For those of you that are just starting in the teaching profession it is important to remember that your career doesn’t start when you get out of college but it begins with what you get out of college. Every student is first and foremost someone’s child and every single child is looking for a champion, a hero, a SOUND adult that they can believe in. Someone that will value them just as they are but will value them enough not to leave them just the way that they are. Everyday in the classroom is a reminder that children do NOT care how much we know until they know how much we care. I believe every child is one sound adult away from discovering their sound of success. Our roles as educators is as much about influence (being a role model) as anything else. We cannot overlook the fact that relationship is an essential element of teaching. Relationship is in fact the fuel for any level of influence we may have as teachers.  

Developing influence to inspire creates classroom environments of excellence that educate and elevate every student to see beyond themselves to something greater. That is my mission and music is my medium. 


Make a point to consistently work on and review these practical areas of focus.....

Woodwind and brass pedagogy classes 
How to diagnose woodwind playing issues 
How to “teach beginners” on each instrument 
Hands on playing of various instruments 
How to teach rhythm (to children and those that have no rhythm) 
Picking one instrument each year and working really hard to learn it so you can play at an incoming freshman level. This will keep your students wanting to practice too! 

Make a point to band together and working WELL with others in and out of the band hall.....

No one is the enemy unless you make them the enemy. Often times it’s the inner-me that us the most trouble. 
Positive relationships with EVERYONE is the key to success! You cannot have BAND without “AND”. Always remember that we are better together then we are alone. 
The school custodians, maintenance staff, and the school secretaries are your most important people in a school, work well with them and thank them OFTEN. 
Avoid other people’s DRAMA at all cost. 
Avoid debating and try collaborating with people… together and plan and work it out. 
Go into any and every kind of meeting with an idea of VARIOUS outcomes that could take place (not just your ideal outcomes). Also try to have a good idea of the outcome that you really want. 
Always be flexible, willing and open to change 
Respect differences in opinion. Because one day your opinion will match the majority. 


Make a point to "toot your own horn" as long as it is promoting your program/students......

Promotion in an of itself is an art form. Knowing how to advocate for your own program is vital. 
Making your principal (and or the powers-that-be) aware of your wish list has come in handy. 
Developing a rapport with students, faculty, administration, and parents is essential. 


Make a point to be strategic with your approach to you band's rehearsals, programming, and performances.......

Sectionals are a major key to a superior band 
Work continually to become familiar with your repertoire 
Research, implement and continue to develop your rehearsal techniques 
Never turn your back on the saxophone section ? 
What to listen for in music should always be a focus of development. 
It is important to make eye contact with your band as you are conducting. Memorizing your scores is a must! You cannot expect your students to watch you if you never look at them. 
Dress rehearsals are for making weird last mistakes. Don’t freak out or you’ll freak everyone out. Personally I am more nervous about concerts that follow a “perfect” dress rehearsal. 
Talk less, play more. Band should be a VERB….they should play if for no other reason than it is a great classroom management tool. If they have horns in their mouth they cannot talk! ? 
Keeping music at the center of the class will help solve classroom management issues. Non-music things should be at the start or at the end. 
Avoid over-programming. Good sounding groups are always better than “good-effort”. 
Do not practice until you get it right but practice until you cannot play it wrong. 
STORIES TELL & STORIES SELL!!!! Use tons of analogies for everything–stories, analogies, and imagery are particularly helpful when teaching middle school. 
Do not underestimate that the personality of the director directly influences the personality of the ensemble. It starts and ends with you more than you know. 
Fake it ‘til you make it. Just like band progression it gets better as long as you KEEP ON GOING. 


Make a  point to plan BEFORE you do anything.....

Plan as far in advance as possible. Plan the concepts you want to teach, find the literature that addresses it, and work arduously to that end.
Time management 
How to switch it up on a dime. When one strategy isn’t working, how to teach it a different way or switch it up quickly to keep students engaged. 


Make a point to actually "see" your students.......

We teach & reach (influence/inspire) people. Band/music is simply our medium, but always know that our job is to teach and reach people. Never teach to the song/piece of music. You have to teach the whole individual whenever you can. 
To have compassion for our students. 
Put yourself in your students’ shoes and always analyze what you’re doing from their perspective. 
When something doesn’t go as planned don’t blame the students, self-assess. 
Students love to help with classroom duties and giving them small “jobs” both takes a load off of you as a teacher and makes them feel more included. 
Emotional objectivity when students misbehave 
Students live up to your expectations 
If you expect it, the kids can achieve it. They are only held back by you. 
The kids really want to be able to connect with you. 


Make a point to stay "green"......... 

It’s OK to be wrong (Right or wrong you can still learn/improve) 
Never be afraid to seek help or new ways to improve. 
Ask questions! You only grow from what you know. Keep on GrOwing. Mentors are incredibly important to getting your career off to a strong start. 
ALWAYS be in search of excellence. Never settle for less than your best? 


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developing influence to inspire 
creating environments of excellence that educate and elevate 

SOUND180 Educator Enrichment & Solutions