Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm a little sad that it took me so long to figure out how to establish rapport with this choir (humor), but I think I'm moderately succeeding at this point.  I think they'll be able to accomplish everything they need to to succeed with the piece I'm directing.

On the other hand, I've developed such a comfortable rapport with Theory that they're starting to joke around more than I would like.  They wasted class time today by constantly chatting (Mrs. D even chimed in on occasion, surely to help me realize that I'm losing my sway), but part of the reason they continued is because they want material presented to them faster.  Since that last test (that they bombed!), I've slowed down dramatically to allow them to catch up to the skill level I expected.  My struggle now is that 4/5 students want to move along faster, while one is still falling behind.  I think I'm going to offer tutoring sessions for him and then increase the pace of class by a little.

Today's guitar lesson went well with the first class, fine with the second class, and terribly with the third.  During the third, I even vaguely mentioned that I've started giving detentions and that I am no longer "Mr. Nice Guy," and one of the boys that I was going to give a slip to (though he didn't know it yet) said "detentions don't work."  I said, "I suppose I'll find out," and when I gave him his slip at the end of class, he barely looked at it, mumbled some sort of "ok" and walked away.  Weird.  I've also acknowledged to them that I will treat them like 3rd graders, as that's how they're acting, and have been writing names and checkmarks on the board.  Every educator-professor I've had has said that students don't like seeing their names up on a board, but these kids practically enjoyed it.  They like the attention and I could barely get the technique to be effective.  These detentions should theoretically impact the whole class, but I have my doubts.  It seems I'm going to have to get really creative in order to keep them under control and still not resort to anything educationally counterproductive.

Long Outstretched Pier With Its Shadows - Xuefei Yang


  1. Might I offer a perspective?

    In my high school theory class, I was the student who had studied theory for fun, taught myself piano, composed without lessons, played trombone, etc. It was myself and 3 other girls. Girls who had never really learned music. It was hard not to speed a long, read ahead, work on new compositions instead of paying attention. The teacher did nothing to advance me further along. Instead of potentially learning enough to get through two college theory classes, I learned nothing.

    Your situation is the exact opposite. You have a majority that wants to move faster and one who cannot. I think the extra tutoring sessions are a great idea, and I wish that something like that had been offered to me so I didn't feel like I had wasted my time.