It doesn’t matter which subject you teach, keeping students engaged in their learning at the end of the year is a challenge. Summer’s promise of languid days spent on vacation, hanging out with friends and doing as little as possible, beckons. Students start to stare out the window and lose interest.
So how do you keep your music students engaged at the end of the year? Let’s explore some tricks to keep them from glazing over.
Plan public performances.
There’s no motivation quite as effective as giving your music students chances to perform. When you plan these for warm weather outdoor events and end-of-school occasions, you give your students something to look forward to.
The fact they’ll also have to display their skills in a public setting lights a fire under them to be at their best, prompting increased engagement, with rehearsals. But getting kids to rehearsals right before they break for summer can be a challenge, too. So how do you address that?
Plan rewards for students showing up for rehearsals. Host a BBQ in a local park, or in your own backyard. For the price of a few burgers and buns, you can create a memorable party, maybe invite your students to “jam” as part of the fun.
Encouraging your students to bring a dish or soft drinks can add to the sense of community, making it a hosted potluck. This gives them a chance to socialize and enjoy a preview of their summer fun.
Plan a performance tour.
Planning a performance tour well in advance of the time at which your students begin to drift off into their summer reveries is a sure-fire way to keep them with you (in mind, as well as body).
Explain to your students that those who are consistent with practice and rehearsal and develop their skills adequately, will be able to join the band on a performance tour. Share the destination with them to get them fired up, then ask people to volunteer for activities like fundraising and advertising.
In the end, you’ll find that all your students put everything they have into the effort, creating a synergy between the promise of an excursion and their skill at playing and performing. It’s likely that all of them will find a way to be on that performance tour.
Music awards night.
Ask your students to prepare themselves for a glittering night to celebrate their achievements. Plan a theme and performances. Create awards like “Most improved”, “Virtuoso” and “Best Attendance”. Awards can even be funny, like “Best Accidental Honk During a Rehearsal”. Be creative. Get them involved and you’ll keep them engaged, right up to the last class of the year.
Invite parents and other teachers to create a special night of fun and recognition that may well become an annual event!
Peak Performance Tours.
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