Presented for the Band Division at the 2022 TMEA convention in San Antonio, the session focused on methods to build unity and collaboration in today’s classrooms.
Students from diverse backgrounds, cultures, socio-economic groups and learning styles provide the opportunity to gain experience, learn cooperation, strengthen musical paths and build teams for a great band program. Music creates the most positive environment for cooperation, growth, and team building.
Practical teaching methods to develop tone, rhythm, technique, balance, and blend include listening/ear training exercises in group practice, building ensemble skills and confidence in performance. Daily listening/ear training exercises in group rehearsals develop intonation, dynamic range, and ensemble precision, adding maturity and confidence in students. Building unity and collaboration in diverse levels of students creates cooperation in the classroom, and as a recruiting and retention tool, live performance brings musical excitement to potential students, parents, administrators, and community support for the program. Try these practical exercises for an immediate benefit in your program!
- Use acoustic sounds (singing or playing a keyboard instrument) to create a sense of pitch in students.
- Musical sounds bring focus to a group, so encourage singing in the class.
- Begin rehearsals with live musical sounds rather than using an electronic sound source.
- Sing, whistle, or hum a single pitch as students arrive in the classroom.
- Scales are perfect melodies that are easily harmonized with simple chords. Build a tonic chord (I, III, and V) by selecting three students to sustain the chord while the class plays the scale.
- Rotate players within the section to avoid “top” or “bottom” of the section syndrome, for example, even/odd pairings, reverse order, or draw #’s out of a hat for chair order.
- Use ear training exercises to break the habit of fingering written notes without hearing musical sounds.
- A mechanical/technical approach to music lacks phrase direction, and encouraging pitch connection builds confidence.
- Transpose simple scale patterns to develop intonation and phrasing in students. Developing phrase direction begins in the first lesson by encouraging students to explore, create and enjoy music.
MaryKaren Clardy, Regents Professor in the College of Music at the University of North Texas, appears as a soloist and chamber artist throughout the US, Europe, South America, and Asia. Renowned as a teacher, she regularly presents masterclasses, and her students are consistent winners of international and national competitions. An established author, Ms. Clardy’s 12 books, published by Leduc, Schott, and Universal Edition, are standards in music curriculums throughout the world.
Recruiting & Retention Minority Students
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