By Angela Harman
Reprinted with permission from the Orchestra Teacher blog http://orchestrateacher.blogspot.com/.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the different playing abilities in my classes. I realize all students learn at different rates. Students come with varying backgrounds, opportunities, and skills. All students have different needs and desires in their quest to learn their instruments. I don’t have an audition group, so my students are lumped together by grade. I choose challenging music and help the class learn it together. But I want them to learn it better and faster…and that takes some student accountability. Much of the variance in abilities can be minimized if all students are taking ownership doing their part to achieve greatness.
Term 3 jus started. I have a concert in 5 weeks. Students chose the music for this concert….and I really love how that went! I normally like to maintain control over the repertoire, but a few weeks ago I did a Music Selection assignment with my classes where I chose 12-14 pieces and had students listen (and view the music at JWPepper if there was preview) and take a few notes about each piece. Students then used google form to vote of their top 4 choices.
Here’s a sample of the form I used (students typed directly in the form using Canvas.)
My class didn’t pick the pieces I expected they would pick. We started worked on the new music a couple weeks ago and it has been a blast! Students are motivated and they’re working extra hard because they really WANT to get it. Often at the end of class I hear the best words ever….”That was so FUN!” Allowing students to have ownership for what they are learning has helped them progress more easily.
Now I’d like to help my students take on even more ownership and accountability in their own playing. I’m still hashing out the details. Maybe I’ll have them make goals then record their progress using FlipGrid. But it’s all going to start with this poster…. Too many students settle for progressing at walking pace. It’s time to drive. I want these students cruising. You can access and edit this poster for your own classroom at Canva.com: https://www.canva.com/design/DAETgkvKjhU/jwqEq4U__ME9AhFF6QSsEw/view?utm_content=DAETgkvKjhU&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton&mode=preview