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Re: New School & Change
I did something similar at the school I am now. I took over this summer and started by having kids help me organize the band hall. They would talk to each other and to me about how bad things were last year and criticize the previous director. I usually didn't get involved in their discussion and would keep working in the band hall. On the first day of summer band, I started off by asking the kids to figuratively flip the page on their calendar. I told them I wanted all criticism of the previous director to stop and for us to focus on what was in front of us. I still have a few kids accidentally refer to me by the old band director's name but other than that, I think the band has been able to move on.
On my first day before playing even one note, I told the students that they can tell me about the previous director and we will talk about it for 10 minutes. After this, they need to move on and focus on music and band. I also tell them that just as they had a previous director, I had previous students. If they do not want to listen to me keep telling them how my last band and students did something, don't continue to tell me how their last director did things. If either of us breaks the agreement the other party has the right to counter with how it was done by the last director or by my last band. That seemed to work very well and created more respect sooner. I think I only had to take them on maybe twice. Someone brought up how they did it last year and I immediately talked about how my band did it last year. That cut it off right away.