Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Teaching Percussion at a New High School

This past year I had the experience of working with a percussion section at a brand new high school in Knoxville. I believe that this experience has stretched me in many ways and pushed me to be a better teacher. I had worked with other groups before, but this particular experience was very new to me.

When I was first asked to come and be the percussion teacher, I was very nervous about the idea. It was also scary to leave an established school that I had been working with. But anyway, I had worked with the director before and new that it would be a good experience for me to take the job.

At band camp, I learned just how different this experience was going to be! For one, I was only teaching freshman and sophomores because there were no upper level students enrolled at the school. Also, we did not have enough people to put out a battery, so we only had a front ensemble. I had always been a better battery tech than a front ensemble tech, so it pushed me to really research front ensemble teaching. That was the best thing that could have happened to me. Throughout the fall, I was able to implement new theories into my teaching, and I was able to see the students improve and jump on board. It was amazing to see these students progress through the season and really come out as a real award winning ensemble. I thought that I had been teaching these students all year, but really they had been teaching me.

When the indoor season came along it brought new challenges. We now had to move on with new music and new instruments. (Since we marched a battery.) But once again the students pushed me to be a better teacher, and I learned so much about starting an indoor program.

If you ever had the opportunity to teach at a new school, you should jump at the chance! I learned so much about starting a program and hope that one day I can again implement everything that I have learned. It is a completely awesome experience.

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