Hey! I remember someone on the YB talking about teaching/prepping your students to "run" rehearsals while you're gone to TMEA. Can someone post their procedures for this project? I'd love to do this with my MS group. I think the kids can handle it, and there will be a sub in the room that can supervise. Thanks!
This is where student leadership really comes into play. I can hand a rehearsal off to a drum major with little prep. Really comes in handy when I get pulled for a short-notice something and admin sends someone to "cover my class." Most of my section leaders can handle running a sectional, if something is going really poorly I can send a section into the ensemble room and have their section leader fix problems.
You'll have to adapt this to middle school, but some things we do: Starting about now, those who are interested in leadership for the fall rotate through running warmups. I'm there to give feedback, but they run the met, call up what's next, etc. Lots of listening in class. At the end of a rep, ask a student what they hear that we can fix. Sometimes they hear things that I missed. This also gives you a clue of who will be good as section leader. Post-UIL, we do even more student-led rehearsals. I'm in the room in case things go off the rails, but the kids are running it. Especially kids who want to be drum major. At first I give them a detailed plan including measure numbers and tempos, later I give them more freedom to decide what they're going to work on. During marching band, section leaders are running sectionals constantly. This gives the leaders some experience, but also the other kids get used to listening to their peers as leaders. An hour of student-led sectionals helps us make huge strides when we come back together.
Like anything else, if you throw something new at them while you're gone, it's likely to crash and burn. Prep it ahead of time.
This is a pretty cool opportunity. I'm thinking you could probably devise a system that works best for you and your students.
For instance, at the middle school level -- do your students discern what is really good and what is not? Or are they great at just following the "plan"? So in other words, if you have a future educator in your class, I'd recommend allowing them to run class and even hear sections of the music in order to improve it.
With that being said, I have a feeling most middle school students would be better at managing the classroom... i.e. "Let's all do our warm up, now" and "Take out the march, we're starting at measure 32..." then turn on the met and so forth, without really giving feedback.
You might maybe prefer to let your students use that time in little mini sectionals, and if so, give them specific places in your music to work on at specific tempos. The advantage of the sectional time rather than full group time would be... there might be a rock star kid on his/her instrument who would know exactly what to say to his/her peers on the same instrument, but not know what to say to others on their respective instruments in different family groups.
I love the idea of giving kids some opportunities to practice being a leader. Good luck as you develop your personal plan!
I am an over prepper, so I type everything out and leave it for them. What we play, what tempo, etc. But more importantly I have them do it a lot of times prior to me being gone. I usually pick two kids to take turns in case one is absent, but also just to give more than one person some responsibility. I guide them through what we are doing, and the type of things that should make them stop and start over. I also have another student who writes down my attendance for me on most days, just so I can take care of it after class and not waste time during class. This also helps the substitute. Oh, and they know that one of them will always email me to tell me if anyone was being a pain. I always get great comments from my substitutes when I am gone. And I figure whatever they played was better than nothing.