Jump to content

Students won't read!

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_Dana_*

  • Guests

Posted 09 November 2004 - 12:59 PM

I am a 2nd year band director. I teach the middle and high school bands. My second year band students seem to be getting worse instead of better. Note values and simple rhythms that were fine last year seem to be too challenging for them this year.

We read and sing note names; we clap and count rhythms in the songs that we play. When they actually play the music, things such as a half note or moving quarter notes are played as if they have never seen music before. I know I have bright, intelligent students, so why are they not able to play the notes that they see on the page anymore???

Is there anything else that I can do? I am frustrated and don't know what to do next! I would hate to have to spend 30 minutes on 4 measures of music everyday!


#2 joshg357


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 12 posts

Posted 10 November 2004 - 12:55 PM

Maybe they aren't focusing when it comes time to actually play. I bet they're engaged when they're clapping and singing because they're trying to be careful to not look "stupid," but when it comes time to play they might be relaxing and letting their minds wander. Good luck!

#3 Jrblack100


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 12 March 2005 - 03:46 PM

Are the students really getting the material the first time. Too often teachers throw information at students without doing enough repetition for the students to become proficient. They may know a dotted quarter is 1 1/2 beats but they may not be able to play it that way.

I'd go back and examine what's happening at the beginner level. Try to get some outside opinions. Effective criticism can go a long way to fix future problems.

#4 Luke Zyla

Luke Zyla


  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 11 February 2007 - 07:47 PM

The best way to develop good music reading is to play lots of literature. Do lots of sight reading. Too many band directors just beat a few tunes into their students in preparation for a concert. Who would think that it would be a good idea to learn how to read by just reading a couple of books over and over. Preposterous!
Luke Zyla
Parkersburg South High School Patriot Band
2nd horn, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra
conductor, The Parkersburg Choral Society

#5 Meldog



  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 63 posts
  • Location:Presque Isle, ME
  • Interests:Music (of course), Rollerblading, Golf, Hockey, Camping/Hiking, Biking, Star Wars (who doesn't like the movies:)

Posted 14 February 2007 - 04:09 PM

You need to separate the rhythm reading from playing. At the beginning level students are worrying about what they need to do to make a sound, what is the fingering, what is my teacher telling me to do, and a billion other things on top of what is the rhythm. The school I am teaching at when I started a month or two ago I had 12th graders who couldn't read quarter note rhythms because the previous teacher did not teach them. You can only imagine what my 5th graders were doing..lol. Get a book called "Rhythm and Technique" by Jack Bullock. It cost $6 per book from J.W. Pepper. If you see them for lessons once a week spend the first 5-10 minutes working in this book. At the top of each page there is a blue or a red box that has three lines of rhythms. Take each line and have the kids learn how to speak it by saying 1,2,3,4, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4, and so on. Then have them clap the rhythm and then have them play it on a note you give them. After that there is an example written for each instrument below that uses rhythms from previous pages. Each page the box at the top progresses in ability. In a very short amount of time you will be off and running. At first you will probably spend 10 minutes on just one line so just do one line a week until they understand the process. After a couple of months when they understand you will be able to get through all three example and play it within 10 minutes. The great thing about the book is it is not written for a given instrument, it includes all instruments in one so if your largest lesson group is 5 students you only need 5 books or you could do it in band if you don't see them once a week in lessons. Only do it in lessons, don't worry about having them take the book home. After 6 months of doing this I think you will be thrilled at the results. If you want more details on what I do to teach rhythms using this book feel free to drop me a note!!
Adam W. Metzler
Central Aroostook High School & Fort Street Elementary School Instrumental Music Teacher