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Monday, November 9, 2015

Leadership: Preparing students for the next level.

This year I was asked to teach at my local high school, in addition to the junior high.  It has been a bit of an adjustment to add another prep and to be so busy.  Yet, it has been a good experience to be able to see my beginners in 7th grade, and view the progress and development of students up to high school.  Now that I have experience at the high school, I see how important it is to prepare my junior high students in certain areas.  Because of this insight, I have been working to be sure my junior high students are more comfortable with shifting and vibrato.  Also, I would like them to develop leadership skills and be responsible.  I used to begin teaching vibrato and shifting to my 3rd year orchestra (9th grade).  This year, I have already begun to teach my 2nd year students these skills and they have been doing an excellent job.  This summer, I plan on releasing a book with exercises for teaching shifting in a string orchestra setting.  

As part of the process to prepare students for high school, I passed out this 'assignment' to my 9th graders. 

I had my class divide into their sections to nominate and vote on a section leader for the term.  The goal is to encourage students to work together and feel a responsibility towards their sections and the orchestra as a whole.  This leadership policy/assignment was welcomed, and many students were desirous to take on a leadership role to serve their sections.  I will let the sections vote on a different leader each term.  

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