This semester I had the opportunity to observe and teach a concert band and music theory class. This experience was eye opening to me because I got a look into what it is like to be a teacher. Over the course of my time in the high school I got to observe one single teacher and ask them questions about classroom management, planning, student teaching, and running a music program. The classroom I watched was an accurate depiction of what my first job might be like. The students in the band would talk consistently during class. Even when the teacher would call them out, they would continue to talk. I learned a lot about classroom management, what works and what doesn't, by observing this teach. In addition I have learned a lot about lesson plans and using warm ups and method books to teach certain concepts like dynamics, phrasing, scales, that I can apply to repertoire I select for my future ensembles. This also gave me the opportunity to observe class that wasn't band, orchestra, or choir. The class I observed had a few students who had never read music, and I got to see how the instructor engaged both those with no experience reading music and those with a lot of experience. They used recorders and finale to students learn how to read and notate music. This also allowed the teacher to design activities for students who were more advanced. During a few of my visits I was able to teach, whether that was a small sectional or the entire band. When I taught the whole band I realized how comfortable I was in front of a large group of people. I also realized I still have a lot to learn about engaging students in a lesson before I actually get my own class. Below is the lesson plan I wrote for this class. Reflecting on the time I spent working on Rough Riders march I realized that I became focused on notes and rhythms in the Trio that I didn't get to my original objectives. It made me think about how I can structure lesson plans in the future to incorporate both my own objectives, and other stuff I need to work on during class.
This semesters practicum has allowed a lot self reflection on my courses at JMU and on my own individual teaching. It has allowed me to apply what I learned in class to actual students. Lastly, I have been able to observe certain classroom management, planning, and teaching techniques of one instructor over the course of several months.