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    Simple Strategies for More Productive Rehearsals

    Mike Lawson | March 13, 2008

    When it comes to rehearsal techniques, there are as many styles as there are teachers. Success in the band room can be achieved in different ways, and although there is no clear-cut formula, the most effective rehearsals at all levels are comprised of three components: preparation, pacing, and participation. A great rehearsal is not a stroke of luck; it is the result of the skillful orchestration of these elements by the director.

    Great coaches possess a positive vision for their program, prepare for the season, then each practice and game; likewise, band directors must do the same. Preparation begins outside of the classroom with goal setting. Goals should be long- and short-term, broad and specific. It is imperative to have an idea of what is to be accomplished over a year, from concert to concert, or even on a weekly and daily basis. Through this, one can ensure there is direction in the program and in daily teaching.

    Once goals have been established, proceed to examining the physical condition of the band room. This is something that may easily be overlooked, but can greatly impact the quality of rehearsals. Not only does it affect the students' psyche, but also valuable time can be saved if the room is properly organized. Make sure there is a clear path from the doors to the instrument lockers or cubbies to avoid congestion. Check that all stands, chairs, and folders are in place, and instruct students to leave cases outside of the ensemble set up. Give all percussionists designated places to store instruments to avoid clutter in their section, which is often the messiest area in the band room. At the end of rehearsal, give your students a friendly reminder to leave the room in the same condition it was when they arrived, then dismiss them. A neat and structured room sends the message that the band hall is a place of business.

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