Free subscription to JazzEd magazine for teachers

JazzEd, a new magazine for educators, is offering free magazine subscriptions for music teachers. In the last issue they had a nice article about Herb Pomeroy's teaching philosophy, written by a former student of his named Brian Kane. Here's an excerpt from Brian's article:

Know Your Band
Directors need to know the strengths, weaknesses and experience levels of each section in their band. When choosing music for a group or creating arrangements, make your decisions based on the band you have, not the band you wish you have. It’s important to challenge students and encourage them to excel, but it’s also important to do this in a gradual way that builds skills, musicianship, and confidence. I often see high school groups that choose extremely difficult music, even though the level of musicianship and experience in their band isn’t extremely high. The process these bands go through to play the music often requires months of grueling rehearsals. In the end, the bands end up playing the pieces fairly well, but one needs to ask if the students might have been better served by a different approach. Is it better for students to have the experience of playing ten or twenty different pieces per year to gradually develop their musicianship and skills or is it better to spend time trying to master three extremely difficult pieces for performance? Every band director has the right to answer this question differently, but in my time with Herb, I learned that one of the best ways to respect students is to offer them consistent and gradual opportunities to succeed and improve on their own.

Respect the Person, Teach the Musician
Every student in a band should be given the respect and encouragement due any person. But students need to earn the respect of a band director for their individual musicianship through hard work and perseverance. Students should understand this critical difference. It’s possible to like and respect someone on a personal level, but they still may not work hard enough to be a positive contributor to a band. Criticism to groups should never be personal in nature and, in my experience, anger is never a constructive force in rehearsal settings. Directors should set high, but attainable, expectations for musicianship, behavior, and work ethic in groups. I’ve often seen band directors get angry, lecture, or even storm out when their expectations are not met or when individual disruptive students distract rehearsals. I’d suggest a different but simple approach: remove the problem player from the band. Set the tone for excellence early in the year by limiting distractions during rehearsals and base all decisions regarding students on an expectation for musicianship and professional behavior. Appreciate, respect and love the kids you work with, but demand professionalism and respect from them at all times.

Also affiliated with JazzEd magazine is JazzPlayer.com, an online community designed to foster connections between like-minded jazz educators, musicians, students, and fans of the genre. Members can easily share their own background and personal information, making it easy to network with others on a professional or social level. This site is basically set up to be like an exclusively Jazz version MySpace or FaceBook.

Link for your free subscription to JazzEd magazine

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