Episode 75: Student Led Rehearsal

What is a teacher to do when he has to be gone and the sub knows nothing about music! Have the students lead the rehearsal…after all, they probably know more than the sub.

A student led rehearsal is different than having a student conduct. Nobody conducts in a student led rehearsal. The students collaborate.

I stole this idea from Dr. Menghini of Vandercook College of Music, who presented a session using his own students. I have used it with much success almost every time I have a sub.

I Was a 7th Grade Bully

Throughout my childhood, I was often picked on and bullied. I was somewhat of a momma’s boy. I was not close to my father. I had a high emotional IQ and cried easily…the men in my life pounded into me (sometimes literally) that men don’t cry.

One day in 7th grade things turned around…

Red headed Patrick – tall and mean and someone who had bullied me all school year – pursued me into the hallway of the apartment building where my family lived. As he grabbed me and tormented me with his words and shoves, something in me snapped. I was sick and tired of the years of unrelenting bullying. I was done with being picked on. I detested the feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach.

I grabbed Patrick’s shirt and shoved him forcefully against the wall.

Patrick’s demeanor changed…

“Whoa James…calm down…I was only joking, “ he proclaimed.

“Yeah, right. Only joking for the last SIX-MONTHS, “ is what I thought to myself.

I let Patrick go. He told everyone at school that I beat him up. I had never laid a fist on him (besides the shirt grabbing). Patrick’s actions caused me to have a revelation…I was a big guy…I had size to my advantage…I didn’t need to let bullies torment me anymore.

Unfortunately I became a bully. I felt powerful. I felt strong. I liked this feeling.

I chose Bill Gates as my first victim. It wasn’t the real Bill Gates, but imagine what a 7th grade Bill Gates might look like. Spectacles. Skinny. High water pants. Future billionaire. I don’t remember this poor guy’s name, but we’ll call him “Bill.”

Every time I saw Bill, I tormented him. I spoke harshly to him. I acted like I was going to hit him (but I never did). Most of the time he bolted as soon as he saw me.

After a few months of this, I felt terrible! This was not who I was! I was a kind person. I had been through a lot in my short life, but was that reason for me to bully? I remembered how much I hated it when I was picked on. Why was I doing the same thing to others? I decided to quit.

One day shortly after this I saw Bill at the bus stop. Bill took off as fast as his skinny legs allowed. I started running after him! He ran faster. I ran faster. He ran even faster. I ran even faster.

What a sight it must have been, especially when I called out to him…

“Wait, wait. I want to be your friend.”

Amazingly he stopped running! Poor Bill. What would you think if you were being chased by a bully now saying he wants to be your friend?

I apologized. He accepted.

From that moment forward, when someone attempted to take advantage of Bill, I was there by his side using my newly discovered size to help him. It was my penance.

I became a bully because I enjoyed that feeling of power, but using physical size over others is just plain wrong! I’m glad it was just a 3-month portion of my life. My bullying days were over.

And Bill…you may find his name listed as an owner of an S&P 500 company.

Episode 74 – Teaching Guitar Effectively: Interview with Bill Swick

Join me as I interview Bill Swick – master guitar teacher. We dig into several strategies for how to effectively teach guitar, especially if you are a band teacher.

When I started at my current school 12 years ago, I had no experience as a guitar teacher. I must confess that in the back of my mind I planned on getting rid of the guitar class as soon as I could. How dumb I was! Guitar draws in a whole different group of students who may not be drawn in by band, orchestra or choir. It doesn’t take away from the other classes…it adds to it.

Out of 18,000 teachers in Clark County, Nevada, Bill was selected as the 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year. He has developed a year-long lesson plan that follows and covers his state’s curriculum. Find out the biggest mistake guitar teachers make. Pick up several strategies for how to teach guitar more effectively, including some discussion of Prodigy software for assessment.

You can sign up for Bill’s free newsletter, which includes free resources, by sending him an email with “Free Newsletter” in the subject. Send that request to: billswick at msn.com. Find out more about Bill and order his materials at www.billswick.com.

Also see Episode 33: You CAN teach guitar and orchestra