Region band clinics are a wonderful opportunity for our students to grow as musicians, but don’t forget they are a great place for you to grow as a director as well. Here are some ideas for how to get more out of your region band clinic.
- Sit in on the rehearsals and take notes. Normally as band directors it’s hard to get out and observe other rehearsals. This is the perfect opportunity to watch how another director (and certainly a good one if they’ve been asked to work with top students) uses warm-ups, rehearsal techniques, and time management to prepare a performance in a short time period.
- Plan a block of time to “Talk Shop” with other directors from around the region. Try to choose more experienced directors for this. Look for people outside your normal circle and find people you admire and look up to. Here’s a quote to think about: “You become like the 5 people you spend them most time with. Choose carefully.” Think ahead of time about what questions you want to ask or what topics you’d like to discuss. But be open to any advice they have to share.
- Really listen to the sounds the students are making during rehearsals and during the concert. Listen to how the band is balancing and the ensemble sound. Often directors become so accustomed to the sounds of their students they become numb to how they sound compared to how they should sound. Listening to great recordings and attending outstanding concerts at music conventions are ways to “clean your ears,” but your local region band clinic is an opportunity as well.
- Take a score to study or a book you’ve been meaning to read to improve your teaching. If you forget, you can always read through articles here on BandDirectorsTalkShop.com. This way if you have extra time when there is no rehearsal going on, no one convenient to talk shop with (and especially no wi-fi) you can still make good use of your time. And even if you do have internet and can take care of some emails or planning, this is one of those times when you might actually read a book if it’s with you. So plan ahead. And if you have a great book to recommend that can improve people’s teaching, post it below in the comments to give others ideas.
- Invite all of your band students to attend the concert. It is a chance for them support their fellow band members and be motivated to make the band in the future. It’s also a great opportunity for their parents to see what their child will be a part of if they are selected to the band the following year.
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