Keeping Rehearsals Enjoyable is something I have also strived for. Students are often giving up their time and putting in extra hours. We are offering them a chance to do something extra, but we do want them to enjoy it. The Covid-19 Pandemic has made rehearsals almost impossible, but we are starting to move towards a new normal. So how can we keep rehearsals fun and engaging for our students and why should we bother.
I think the answer to this is fairly simple. We want students to enjoy rehearsals so that they keep coming back. When they stay after school or at lunchtime they are giving up time. Whilst we are also giving up time, I personally see that as part of my role as a music teacher. But I will also add that a fun rehearsal can also be a productive rehearsal. A lot can be achieved when there is a good atmosphere and students are enjoying themselves.
Here are some things you might like to consider for your rehearsals. Not every rehearsal will be perfect, but we can strive to make sure we do our best for the students!
- Make sure that every focus has an aim, focus or goal.
- Spend time thinking about repertoire in advance, picking stuff that students will enjoy playing.
- Take time in the rehearsal to chat, laugh, joke and “be normal”.
- Always recognise that a rehearsal room is similar, but different, to a classroom.
- Give students opportunities to lead, conduct and contribute. That way if you aren’t in school the rehearsals can continue.
- Use warmups to try out fun, odd or intriguing exercises. At Christmas I will often get them to play carols backwards.
- Be there on time and make sure you end on time.
- Make sure that you are working towards something – event, concert, performance etc.
Keeping Rehearsals Enjoyable
A rich and thriving extra curricular programme is a crucial part of any music department. As teachers we want to enjoy the extra stuff we offer, and the students want to enjoy it too. Work with them to ensure rehearsals are fun and positive. Not only will this brighten up your week, but it will ensure that your rehearsals are always full of students. Take away the barriers, show that you are enjoying it and give students an active role.
I love rehearsing with students and I love seeing what can be achieved, even in a short lunchtime rehearsal. I hope that these ideas have got you thinking. I know that we do need to be more serious at times, but there are ways of doing this. Students don’t want to stay after school to be moaned at and shouted at. There is a time and a place for that kind of instruction, and a way of doing it. Keeping rehearsals enjoyable will benefit everyone!