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How to motivate kids to practice?

motivation practice middle school

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#1 tmorris4

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:26 AM

Hello Everyone!

I am a first year assisstant band director, teaching a middle school brass class. The head band director teaches mostly woodwinds.

I cannot seem to get the majority of my kids to practice. We are a title one school, and most of the parents of my students do not even speak english. I have tried positive reinforcement, I have tried being stern, I have tried practice logs and docking their grade when they don't turn it in.

These techniques have produced only about 3 solid players out of the entire class.

During actual class time, the kids struggle to make it through even the most basic of exercises and it feels like I am constantly having to spoon feed them the same information day after day.


I am sure that it is me doing something wrong, but I have no idea what it is. Playing the trombone never seemed to be very difficult for me and I was able to sit first chair in my band growing up with about 30 minutes of practice a day. I switched to 2 hours a day in college and was able to basically sit first chair in my college bands as well.

Any advice is welcome.

Thanks,

tmorris4

#2 tmorris4

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:20 AM

BUMP!

#3 murphyc6

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:28 PM

Hello,

What you are experiencing is very normal for the type of school that you are in, but it does not have to stay that way. A big part of their development needs to come from their concept of what their instrument is supposed to sound like. If you can, play professional recordings for them in class. I realize that class time is precious, but chances are this is the only way that you will be able to get them to listen to professionals. Also, don't be afraid to show them flashy playing as well. It is a quick way to show them some of the possibilities of the instrument they are playing. Another important thing to have them do is sing in class. They are still beginning on their instrument, but they are also developing musicians. If they can sing the pitches you are trying to get them to play, it will be easier. With a situation like this, you will have to spoon feed for a solid amount of time. They are only going to be motivated by being excited about the fact that they are creating music! There are many many opinions on beginning band, so keep looking and reaching out. Also, check out as many books about rehearsing and starting brass students. Hope this helps.

#4 cpbicigo

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 12:30 PM

It is very much about making practice fun for them as well.  Practice is always such a dreaded word, but if you make games out of practice then it can be much less of a chore.  Things like encouraging your kids to get together with their friends to play while they hang out can help dramatically.  Even if they aren't playing their assigned music ALL of the time, they are still putting time in, building chops, and developing their creativity and expression.  The other thing is to use competition.  I've heard of great results from directors who offer up decent sized gift cards to places like Pizza Hut or whatever to the first person who learned all of their major and minor scales and could perform them for the teacher.    



#5 jlinker01

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 10:52 AM

Encore Tours recently hosted a symposium on exactly this topic - how to motivate kids to practice.

 

Here is the link and you can download the videos for free - http://pages.encoret...-symposium.html

 

Hope this helps







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