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Q&A for Teachers

From 2007-2010, TMEA members asked and answered over 300 questions featured in a Southwestern Musician article series called "Tutti". Over 3,000 answers were submitted by TMEA members in response to practical questions ranging from pedagogy to fundraising. This bank of valuable knowledge and experience is available here and is searchable by topic and/or magazine issue.

Listed below are answers and questions published in the August 2014 issue of Southwestern Musician. If you would like to view another issue's questions and answers, select an issue from the drop down box and click "Go".

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What have you found to be most important in organizing your classroom for the successful start of a new year?
Submitted by: Anonymous, Answered in: August 2014
All during the year, I plan for the following year's concerts and even order music for the following year
Replace damaged folders
Get a list of the choirs for the following year and try to correct any errors before school is out to make sure that the choir are accurate at the beginning of school.
Have music selected for the first two concerts.
Recruiting--continue
Pass out information about summer TMEA camps
Get all handouts ready for the fall (online now)
Turn in uniforms--get cleaned and ready for distribution at the beginning of the year
Set up voice studios. find additional teachers, if needed.
Set parent booster meeting dates
Send out an end of year newsletter
Have the dates on the master school calendar for the following year
Send in requisition forms for buses (OK, you could save this for the beginning of school)
Election of student officers
Schedule fall choir retreat
Leave library organized and computer list of music updates

Submitted by: Cindy Couch
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Think through everything! That includes but is not limited to: traffic flow, folder cases proximity, most logical and efficient means to disseminate information, what rules are most important to post, classroom procedures, how students will know where to sit, EVERYTHING. One of the most helpful things to do is work backwards in your mind for a class period and write down everything in detail. Then work forward. It goes without saying that there should be interesting, fun, stimulating, and engaging activities for the first week as students are becoming acclimated to the classroom culture you are creating.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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I believe every teacher should have their magic cabinet with all those things needed at a moments notice. My magic cabinet would hold every day use material needed at a moments notice: scales, warm-ups, worksheets, referrals, nurse pass, and incentives. I also believe that a clutter free rehearsal area is a must. Create an area where students can place their personal belongings. Finally, make sure rules and consequences are clearly visible with lots of positive posters in plain view.

Submitted by: Maria Chadwell
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In organizing classroom for year-to-year, I believe you must start at least 6 to 8 months in advance planning for the new growth and the potential income of the students into the population of your school.
I believe that you must start by examining you're goals, create a system that is tailored to your own individual students needs, and then outline them quarterly the process in which you want to achieve those goals.
Get with your staff, brainstorm, argue, express your feelings as we all have different opinions but that is called diversity and with diversity comes success.
The best advice I can give is to just get started, create the plan and then follow it and alter it as needed but stay on target. Diversity with structure equals superior ratings.

Submitted by: Jessie C Smith
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Having my room shiny clean, new stickers ready to hand out, my schedule posted and color coded and posted on the board.
New notebooks, pens, new buckets for supplies. I do like to keep the basics in the same containers and in the same place so my students know where to go and get what they need without asking. They can help new students find things a lot easier.

Submitted by: Nadalin Sarchet
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Start the year with the end in mind. What do you want students to know when they leave next June?

Submitted by: Karen Fincher
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I would have to say getting all the paper work done before the school year starts. It is key to have this done in order to spend more time in front of your students. Once everything is turned in you will not have to worry about deadlines and you can focus completely on your students.

Submitted by: Diana Campuzano
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You have to go into the year with a plan. I try to think of anything I might want to talk to the students about the first day and have it typed up before hand. I have a list of questions developed throughout the years that I try to "pre-answer" for them. Mostly, I try to make sure we can play on Day 1. I want to dive in right away.

Submitted by: Mark Nichols
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As an elementary music teacher, I find it important to organize my classroom in such a way that creates and helps maintain consistent procedures for me to follow with my classes. For me, my first priority is a meeting place where I can set up starting and ending procedures for all of my classes. Making these procedures predictable for my students helps with the transition from recess, testing, or whatever they are coming from into music, and then back again. As I organize the rest of my room from there, I continue to focus on supporting consistent, predictable procedures for my students to follow in my room for everything they do, from going for a restroom/water break, to getting out instruments for a lesson, to writing letters to mom or dad explaining a behavior issue in class.

Submitted by: Curtis Donohue
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--Start early! It wasn't raining when Noah built the arc.
--Be willing to add,remove or adjust your routine given past experience with successful rehearsals.
--Be in the class as students enter so you can monitor and guide the students swiftly into rehearsal.
--Try to keep the same routine to keep the kids comfortable but not lackadaisical.
--Post the agenda and remind the students to read it and be ready when class begins.
--Watch your time

Submitted by: Richard Peters
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The best way to get ready for the start of a new year is to do just that - be ready! Some teachers say, "Well, I didn't get to that, but it will happen eventually..." before the first day of school. If your students walk into chaos on the first day (boxes out, stacks of things here and there) it does tend to set a tone for what will be happening throughout the year. Yes, I realize this means putting in a lot of "off the clock" time (in my district we get ONE work day before school starts!) but it is time well spent.

Once you are sure you are ready, be sure you have good traffic flow - nothing in a place where students may trip, items out of the way of "little hands" that could be broken, and don't forget about your own personal traffic flow. If you know you're going to need access to items during your lessons, have them in a place where they can be readily accessed. You don't want to be a contortionist during instruction (that can get exhausting) and you should have things in a place where you can get to them without turning your back on your class, needing to duck out of sight, or disappearing into a closet. A good, organized flow from start to finish will create a mental image for both you and your students to stay focused on the task(s) at hand.

Submitted by: Norm Sands
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I try to pick out most of the repertoire I will use for the year during the summer months. This helps me to plan from the beginning to the end of the school year and cuts down on my stress during the year. Of course, I make changes during the year from time to time, but it usually works!
Also, I basically take the month of June completely off! This recharges my battery and I'm able to think about school things more clearly.

Submitted by: Susan Howard
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We issue a "First Day Packet" that contains everything you need to know for the start of the school year. The packet contains our policies and procedures, our choir school calendar, a student contract, and an emergency medical form (for traveling). Secondly, we take a photo of each student, print it in thumbnail form, and attach it to an information page the students have filled out titled "Getting to Know You". This helps us learn names quickly, and they love having their photo taken!

Submitted by: Kay Sherrill
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Organized instrument inventory and lockers/cages ready for check-out. Rules and expectations, sheet music and books ready for passing out. Set procedures!

Submitted by: David Rodriguez
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I organize my classroom according to what lesson I will be giving that day. I make sure that chairs and stands are ready daily for each class so students have more prep time for their materials and equipment. I set a daily routine so students know the expectations and what the goal is for the end of the period each day. I make sure that my technology is ready to go so I don't take class time getting myself organized. I have the lesson plan written daily on the projector or the white board so we can move quickly and keep the focus going until the end of the period.

Submitted by: Gloria Rodriguez
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I believe that young students function best in an environment that is structured and feels safe and familiar. I establish routines that are carried on throughout the year. Some of the classroom management tools I use are a numbered seating chart with color sections, rotating classroom helpers chart (different nos. from each color group are section leaders), and a Who's Next? chart. The Who's Next? chart is an index card holder used for taking turns. There is a slot for each class. I insert index cards with each student's name at the bottom of the card (so it is hidden inside the pocket). When it is time to choose someone to start a game, or play an instrument part, we choose from the Who's Next? chart to decide on a participant. That eliminates the "pick me" frenzy, and no one can accuse you of playing favorites. It works like a charm!

Submitted by: Kelly Davisson
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We print mailing labels with the student name, instrument, locker number, and band period. The mailing labels go on the student chair, band folder, and instrument case. When the students come in the room on day one they find their seat with their name label on it and sit down. We have the school instruments pre-checked out and in their locker. After roll check we send students to their locker by sections to retrieve their instruments, their folder is in the locker with the instrument. We are able to begin playing on day one. This procedure requires a lot of preparation but saves precious time and prevents disorganization and confusion. It sets a more desirable classroom "tone" for the school year.

Submitted by: James Keltner
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Efficiency, ideal acoustics

Submitted by: Anonymous
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I have to have a plan together before any kind of organization takes place. My plan is my lesson plans for the year. I try to have a sketch of what I want to accomplish for the year, inventory and prepare materials as they will be needed.

Submitted by: Kim Fritz
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I've found that it is most important for me to decide on and plan out the required procedures for certain tasks such as entering and leaving the classroom, taking out and putting away instruments and music, passing out music, returning homework, returning to class after an absence, and beginning and ending class. My classroom organization is based on these procedures.
For example, when a student walks through the 'Enter' door of the bandhall, the first thing he/she passes is a table of handouts to pick up (if there is a handout on that day), then a folder-holding case (where he/she should grab his/her folder), then the lockers (where he/she is to take out his/her instrument and return the case before going to the appropriate seat in the rehearsal setup). At the front of the room, facing the students when they are seated, is a large dry erase board - each day I write the lesson plans and the order of music on one side of the board for band and the other side for Music History - the students are to put their music in the order it is to be rehearsed, which saves time during class. I also have a large "copy table" at the side of the room where I leave extra copies after handing out music, as well as makeup work (with the student's name on it) for any student who has been absent. Before or during class, if a student realizes that he/she has lost music needed during rehearsal, he/she can quickly and quietly pick up an extra copy of music without distracting others or interrupting the lesson.

Submitted by: Stephanie Wlodkowski
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I like to start the year with class schedules double-checked, lockers assigned, school-owned instruments assigned, and a definite plan in place for the first week of school when there is still a great deal of moving students between classes as classes are balanced in the office. During the summer, I outline my year - what will I cover and when? Which materials will I utilize? Which main objectives will be assessed? When? How? I also take time to meet with my student leaders so we start the year on the same page, so they can be effective in their role.

Submitted by: Jo Ann Champion
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I try to have a fresh new binder/folder for each student printed with their first and last name by the second day of class. I arrange these on a shelf as students are coming into the room so they can see the names on the binding edge. In the folder is a handbook, calendar, sight-reading handout, chord drills and announcements about when paperwork is due. It makes every singer feel like they belong and are part of the group. It also saves time in rehearsal to actually sing those first few days of collecting materials and forms. The time it takes to prepare them, is worth the time it gives me during class that first week.

Submitted by: Jennifer carter
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I've found that starting early to get the details out of the way really helps us. During the week of inservice, usually the week prior, we will assign instruments to students (we call it Cello/Bass Day). This year, we will try to measure students and assign uniforms at the same time. We even try to plan the rep for the first two concerts so we can order the music early to bow it. Additionally, keeping meticulous records, whether through a simple Excel document or web-based program like Charms is crucial. Whether uniforms, inventory, or financials, keeping track of the data somehow keeps everyone in check.

Submitted by: Desiree Overree
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While there are always schedule changes during the first three weeks of school, having all the student profiles loaded in Charms office before the start of the year helps in many ways, such as emailing the beginning of the year paperwork, orchestra handbook.etc to the parent in advance of school.
Google doc links can also be sent which additionally simplify the updating of required information.

Submitted by: Ann Victor
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Do go in blind. Be ready for the unexpected. Be ready to have fun!

Submitted by: Philip Gorden
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Getting leadership lined up and duties of everyone known and understood. I sit down with leadership students and my assistant and let them know what I need on a weekly basis. Constant communication and understanding of expectations help students know what's expected and be prepared for what is next. This means knowing your floor plan of how you plan to attack the musical challenges and knowledge ahead of you. I make an overall plan and enough details to get started and adjust them as I progress with the group. I try to always keep the majority of the class fairly challenged with what's ahead.

Submitted by: Kenneth Peters
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I try to make sure everything makes sense. Where students are to keep their music, instrument lockers sorted in a way that minimizes clogging, and a set up where students go directly from one to the other ending with them in their chair ready to play. They key with beginner students is consistent repetition of how I expect them to come into the classroom.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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Don't wait and do things at the last minute! We do a lot of preparation for the next year on the last day of school and continue to do little things throughout the summer. Having time to think and prepare greatly helps to insure success!

Submitted by: Leigh Ann McClain
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When you're organizing your classroom, think about what your students need to be able to access. Make things easy for yourself and put the things your kids use on low shelves. Label your shelving units with numbers, colors, or shapes. When a first-grader is looking for a maraca, you can tell her to open cabinet 2. When you empower your students, you save yourself time and energy!

Submitted by: Lauren Summa
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Organize your classroom that would be for easiest use throughout the entire school year, not how it would be easiest for the first few weeks of school.

Submitted by: Jennifer Bancale
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Calendar. Having definitive dates for all events and activities. Posting those dates in classroom, online, and mail to parents. Establishes goals and expectations.

Submitted by: Scott Taube
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Having it complete and ready to go BEFORE the professional development days and inservice requirements. The beginning of the school year is quite stressful...it is a smart and usually a successful endeavor to cut your summer break a little bit short and get the classroom, instruments and electronic equipment ready to go significantly before the first day of classes.

Submitted by: Gaye Fisher
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A positive attitude. Team planning time. Setting accessible goals.

Submitted by: Cathi Quick
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Names, Names, Names. Learning names as quickly as possible is a challenge for me. I hang name tags on the music stands for very first day. with my cell phone, I take pictures on the student and the name tag so I can study. I also find it helpful to have names on lockers, names on cases, and even names on bows. I wish I had purchased a label maker years ago.

Submitted by: Marla Maletic
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I made sure the risers were positioned in a manner where the students could have easy access to room upon their initial entry. This allowed them to freely walk into the room without any difficulty. I also made sure folders were in the students' assigned slots. Having the beginning of the year forms organized and ready is also a big plus.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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A few things come to mind:
-- essential student materials (often used exercises, books, practice logs, etc.) purchased and ready to go, my teaching logbook to track payments and progress,
-- a few new things in the studio to engage students (theory or history questions, posters, diagrams),
-- an open attitude to students old and new as we make goals and progress towards the same together!

Submitted by: Robin Korevaar
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Have class room guidelines set up the first day of class. Students need to know what your expectations are.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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I make sure that I have a correct roster of students in my class, so I can set up their seating arrangement to fit the rehearsal whether it be band, colorguard, brass sectional, or mariachi. Each class is given a set of goals, class rules, and objectives for that particular competition(marching band, solo & ensemble, all region band, etc). I make sure that my staff whether it be an assistant director or consultant are on the same page as I am for all of our objectives.

Submitted by: Joe A. Soliz
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For the sake of classroom management and teacher sanity, it is very important to have enough handouts and activities ready for the first week. Copies of handbooks, warm-ups, at least one piece of music for each group, and beginner handouts are essential. Always have more copies than you think you might need since it can be hard to get more made during the first few days with students.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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Physical classroom organization is honestly the least of my thoughts for the new school year. Students are usually a great help in placing posters, filing music, etc. It is their home away from home and oftentimes, they don't mind putting in the time to make it nice. I like to focus on what instrumentation I have, how I will determine placement of new students (and sometimes old ones who have really improved during the summer months), and balancing classes. If classes don't seem balanced (given the current instrumentation), are there the abilities to balance them among current students, or what will I need to choose musically that shows off our strengths? That's the type of organizing I focus on.

Submitted by: Adria Dunn
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I always begin by reflecting on the previous year....what worked and what didn't work as well as expected, and go from there.
Usually, I re-do quizzes/tests, re-evaluate the way I teach sight-reading. For example, this year for junior high choirs, an additional key signature has been added to the UIL process. I need to plan for that.
I always tear down everything in the classroom on the walls and make every year a new one! I think the students look forward to the new look and see it as a fresh new beginning!

Submitted by: Molly Jackson
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Contingency plans are what drive my classroom organizational system. When I am prepping for the year, I sit and think through all of the potential hazards to a well-run classroom. From Kinder to middle school, what could hinder their ability to concentrate and learn as we navigate the many songs and activities that make up a typical class? As I think of them, I implement them, else they get lost amidst the hustle and bustle that is the life of a teacher.

Submitted by: Ann K. Sterrett
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The Fall and spring region meetings - to get upcoming dates, and to discuss issues. Also, within the district, improved communication between all campuses to facilitate continuity with all Fine Arts programs.

Submitted by: Todd Woods
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Having scores and music in order.

Submitted by: Steve Ballenger
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Although it certainly feels great to have a beautifully decorated room that is visually appealing, MY MIND is the most important thing to have ready. You can teach a great class in a totally empty room, but unless you have an organized lesson in mind, you are ready for a disaster! Prepare yourself, and then decorate. Success!

Submitted by: Rebecca Kyriakides
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I like to go through each month and see what TEKS I want to teach and then pull resources--songs, dances, rhythms, etc. to match those TEKS. Then I make an overall gameplan of the year with show dates and ideas of shows and what I am teaching when. It really helps me do a little work in the summer then the year goes much smoother.

Submitted by: Laura Davis
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Everything should be organized.Before school starts, my coworker and I will have instrument lockers and school-owned instruments assigned, rosters printed, paperwork, warm-ups and other music copied, set-up charts for the 7th and 8th grade bands, classrooms set up with chairs and music stands in the correct seating arrangement, instructions and duty lists for classroom student aids, and private lesson teachers hired and cleared through state and district guidelines.

Submitted by: Felicia May
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What is the most effective set-up for your classroom/rehearsal space? How do you change it throughout the year?
Submitted by: Anonymous, Answered in: August 2014
The most effective classrooms have a clock on the wall directly in front of the podium (behind the ensemble). That keeps the director aware of time and the students blissfully unaware! The ensemble should be seated so that the door(s) of the classroom are behind the group; that way the director is in control of who enters the room. When the doors are behind the director, office messengers can do all sorts of things behind you!

Submitted by: Michael Alexander
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My classroom rehearsal space is based off what I hear in my rehearsal. It is never set until I can hear all instruments in the room.

Submitted by: Maria Chadwell
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My set up varies from season to season depending on the literature that we play and events that we play at.
Several times throughout the year I will rotate my bands direction in the classroom just to give a fresh and new feeling to the kids so it doesn't become stale and most of all boring.
Set up changes especially when the pieces required that the students need to hear more clearly by sitting next to someone that has a different part and then will determine how it fits within sections of ensemble.
I record my rehearsals every day to determine the set up is catching the sound in which I really truly want to hear. If not I'll alter the set up for my recording to see if it makes any difference, and most times the time I find that it is not necessarily that the students just can't hear how their part aligns due to an improper set up.

Submitted by: Jessie C Smith
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Minimal furniture, dots on the ceiling for kids to know where "their spots" are... Maximum flexibility for my small music room in a portable.

Submitted by: Karen Fincher
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I keep it the same year round. Well spaced rows where you can get to every kid. I want to be able to walk around and fix anything I see. I can't do this is there is a chair in my way. I keep them spaced out and pretty much in the same spot all year.

Submitted by: Mark Nichols
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As an elementary music teacher, I try to make my classroom setup at versatile as possible. I need to be able to teach choir, folk dancing, recorders/ukuleles, Orff instruments, drum circles, and more in the same room! My first priority is to have a large space in the middle of my room for activities such as circle games or folk dances. I set up the rest of my room around that, always focusing on ways to support consistent procedures for my students to follow. I make sure I have a defined meeting area, where we will start and finish every class. For me, this is my risers, which double as my rehearsal area. Beyond that, I have designated areas for students to receive different instruments (boomwhackers, barred instruments, or ukuleles), as well as specified areas for board work and computer work. I want my classroom to be as predictable as possible for the students, so I can focus on making my lessons fun, relevant, challenging, and unpredictable.

Submitted by: Curtis Donohue
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I teach general music along with choir. I actually use tape to make a gigantic music staff, just the lines. Their normal "music mode" seating arrangement is to sit on the outside rectangle that outlines the staff. They are assigned on the first day. Any time I move to singing or movement activities, I have them go to "choir mode" which then they go to assigned spots on each of the 5 lines, according to height, to represent rows on risers. Its great for programs because most of the time, I don't get everyone together until the actual program. They already know where to go. I also use the staff anytime I refer to the staff for any reason.

Submitted by: pamela mauldin
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Variety is the key. Traditional seated risers for the beginning of the year, with seats assigned (setting up your routine); occasional sectionals-in-circles spread around the room; room cleared of all risers during choreography for pop show; standing risers during UIL season; and occasional singing outside the classroom in the resonant atrium near the entrance of our school as a reward.

Submitted by: Kay Sherrill
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I have a very small classroom, with no closet (only cubbies), and my performance area is a shared space with the P.E. Teacher. It is not ideal, but I do my best to maximize space by taking out only what is needed for the current lessons or rehearsals, and putting them away when we are finished.

Submitted by: Kelly Davisson
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In the elementary classroom, I have lines painted on the floor like the staff. Each line is a different color. The students sit on the lines and as they leave I call out the name of the lines, 1st line E, 2nd line G, and so on. When I needed them to move back a little farther I had them sit on the spaces. We play games using the staff on the floor and they start to make the connection from the floor to the staff when they see it on the board or paper.

Submitted by: Carla Lowery
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Seated risers, with plenty of space to form a circle, or section circles.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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A choral 'half round' has worked best. The children were amazed at the sound! (They had been sitting in 'audience' or straight rows before with another teacher).

Submitted by: Kim Fritz
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Both of my bandhalls are very small, so organization based on our procedures is the key. The junior high bandhall is an old temporary building, which is constantly in need of repair and maintenance. The ensemble set up faces away from the door, with the percussion section right in front of the wall. To the student's right, by the side wall, is the teacher's desk area, a table for music copies, and an area with various shelves for percussion storage (in the corner directly beside the percussionists).On the wall facing the students is a dry erase board, which I use for to write the plans for each class period, as well as any writing/ drawings needed for teaching the lesson. Beside my podium (directly in front of the dry erase board) is a cart which holds supplies I might need during the lesson. The second room (full of shelves) is devoted to instrument storage.

Submitted by: Stephanie Wlodkowski
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I have a smallish room that is shaped like a shoebox. The most students I have in one choir is 50. I utilize 2 rows of seated riser levels and put one row on the floor. The risers are configured in a straight row pattern with pie shapes at the very ends of the rows. This allows the risers to be very close the one wall and opens up the space in front of the risers for the additional row of chairs if needed. We also have space to for small group singing all over the room for sight-reading and part singing. Students are all facing the white board/ pull down screen for easy view of visual examples. The straight rows are a help in curbing discipline, due to students not being able to see across sections to be distracted from teaching.

Submitted by: Jennifer carter
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I'll switch the placement of kids every so often so we don't get stagnant.

Submitted by: Philip Gorden
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My space is very limited so I have to do an amazing amount of effective set up and change. We also use the same band hall for all music classes 5th through 12th. It makes it very difficult because we have to change the setup constantly throughout the day. What helps is getting the kids in a pattern of helping out including percussion putting all of their equipment away after every rehearsal. We also have individual students stack their chairs and the class helps keep the music stands on the rack. After marching season it helps because the high school is in more of a concert setting to help match the jr. high bands. I also try to have all of the arcs meet up in the front so that looking out from the podium it is flat and not in a wedge setup. It helps the band hear and balance better especially in the back areas.

Submitted by: Kenneth Peters
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With a very large program, we try to find a set-up that will work for all groups. This helps save time during rehearsals as well as confusion in regards to the set-up.

Submitted by: Leigh Ann McClain
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With chairs and stands - having space to move around the room. Interact with students. Long arcs are good for concerts, but ineffective for teaching. Simply, divide the arcs in half to have an isle to easily move to all parts of the room/setup. Being closer to the students shows the teachers interest in their progress as well as hear what students are doing.

Submitted by: Scott Taube
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I have a sitting area and an activity area. The students are ware of the rules for both.

Submitted by: Gaye Fisher
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Keeping the set-up neat and ready for rehearsal. I turn the band 90 degrees after marching season to make a change in attitude for UIL season.

Submitted by: Cathi Quick
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At the beginning of the year, all of my high school students benefit from setting up in rows. It feels like a little island around each student and encourages them to step up to their individual responsibilities to learn their parts. The space between rows reminds me of the value of moving throughout the room, listening to each student and giving instruction and encouragement to the individual without singling them out from a podium.

Submitted by: Marla Maletic
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I liked to have my risers pushed to the back of the room and facing some sort of board. I would modify it at times, especially when doing works for double chorus. Sometimes a little change is needed to get the group out of a rut they are experiencing.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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I have a small teaching studio that I try to keep interesting by changing seating arrangements (sometimes we stand, or change positions in the room), visual stimuli (key concepts on a poster or whiteboard) and props (for younger students I have some visual props to help them understand concepts related to playing and performing - a toy dinosaur to remind them nothing will eat them if they make a mistake, a pufferfish to symbolize abdominal wall expansion for wind playing). I try to position students so the room window is not distracting. As possible, we'll use a larger room or hall to get a different perspective on sound production in a larger room.

Submitted by: Robin Korevaar
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Have students sit in sections according to vocal range. It changes as students are able to sing independently of their vocal section. There positions change based on what the music requires and how well their voices blend in that song.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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The most effective set up is based on the competition that we are preparing for. Whether it be the practice marching field, section ensemble rehearsal or full ensemble rehearsal. Football season requires alot of outside rehearsing, while concert season requires that I have enough ensemble rooms to be able to rehearse on your concert music, solo & ensemble music or all region lessons.

Submitted by: Joe A. Soliz
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We set up for our rehearsals in a way which the band is positioned where we can hear the most problems that need to be addressed. Unfortunately, there is something about the acoustics in our rehearsal hall that makes it necessary for us to turn the band in a direction different than the way the architects of the rehearsal hall envisioned the band facing while rehearsing. For example, we can't face the white board, and there is less room to set up the chairs and stands when we set them up in this way. We learned that we needed to set up in this way after noticing multiple times that we could not hear as many issues while rehearsing compared to when we are performing on various stages.

Submitted by: Dr. Tommy Fain
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I have a very flexible class space, differing depending on type, function, need, etc. All students learn they are responsible for their chairs and stands daily (set up and put up) depending on the class plan for the day. WHOLE-GROUP CIRCLES are great for large sectionals or like-instruments (this focuses the sound, and allows me to cycle quickly around to individual students to listen or to help, either inside or outside the circle), sometimes I break these large circles out into SMALLER GROUPS (4 or 5 people in each small circle). Advanced groups are arranged more traditionally, but can still assign them small circle breakout groups like beginners (sectionals). Then to view videos students, face another wall (west) with sound system/screen….. grade playoffs and solo/ensemble chamber performance area are along a different wall (east), in a sort of performance niche to simulate a staging area (to put the pressure on them). Assign a few students in each class to help "remind" (hassle) others to stack chairs and stands neatly before exiting room every period. This helps prepare students for a quick, neat cleanup without harsh reminders after a performance!!!! Works beautifully!! Also mixing it up frequently helps to keep the students from becoming stale, and so "glued" to a particular spot in your room. BOTTOM LINE: Many flexible setups, change frequently (daily, weekly).

Submitted by: Marcia Powell
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Set-up for rehearsal space? My room was originally intended to be a lecture hall, but of course we set it up in a traditional orchestral setting. There are times I move instrumentation around to allow for various sections to be heard more clearly, as our room is not acoustically sound for strings. There are other times when I take them out of the homogeneous sections and mix them. Whatever it takes to allow for the best possibility of ensemble in the classroom is what I'm willing to try. This setup, however does not work for us on a concert stage; but it does help to ensure more successful concerts in the end.

Submitted by: Adria Dunn
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I have an elevated step room with chairs. I also have the room to set up 8 sets of risers, so I will work back and forth between the two set-ups throughout the year. Most of the time, they will spend their time in chairs learning music, sight-reading, etc.
Once the music is well-known, I'll move them to the risers and work for balance, blend, etc.

I also tend to mix the sections of singers from one part of the room to another, just to keep them "guessing!"

Submitted by: Molly Jackson
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My classroom is fairly limited in size, so we use clipboards as desks (when we need desks) and everything surrounds the large space in the center so we have easy access to everything, but not too many obstacles. Organization is key, of course, but spreading essentials out in group oriented areas really allows for an easy transition from large-group activities to small-group activities. My room starts out fairly simple, and becomes increasingly more complex throughout the year as we add concepts and vocabulary to our walls. It changes with the student's knowledge growth to become a reference space for creativity.

Submitted by: Ann K. Sterrett
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First part of the year - I had an aisle in the middle of the band to facilitate getting to all students to be able to give students more individual attention.
By November, a traditional concert band set-up

Submitted by: Todd Woods
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Spacing between players and having the band set up at a distance so that I van better hear.

Submitted by: Steve Ballenger
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I have 2 lines of 12 chairs each. I teach 5th and 6th graders. There is room on the sides for small movement games. If we are doing a big dance then we will stack the chairs. The kids get to change where they sit every six weeks. The first six weeks I choose their seat, the rest of the time, they choose as long as they choose wisely.

Submitted by: Laura Davis
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I like to put an aisle down the middle of my band set-up. Students that sit in the middle have easier access to their seat. It also give me a direct path to the back of the band hall. I can quickly get to the percussion section as well as brass players on the back rows. It also tends to keep the set-up neater throughout the day because students have several options to take when walking to their seat, locker, or on their way out of the room.

Submitted by: Matthew Hiller
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For our beginner classes, we try to seat them into as few rows as possible. For instance a class of 8 horns will be in one arc. We use this seating method with classes up to 15 students. If a class is larger, then we have 2 or 3 arcs. I prefer to have students in the front if they are struggling. If a student is displaying discipline issues, then he/she will be seated very close to the teacher. For our 7th and 8th grade bands, we place students close to instruments who will be playing similar parts in the music. Low reeds are near low brass, while saxophones are near the horns. The oboes, flutes, and clarinets are near each other in the set.

Submitted by: Felicia May
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What steps do you take to prepare yourself to teach a new piece of music to your group?
Submitted by: Anonymous, Answered in: August 2014
I study the score very carefully: play through it a few times, play one part while singing another part, and really get to know the piece. Then I make a sketch of the form. Then I photo copy single sides of the music and lay it out so that I can find all repeated thematic material within a section and from section to section. I write out difficult rhythm patterns encountered. I then sketch HOW to teach the piece sequentially. From all of that study I create teaching materials as needed: chord progressions, rhythm exercises, find SR materials in the same key and/or write my own, create warm-up exercises which address needs of the song, etc. Work backwards in order to work forwards.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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I really work at introducing new concepts during sectional time so that the actual rehearsal of a piece isn't as labored.

Submitted by: Maria Chadwell
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Each time I select a piece of music I first find myself listening to as many recordings and interpretations with the score as possible. Then I look at the score and highlight the areas in which I think need a little bit more of a personal touch. After that I make notes on the originals for the students which include musical terms that they are familiar with in order for them to understand the interpretation of the composer.
I often give out copies of the main score and have the students read their parts in small groups. At first this is very confusing for the middle school student however after a while they catch on quickly. Apart from the main score study I have them write an essay on the the the selection and in order for them to understand how it relates with the internal movements that the composer is wishing to convey.
We then begin to learn the selection, then after and only after we have sight read the piece several times will I allow them to listen to the recording that I feel gives the best interpretation of what I'm looking for through the composers wishes.

Submitted by: Jessie C Smith
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Learn the vocal piece first, type a powerpoint for students use pictures if necessary. Follow and make notes on the score. I use colored highlighters to help navigate if the piece is lengthy.

Submitted by: Nadalin Sarchet
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I like to analyze the music like if I was working on a puzzle. I start by looking at the melodic lines to see how they fit within each instrument. If there is a rhythm that might pose a problem , I write it out so that I can incorporate it in the warm up. I personally like to use different color of highlighters on my score. This helps me visually when trying to put the melodic lines together. It makes it easier to spot which instruments share the same melodic line. Once I have done this I can decide which lines will need the most attention. Once I have analyzed the music I can create a strategy and incorporate some of elements of the music in our warm up. The students would be working on parts of the music without evening knowing it.

Submitted by: Diana Campuzano
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I study it a great deal, but I try not to listen to recordings in order to get my own opinion of how a piece should sound. AFTER I rehearse it a few weeks I will seek out SEVERAL recordings to help me in my journey. I don't want to copy someone else. I want to create music of my own.

Submitted by: Mark Nichols
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In addition to be well-versed in the mechanics, it is important to know the history of each piece before beginning work on it with students. Creating cross-curricular alignment not only helps students' connect to each piece, it may fill in some educational gaps presented in other subjects.

Submitted by: Josh King
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Many would agree proper studying of the score is essential, but what is good score study? Upon finding Brian Harris's project of repertoire study I edited his original version to better fit more advanced literature and use that as a great way to evaluate range, key signatures, meters, dynamics, additional equipment and musical techniques, solos, tempos, form, style, rhythms, percussion usage, and any additional comments I feel make the piece unique. Through this study I am able to create exercises of a rhythmic, chordal, and a articulation substance to provide to my students to begin introducing them to the new material as well as a calendar of events determining where we need to be by when. For instance, if we have 3 pieces we are focusing on then each rehearsal addresses a particular section of each piece. i.e. Sousa - ms.1 - ms. 22 and Grainger ms. 56 - ms. 72, etc...
This provides goals for not only me, but for my students as well to come prepared to their rehearsal and know what specifically we are rehearsing that day. I do this in an effort to create that feeling of accomplishment every day.

Submitted by: Mr. Joshua A. Martinez
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The most important part of teaching a new piece of music is to have a great plan before I ever see the group. This begins by spending a substantial amount of time choosing the right piece of music for the group. Then, I study the score from top to bottom discovering the history of the piece and composer, the form of the piece and make a general outline of the phrase structure, keys, dynamics, scoring etc. Next it's time to go through the piece measure by measure discovering the challenges of the piece and developing a plan to ensure the students are going to successfully accomplish the piece. This plan might include designing warm-ups that drill specific technical challenges in the piece, planning alternate fingerings, rewriting parts to accommodate poor scoring or developing technique, etc. Finally, I consider the amount of time before our performance and work out a weekly or even daily plan of what needs to be accomplished when. Once I have a good plan in place, I then have a roadmap which my students and I can hopefully follow to success.

Submitted by: Paul Sikes
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--Study score--for everything!
--Make notes about music to share with students
--Listen to recordings if available
--Analyze form
--Write out difficult rhythms for group practice
--Use highlighters if necessary to help separate parts of music
--Consider instrumentation, seating arrangement for the piece
--Search for any errata (like Errata Studies by Tim Topolewski or The Instrumentalist magazine)
--Talk with anyone who has played the piece for insight into --Preparation/performance
--Edit as necessary and allowed

Submitted by: Richard Peters
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I highlight like parts and notate difficult rhythmic areas. I listen to it as much as possible - conducting and following the melody, harmony and counterpoint. I try to analyze the composer's intent and read all the composers notes. Sometimes I play through some of the parts on SmartMusic.

Submitted by: Gradi Evans
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Listen to recordings and study score for appropriateness of music like what is the occasion goal and also study pieces including difficulty of rhythms, ranges of brass and clarinets at middle school level, exposure of sections especially weaker sections, length of piece for endurance.

Submitted by: David Rodriguez
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I always approach reading a new piece of music by performing the steps for proper sight reading techniques. We look at the key signature, time signature, accidentals, define musical terms, count the rhythms and finger through it together from measure one. Older more experienced players, I give them more time to study a little on their own but younger players, I do the same procedure every time so with repetition and reinforcement, students improve their practice skills for sight reading as a group and individually.

Submitted by: Gloria Rodriguez
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I learn the music first and work out any choreography/parts, so that I am fully prepared to teach it the way I would like to see and hear it in performance.

Submitted by: Kelly Davisson
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Learn the song. Spend time interpreting the text.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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With a new piece, the first thing that has to happen is score study. Can you hear it in your head? If the answer is no, you are not ready too go on. Once you are comfortable with the score, you need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of your ensemble and make your plan. All of us may plan differently and that's okay, just be consistent. Finally, if you can find a recording, good or bad, go ahead and listen. However, remember that that does not take the place of " hearing it in your head".

Submitted by: Bob Howardfy
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Listen and play. I'm a pianist so I play the piece through after I have listened to the initial recording. After playing through it several times, I can begin to add my own nuances.

Submitted by: Kim Fritz
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When preparing to teach a new piece of music to my group, I first check to make sure it is in the appropriate range for all instruments. With such a small band (we're in the beginning stages of the build-a-band process), I also have to make sure that we are able to cover all of the parts with our instrumentation (right now, in the high school band, we have no flutes, trombones, or tubas).
Next, I look for anything that might be unfamiliar or particularly difficult for my group, and make a plan for the best way to teach it, as well as what might be the best timing for teaching these new concepts during a rehearsal of the piece. I usually choose to work on these measures before we ever play through the whole piece, unless we are working on sightreading. Then I check for anything my students might accidentally overlook (such as key signature), and make a note to draw my students' attention to these things before playing the piece. With the junior high, I ask each section what their "key signature notes" are before beginning - and expect all of the students to reply out loud (although sometimes I do ask individuals). For example, in the key of Concert Bb, the clarinets and trumpets "key signature note" would be B natural.
If there are any difficult/ new rhythms in the piece, I will write them on the board before class. This saves time during rehearsal (time I would either be writing on the board with wait time for the students or would be trying to simultaneously write and explain, while facing away from the class).

Submitted by: Stephanie Wlodkowski
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I try to listen to different recordings of the piece or arrangements. I study the historical significance of a piece or the poetry/ lyrics of the song. I score study the technical aspects of form, part balance and mark with colored pencil the linear melodic movement between parts, with themes. I Mark solfege for each part and color code phrasing with breaths.
This allows me to introduce the piece to the class with a sense of deliberate direction and reason for it's choice, and why they will be successful performing for whatever event is before us.

Submitted by: Jennifer carter
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I read and play through a few parts. We do our typical "We're in the sightreading room" speech. They know what is in store.

Submitted by: Philip Gorden
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I use pretty straight forward score study to get a good overall picture of the piece and then I go through each individual line and look for difficult changes or parts that may trip up a section. Of course I start with the sections that I know struggle a little more and then work my way out from them. Then on those difficult parts I see how many cross over or what else is going on in the other voices that may help or confuse them.

Submitted by: Kenneth Peters
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If we are learning a new piece to play for a contest or concert I always make sure to go through each part in the score to make sure I know what will be taxing on my kids. For example, if my 2nd or 3rd clarinets are going to have problems on a certain spot I want to know ahead of time. Knowing this allows me to mentally prepare myself on what to say and allows me the opportunity to point out things they can be fingering on or ghosting while I work another section.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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First, select a piece that compliments your group. To find these pieces it requires a lot of listening! Once you have found a piece, listen to multiple performances and see where the "problem" areas might be. All pieces seem to have "that section" where we will spend most of the rehearsal time! Next, chord study to find the like voices, chord progressions and the "odd" notes. After all these steps, work out a "chunking" rehearsal plan. Start where there is a large tutti section (most of the group playing) and add sections from there. You don't always have to start at the beginning!

Submitted by: Leigh Ann McClain
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It is helpful to play a recording for the students to get an overview. Mist publishers offer a free download or video streaming.If it is an older piece, scout around on youtube for an appropriate performance to serve a a model.
It is interesting for the student to know something about the history, style of music. It helps them better relate to what is happening in the music.
Check out the rhythmic and technical challenges, and be prepared to break them down in a mini warm up or short exercise.
Work on a section of the music, first, will be successful. If the group is hooked on the piece, they will be more willing to master the challenges.

Submitted by: Ann Victor
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Identify needs of ensemble
Choose music to teach deficiencies
Significance - why this music, historical, new style, association, etc.
Score study - sing/play each line in the score
Identify specific instrument tendencies (e.g. Awkward fingerlings)
Layer the music - know melody, harmony, counter lines, foundations
Chordal analysis
Develop teaching strategies: worksheets, rhythm studies, micro to macro
Student assessment: playing assignments of their part (individual & group)

Submitted by: Scott Taube
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Practice, practice, practice!

Submitted by: Gaye Fisher
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Score study and a detailed plan for goal dates and expectations for me and the students.

Submitted by: Cathi Quick
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I make sure I am totally engrossed in the piece. I examine the text, tonality, melodic material, and texture. I check the interplay of each individual part against the others.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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I usually spend as much time as needed (1-10 hours?) to prepare a piece for students. I take time to -
- analyze the harmonic line and key points of tension/release
- understand the overall shape and style the composer seeks to convey
- assess any tuning or technical issues and mark those accordingly
- prepare it adequately (to show the above) on my instrument to provide demonstrations and recordings as needed for students.

Submitted by: Robin Korevaar
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Fundamental sheets are key!! I copy each individual page and set them out in front of me. I look at big picture elements - Rhythm, Key Changes, Etc. I create fundamental sheets that focus on each basic element and introduce them according to importance. This way, the students already know a large portion of the piece before the music hits their hands. The students are then able to transfer the knowledge made from the fundamental sheets and apply it to their octavo. Review the fundamental sheet before having the students take out their music. This way, they are quickly reminded and the lesson goes even more smoothly! I make sure to plan my long-term lessons section by section, and then incorporate transitions. Fundamental sheets are not a one hit wonder. They are created to teach difficult rhythms, or whatever is needed, which takes time to introduce in learn in a classroom setting. Having students, especially of the younger age, can overwhelm them. Fundamental sheets helps to break it down and create solid short-term and long-term lesson plans for the future!

Submitted by: Katie Webb
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Research musical style, learn song/parts well, listen to song for which sections need to be taught first,

Submitted by: Anonymous
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I make it a point to listen to several recordings of that particular piece of work. I look at the UIL contest results of other bands that performed the piece and I call their directors for advice or ask for a copy of their recordings. I make sure that I share the recordings with my ensemble that is going to perform that piece.

Submitted by: Joe A. Soliz
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I must study the score. I am grateful for all the aspects of technology today with opportunities to hear and see various recordings. However, if I don't study my score, I can't be critical enough in my teaching to help the students. I am also a fan of cueing. Because I like cues when I perform, I cue when I conduct. Preparation is important. Never wing it on the stand.

Submitted by: Adria Dunn
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I look at and prepare a piece of music to teach the same way the students will be learning it.
I normally play through parts, looking for difficult areas of transition. I'll sing through individual lines on solfeggio.
I'll mark phrasing and other items of importance...i.e. vowels, diction, etc.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I'll be sure I understand the text and its meaning.

Submitted by: Molly Jackson
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I have to know the piece inside and out. I have to know the history of the music and the history of the words, if not the song itself. Children are more fascinated by the song if they know where it came from, why it came about, or if there is an epic story attached to it. (Apologies for the use of epic) I like to prep them with similar melodies in simpler songs (that have activities attached to them) or with stories.

Submitted by: Ann K. Sterrett
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I study the score, noting tempo changes, key changes, etc., to make rehearsals more efficient.
I analyze rhythm patterns - any new or difficult patterns, I isolate and incorporate those into warm-up exercises for that rehearsal and subsequent rehearsals as needed.
I make note of new notes, alternate fingerings needed, etc.
I listen to recordings if available.

Submitted by: Todd Woods
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study and memorize when possible.

Submitted by: Steve Ballenger
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I sing and play it over and over. I mark all the musical symbols that I need to reinforce. It all comes down to practice, practice, practice!

Submitted by: Laura Davis
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First I research the composer and the piece itself. If a piece is programmatic and/or historical, then I read information on that topic. I analyze the chords, form, melody, and harmony, then listen to recordings, practice conducting, decide eventual tempos and the first practice/learning tempo.I determine if the seating arrangement is appropriate for this piece, or if it needs to be changed to accommodate certain instrument groups' proximity to one another. If measures are not numbered, then I do that. I use erasable colored pencils and highlighters to mark the dynamics, key/time changes, and special instructions to the performers. If necessary I look up trill fingerings before we read a song. If there are terms that I do not know (or remember), then I look those up in my music dictionary. I write new and review terms and symbols on the board to discuss before the first reading of a piece. Many times I have a recording cued up to play for the students as well.If I feel that a rhythm patter is going to be problematic for some or all of the students, then we practice that rhythm on a concert F during our warm-up.

Submitted by: Felicia May
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What is your warm-up routine? How do you customize it based on the music you will rehearse?
Submitted by: Anonymous, Answered in: August 2014
It varies depending on the repertoire, but there is daily work on TONE - creating the desired sound and vowels. SOUND is always first and foremost. It is a bonus when a warm-up can be created which enhances the learning of the repertoire and develops sound!

Submitted by: Anonymous
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My warm-up routine begins with an F concert. Play 4 counts rest 4 counts. Extend by four beats once the start, middle, and end of tone starts together, remains steady, and stops together. I use the Don Hanna Warm-Up because it's concise and teaches enharmonics right way. Scales, book fundamentals, and then the music. It doesn't change much from except maybe the time spent on each one so that music is played during class time.

Submitted by: Maria Chadwell
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Ob recorders I use etudes or sections of the music that are challenging to warm up on.

Submitted by: Nadalin Sarchet
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Breathing, singing, Long tones, low tone exercises for brass, echo WW/ Brass exercises with brass on moutpiece, Remington. Then, I work technique through scales and exercises I write out to help shape the music we are playing.

Submitted by: Mark Nichols
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(Adjusting time to fit rehearsal)
--Breathing 3 minutes
--Remington/long tones 3 minutes
--Rhythm exercise 3 minutes--adjusted to music we are working
--Scales pattern 2 minutes--special attention to scales used in music
-Chorales about 4 minutes

Submitted by: Richard Peters
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We do breathing gym workouts every morning and then we go through one of the Key Studies from the "Technique and Musicianship" book by Pearson and Nowlin. I use the predominant key for whatever the piece is that we will be working in that day. we go through all 10 studies which include: scale, thirds, arpeggios, ariticulation and Technique Etude 1 (4/4) and 2 (6/8) 3 (tonguing and 16th's, Interval Tuning, Melodius Etude, a Classic selection in the key and finally a Chorale.

Submitted by: Gradi Evans
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Our warm up routine consists of descending long tones from low Bb to low Gb concert. 3 progressively challenging lip slurs from F concert, articulation studies for legato, marcato, staccato, and various accents. Chromatic and 12 major scales in 2 octaves as possible for each instrument. Finally we do a rhythm of the day from a rhythm sheet with typical rhythms. KEEP IT SIMPLE!
Customization comes from playing scale exercises relating to the pieces and performing rhythms found in particular pieces being worked on at the time.

Submitted by: David Rodriguez
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My warm-up consists of scales, long tones, technique drills, and chorales. I choose a different scale depending on what key the exercises or musical pieces are based on. I also see what the students need the most work on. If they need to improve their tone quality, embouchures or tuning, I spend more time on long tones. If students need more time on technique then we will work on drilling exercises at a slower tempo.

Submitted by: Gloria Rodriguez
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I think the number one thing to know when putting together your routine is to KNOW YOUR KIDS. As you observe them warming up and practicing in your room, try to take note of the things they choose to practice and how they practice them. If you see that your students are less willing to practice articulation on their own, you structure your routine to emphasize that as opposed to tone or vice versa depending on what you observe from them. In addition, I always look at the music we are rehearsing to see what challenges the music presents. Skills that we will isolate in the routine that will directly apply to music include key centers, complex rhythms, specialized articulations and challenging balance responsibilities. Don't be afraid to develop new exercises on the spot depending on what you're getting from your musicians! Be creative and have fun with it! Too much of the same thing makes it difficult for students to stay engaged.

Submitted by: Levi Chavis
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I try my best to find warm ups that apply to the lesson I am teaching, the theme, and also that has similar melodic patterns, rhythmic patterns, or choreography/movement. I think that warm ups should be relevant to the lesson, and that they should serve a purpose. They can be used as a building block, or as preparation for the content in the lesson music.

Submitted by: Kelly Davisson
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I feel like warm ups are my weakness, I need to add some more variety for different skills. There's a set I always do so that my students all know them and can rehearse when I'm gone though.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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In concert my warm up routine goes like this:
1. Long tones / scales
2. Chorales
3. Sightreading
4. Work on a specific spot on a piece
5. Play something else from the book

Submitted by: Bob Howardfy
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I use the Andy Beck book, Vocalize!, published by Alfred. It has a little melody/vocal exercise for just about everything. I love the way he modulates through many keys on most exercises. After reviewing my repertoire, I peruse the Vocalize! book for exercises. Many times, rather than use the book, I will 'woodshed' a section at the beginning of rehearsal as a warm-up. This consists of breaking the passage apart to target challenging areas.

Submitted by: Kim Fritz
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Unison head voice pitch usually a b for girls and an f above middle c for the boys. Sing this on loo until all students have the correct tall vowel and open forward tone. Sustaining this pitch is also and exercise in breath control and achieving that spinning tone. Once the unison is achieved, we begin the descending pattern from the same pitch for the major solfege scale. With the boys, I descend down from the f with the loo in 1/2 steps to middle C. Then we switch over to the solfege major scale.
Singing the scale pattern down, up and repeated with whole, half, and quarter notes drives the sound of that scale into the pitch memory and allows for better tuning with whatever we approach. The scale is then sung in 2 and 3 parts with the lowest part beginning first by singing the entire scale, 2nd part comes in on the do as 1st part reaches La, and they sing down the scale to mi- hold and return with part one up the scale a 3rd apart going beyond the high do up to mi. Part 3 begins on do, down to so, holds and goes up to the octave so. Entrances- do ti, part 2- do ti,part 3- do ti.
Teaches good tone and ear trains for good pitch memory for that major scale.

Submitted by: Jennifer carter
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Breathing, counting, scales, long tones, lip slurs, etc. I will try to do a lot of stuff centered around the key(s) the new piece is in.

Submitted by: Philip Gorden
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Our warm up routine consists of a personalized exercise that consists of long tones, lip slurs and a chorale based on the F tuning the Blue Devils do. It is an exercise that also encompasses percussion parts with eights, triplet diddles and other exercises important on the show at hand. My fellow band directors and myself have written it out and it changes based on what the music requires that season.

Submitted by: Kenneth Peters
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I use a Remington based warm up full of long tones. I try to include as much variety as possible to keep it from being boring. I try to read varying keyed exercises daily to keep them thinking about their key signatures and fingers. The green Hovey book is a great tool for that.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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Find a part within the music you can use as a chorale. This saves time in the long run! Incorporate rhythms and articulations into your warm-up that appear in the pieces you are playing. Lastly, use the scales and arpeggio's in the keys of the pieces.

Submitted by: Leigh Ann McClain
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I have just put together a collection of vocalises for pianists to play and singers to sing as warm ups for vocal students. Most are for personal use in the practice room or in private lessons though some are good for choir rehearsal warm up. The rationale for providing this collection was that vocal majors in secondary piano need to be able to play these for themselves and for their students. Do others of you feel a need for such, and if so, please tell us how that is being addressed at your university. (I teach secondary piano students.) Thank you, Ruth Holmes, Ph.D., Professor of Piano at Lubbock Christian University

Submitted by: Ruth Holmes
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Have many exercises to choose from that reassure tone, intonation, rhythm, and musicianship. For example, Mondays are Remington, Tuesdays are intervals. Different exercises to assess same premise. Technical etudes can be lyrical one day and fast another. Scales should be daily. You have many methods to alter learning: one octave, two octave, five note patterns, arpeggios, modes, circle of 5ths, circle of 4ths, in thirds, an many more. Chorale for musicianship. Have students learn SATB, each line. Assign instrument groups to different lines. Develops awareness of musical line as well as balance and blend

Submitted by: Scott Taube
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We exercise our bodies, our minds and our voices everyday before the "real" instruction begins.

Submitted by: Gaye Fisher
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Long tones, lip slurs for the brass, finger work for the woodwinds, and scales. Rhythm studies for new pieces, and teacher written melodies and exercises.

Submitted by: Cathi Quick
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I warm up their ears before anything else. I have a routine that I follow on a daily basis. I think warm-ups customized to music you are rehearsing is highly over-rated. It is my opinion you find a rhythm and pattern in warm-ups that the students become accustomed to and it adds flow and continuity to your rehearsal. Use signals to move from one warm-up to the next. This allows you to become more efficient and lacks confusion.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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Long tones against a drone, then slow scale, intervals, then fast technical scales. I pick a different pair of keys daily - relative or parallel major and minor modes plus chromatic scales.

Submitted by: Anonymous
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With students i typically focus on long tone studies of various sorts (ascending chromatically, Remington or Chicowicz studies, 12ths/harmonics), technical studies (scale patterns, Klose, Vade Mecum) and some improvisation or sight reading on easier material to warm up to full practice. I will choose keys or styles of music that correlate with the music we will play to best prepare for the rest of the rehearsal.

Submitted by: Robin Korevaar
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I look for full ensemble exercises that have the key signatures that we will have in our musical selections. We incorporate tuning in every lesson either in the ensemble room or in a practice room with individual tuners. We will review some of the sight reading rhythms with the scale warmups. I make sure that my kids know the correct key signatures and if possible I try to find exercises that have some of the rhythmic figures that are found in each competition piece.

Submitted by: Joe A. Soliz
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Long tones. I learned that from Ida Steadman. Never start your day without it. Finger patterns for my young ones combined with scales for the older ones are just as important. People complained when the class day fell to a traditional schedule. It didn't change my routine/structure at all. I start tuning before the bell rings and hope to finish within one or two minutes after. This allows us to experience a full class even if it's a half day schedule with a 20 minute class. That stuff doesn't affect me. I always like to be detailed. Repertoire is definitely after the warm-up assuming there are no announcements. Lastly, announcements mist be limited to two minutes tops... or call a special meeting.

Submitted by: Adria Dunn
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Daily, my routine for warm-ups involves physical movement/fun focus/breathing, slow warming-up of the voice; with boys, I always begin in their falsetto. My next warm-up, I will choose something for flexibility....possibly a combination of legato and staccato. Lastly, I'll have them sing a warm-up for range.
My students realize that they're receiving a "mini voice lesson" during warm-up time, so full participation is essential!

Submitted by: Molly Jackson
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We warm up with the more difficult motifs that are found in the song we will be singing. The warmups usually follow the same general pattern, but the motifs change so the students are never bored, and so they are prepared for the more difficult melody lines when they appear in the song.

Submitted by: Ann K. Sterrett
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Breathing Exercises. Beginner Brass: buzz mouthpieces. Remington Exercise, Lip slurs (chromatic scales for WW). New rhythm patterns are incorporated into warm-ups, scales and scale patterns utilizing the key of the music.

Submitted by: Todd Woods
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5-15 minutes EACH DAY. I find sightreading in the key and style of tye new piece. I follow scale warm ups with sightreading warm-ups.

Submitted by: Steve Ballenger
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I have a rhythm board and we clap and say rhythms--that we will later use in the songs. Then we warm up our voices, sing some solfege and rounds and on to movement time. After this I begin the lesson.

Submitted by: Laura Davis
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I start with breathing exercises, which progress to breathing then tone production (concert F). We play the Eb concert tetrachord in whole notes at tempo 60, then play Remington/interval exercises from the Foundations for a Superior Performance. Next we play lip slurs for brass, chromatic exercises for woodwinds. During the 2nd brass lip slur exercise the flutes play a harmonic exercise, double reeds and saxophones play an octave exercise, and the clarinets play a register slur exercise.We perform scales and/or other technique exercises. I tailor fit these technique exercises to help with challenges we are having in our music. We do articulation/rhythm exercises. In the beginning of the year, I play my instrument and the students echo the style, articulation, and rhythm that I play. I use these exercises to teach marcato, staccato, legato/tenuto styles. We sight read somewhere between 16 measures and 64 measures per day. In the first semester, we sight read unison etudes/melodies. During the 2nd semester we continue sight reading unison etudes/melodies 4 days a week, and then on the 5th day we practice formal sight reading using past years' UIL sight reading examples.

Submitted by: Felicia May
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