons head-on, or you’ll never get past them.
- If you hear something that doesn’t sound right and you can’t figure out what’s causing it, ask someone for help.
- When it’s someone’s birthday, have them stand on a chair and sing “Happy Birthday to me…”
- Someone’s going to be in charge. It’s either going to be them, or it’s going to be you.
- You don’t practice for thirty minutes and then put up your horn. You practice until you’ve accomplished your goal.
- An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.
These nuggets of wisdom were collected during an amazing student teaching experience at Nimitz JH in Odessa, TX under the direction of Cindy Bulloch & Van Ragsdale. Two giants in the world of band, Mrs. Bulloch & Mr. Ragsdale had a combined 50+ years of invaluable knowledge to share. We hope you can take away a few pieces of advice from this list.
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