Written by William Rhoden
Published: December 9, 2013 at 5:31 PM [UTC]
So as a teacher I must use the time in my class most effectively. That means the maximum amount of critical playing per student every time I have class. For my middle school intermediate/Advanced group, this means sectionals. I thankfully have great 8th grade leaders, and every section is improving. Students used to get lost in the sea of 47 bodies, now they are getting the attention they need. Problems of counting and note identification are being fixed at a much faster rate than if I try to run a large rehearsal every time.
Of course I am going around make sure the sections are on task and constantly need to isolate issues within the section. I provide feedback and instruction, and most of the time I see great student collaboration. Considering I only see the orchestra every other day (block schedule style), it is necessary that the students own their sound individually and do not forget what they learn. Ideally they would practice on the off day, but most do not make it a priority.
The kids are excited, enjoy orchestra, and are making progress. When we do have large group rehearsals there is significantly less stress, and we actually accomplish a lot. Who would have thought such a simple tool such as sectionals could make such a difference?
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