Music Education — Effective Rehearsals in the Class Room
An efficient rehearsal is dependent upon a stimulating, interesting, and well-planned rehearsal with maximum use of rehearsal time. Use of rehearsal time and pacing are important factors in producing a successful rehearsal. Time management includes starting and ending the rehearsal at the appointed times. Use every second of the rehearsal time to achieve rehearsal goals.
Long-range goals and individual rehearsal objectives are an important part of making the most of the rehearsal time. If we do not know where we want to go in rehearsal, valuable time will be lost and less will be accomplished.
Make connections between what is known and what is to be learned whenever possible. Where are the musicians in their musical, physical, cognitive, and emotional development? What is the attention span of a specific age group? What are their language and music reading abilities? What do they need to learn, experience, or review in the next rehearsal? What activities are most suitable for teaching a musical selection, skill, or concept? Answers to these questions provide the backbone of the rehearsal plan.
Planning and providing references to previously learned musical concepts or skills saves rehearsal time. Develop objectives that are sequential and become building blocks from one rehearsal to another. Have expectations in place for each rehearsal. Expectations and procedures will need to be practiced and reviewed while children are becoming accustomed to the routines of the rehearsal. Always be consistent throughout all rehearsals as far as expectations and procedures.
Develop and write out a teaching plan for each musical selection to be rehearsed. Subdivide the teaching plan into several segments based on the amount of time available to rehearse.
Post an agenda or roadmap with objectives and rehearsal activities. We are more successful when we have goals and have an outline for learning and rehearsal activities. This opportunities learning and facilitates maximum use of rehearsal time.
There are times when flexibility during the rehearsal is needed. Have a plan for adapting and adding activities when the unexpected happens.
Conduct a rehearsal evaluation. Use written notes for instant notation as well as video / audio taping, etc. Refer to these notes and tapings to assess and generate the next rehearsal's plan. Involve the musicians in the assessment of their learning and performance. As soon as possible after the rehearsal is concluded, take time to reflect on all components of the rehearsal.