Instrumentation and Classroom Management

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Instrumentation and Classroom Management

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Instrumentation and Classroom Management

Jim Matthews

FMEA Conference/Phi Beta Mu Jan. 16 2015


Achieving Proper Instrumentation

Always start twice as many instruments as you want (need) in your top group for the following year in beginning band.

Always start from the bottom up. You MUST have a solid foundation in order to achieve the sound pyramid.

Test brass first starting with tuba moving up to French horn, then woodwinds starting with flute then clarinet, double reeds, then Saxophone and finally percussion. Give some type of physical aptitude test – DON’T LEAVE YOUR INSTRUMENTATION UP TO THEM! Kids need your professional guidance. They need to try them.


Instrumentation (cont.)



or professionals to help with testing if possible.

I explain to parents and students that I don’t tell them what they should play, but rather what they show the most aptitude for.

What do you have to offer them as far as instruments from the school? This will also help your instrumentation.


Tools for Instrumentation

Consider making a C.D. or brief recordings of professionals on each instrument as a model – play

the recording while

you show the


and then test that instrument.

Have all equipment: test instruments, mouthpieces, reeds (consider using plastic reeds

just for testing so

they are more sanitary), sticks,


, test sheets – scores for each instrument, pencils etc.

Create an easy score sheet – name, list each instrument being tested and have an area for tone, reached all pitches, fit for , score between 1-10, etc. There is no way they will accurately remember each instrument without some record.


Personnel for Testing

Invite your local music stores

to participate. Don’t

just choose


if there are

multiple stores.

This will create animosity and it is not ethical to be biased to one


or another


Invite your feeder directors to be involved in it. Additionally, invite high school students as helpers.

Notify all feeder elementary schools and put out reminder announcements to all schools leading up to the event.


Sell your program

Sell the importance of music, testing for aptitude, balanced instrumentation – no one will enjoy hearing a poorly instrumented

band. Sell

the joy of being on the proper instrument.

When a student is on the proper instrument, they are not fighting to make a

good sound.



are already one step ahead and will e



faster, as they are working along with their aptitude.


Classroom Management

You are simply managing a system of structure. What is your system?

Always plan more than can be accomplished in one class period.

Teach with conviction for


or task.

Don’t allow down time – they will fill it in with

their own agenda




as the foundation for all classroom management and discipline.

Respect has many forms: people, music,

and equipment



Poor Behavior

Poor Behavior is outward display of inward problems.

Needs Attention

Disrespect – towards you or another individual.

Poor or Non-existent Social Skills (not learned at home)

Negative Influences – friends, relatives, circumstances

Chemical imbalance – A.D.D./A.D.H.D. – etc. This could be real, but still not an excuse to be out of control, just needs coping techniques.


Find Root of Problem

There are m


school based helps – use resources.

Research Office Folders

Confer with other teachers

Parent Contact –

don’t be afraid

. “Mr./


…. I want to know if you can help me.” “I want to help ____ to be successful in my class.” “How is he/she doing in other classes?” “Is he acting this way at home, or is it just in my class?” How do you work with him/her at home when they are like this?”

My purpose here at school is to help him/her to be successful.

“This class is a


and I must have all members of the team cooperating in order for us to be successful.” (Stick with the big picture.) DON’T MAKE IT PERSONAL.


Helpful Hints

Seek them out – walk with them to class, pull them aside before class, see them briefly after class, be real with them, let them know you are a

human (not perfect)

just like they are and you are there for them

. Life is a journey.

Find out their story. Offer any help you can give them. Listen to them, go to their games, events, etc.


Teach Respect

They have a choice why they should respect you:

Because of your role as a teacher.

Because of your being: your standing in the school and community, what you do for people etc.

Because you are a human being on this earth and deserve respect.

Whatever reason they choose to respect is up to them, but disrespect if




on ALL OF THE GOOD THINGS for a positive atmosphere

! Point them out. Go to potential problems first at the beginning of the year. Don’t wait.


Respect Begins starts with YOU

You must teach what


looks like in



You must teach what


are expected in



I display all forms of respect toward my students – it starts with me and my attitude towards them. I will not ask them to do something I am not doing first

. Good leadership trait.

See my web page for many helps and suggestions.


Available Resources

Webpage with articles resources etc.

The Achievement System

Published by Alfred Music Publishing, Inc. $12.95

Conducting Conduct

by Doug Sorenson e-book embedded with editable forms, videos, and very valuable system for classroom management $9.99

New Book

Principles of

Musical Performance



by Jim Matthews

- How

to Apply Musical Principles

like a Pro does with





– Amazon E-Book – Get it now.

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