I’m looking for some suggestions to bring discipline back to my band. What works and what doesn’t?
When I was in high school missing rehearsal or not knowing your music lost you your spot, but my band is way too small for that.
Any ideas? I’m open to pretty much anything.
I’m assuming the issues are things like being unprepared, chatting, and rowdiness. As for being unprepared, the band teacher at my school has a “penalty box” on the board and I think it reflects in their grade. Not a lot, just maybe a point each time. (I give 4 class participation points/week, so 40/quarter and that’s where I draw from). Maybe you can also come up with a strategy for certain forgetful kids—copies of the music for home, and a folder at school? My elementary band teacher also had reeds, valve oil etc that you had to buy from him if you were unprepared, so there was a cash loss factor too (even though you obv. got to keep the stuff, you might not have needed it at the moment, just were unprepared)
If the kids are distracted or bored, I used to give them tasks. Like, I would say, I’m working with the trumpets—woodwinds, finger along (or start working on the next, harder passage) and percussionists practice x rudiment on pads. Everyone has a task, and you can call them on it if they aren’t doing it.
Also, per my observations last year, the assistant principal encouraged me to wait an uncomfortable amount of time for everyone to quiet down and focus. It was uncomfortable for the first week or two of school but the kids already know the drill. I also use a chime to draw attention to me instead of shouting over them.
Lastly—get in contact at home. Call, email, write a card. Yes, let parents know their child is unprepared. BUT call and let them know, too, when you see a kid doing well. That stuff travels like wildfire and is a huge emotional investment in your students. Worth it.