Schedule a school assembly at your feeder schools with music that the students will recognize and get excited about hearing. Prior to the final selection, turn to the student audience and ask, “Who would like to conduct the band?” Watch as the majority of hands shoot up into the air. Choose a student and hand them the baton. Plan to have your band play a short march and prepare them to respond to whatever gestures might appear. Since it’s a march, all the “conductor” needs to do is drop their hand to get things started. When the piece is over, be sure the “conductor” receives a rousing round of applause — particularly from your band students. Every elementary student who watches this will wish that they had been chosen to conduct. Use this to your advantage to generate enthusiasm.
Check-in with your counselor's office to confirm when next year's class rosters need to be submitted. Registration deadlines may be right around the corner, so if auditions need to be held for your advanced ensembles, this would be a good time to get them scheduled. Also, check to see if changes in the master schedule are planned that might affect your students being able to register for your program. Advanced or AP courses can create challenges for some students.
Ensure that you have sufficient original concert assessment scores in advance, and number the measures neatly. Even the publishers can get backed up at this time of year (especially given the pandemic challenges), so ordering early will help eliminate the potential for a panic right before festival or assessment.
Before we know it, the school year will be over and we'll be starting a new one. Enjoy the final few months, and remember that the impact you make on your students is truly life-changing!
This month's MSFQ tips come from Marcia Neel, Senior Director of Education at Yamaha and president of Music Education Consultants, Inc.