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HAT Journal #1 (Alexander)

When should tuning be introduced to the ensemble? Is this a skill that
should be one of the first topics discussed or should it come later?
How much of a rehearsal do you usually spend on intonation?
Does tone quality affect intonation and if so, do you find that these
exercises also help with tone quality?

Proactive vs Reactive solutions to intonation: First develops ear and
finger accuracy while the second correct pitch issues
Fine tuners must be installed on all string instruments so that students
can tune easily
The better the students know the correct hand positions, the more in
tune they will be- doing scales can help solidify hand positions
String students cannot have long fingernails on the left hand!
Students can take a more active role in the process by bringing in their
own tunes for echo exercises
Using drones can be helpful, but remove vibrato so that the pitch is
pure and not confused
Asking students to enhance dissonances and relax consonances will
help them develop their ear and improve a skill that is present in
almost all classical music.
If students are not rhythmically accurate, they will not sound in tune
Students should always think of their phrases as arcs with the peaks
being the most dissonant and played with the widest vibrato.

It is my responsibility to teach tuning- I cant expect my students just
to know how to do it
I have to demand that all students tune every day and incorporate
exercises like stand partner help or hand signs to help them
I should constantly correct bad hand posture (flat fingers/collapsed
Get students to sing!
Incorporating different exercises that increase in difficulty is the best
way to improve the intonation of a group- try to work in intonation of
chords eventually
Use pizzicato to unify rhythmic accuracy
Grade good markings! They should be meaningful
I can lesson other expressive techniques to make pitch more obvious
(playing softer, slower, etc)
Always tune a pyramid of sound starting with lower voices when in

HAT Journal #2 (Russell and Higgins)

Do you have any recommendations for stretching if the ensemble
doesnt have a lot of room for lying down and stretching?
Have you done stretching like this before, and if so, have you ever run
into situation where students are too self-conscious to take part in the
exercise? How can teachers combat this issue?

Some string students experience pain and injury from repetitive motion
as early as high school
Physical warm-ups can be included in school ensemble settings in
order to ease issues
String students feel the most pain in their back, forearm, shoulders,
hands, and elbows
Stretching should never be painful for students
Meaningful stretches can also improve mobility and better technique
It is important to keep good posture while stretching
The spine and leg muscles are connected
When stretching the wrist, you must stretch the flexor and extensor
Proper stretching and warm-up can lead to lifelong musicianship

Its my responsibility to learn tips for how to ease and avoid pain and
injury in my students
Incorporating stretching activities into rehearsals will improve my
ensemble, not hinder it
I need to find ways to adapt stretching routines to work for my
ensemble (stretching between instrument cabinets, etc)
I have to become a physical educator as well as a music instructor

HAT Journal #3 (Hamann & Gillespie Chapter 9)

Are there any recruitment techniques that are particularly effective?

Sharing joy of music with students will help others and help you (your
Children may be playing instruments for many reasons: parents, peers,
musicians, or personal
Some children with specific personality types are drawn to music
Some schools may already have an established recruitment procedure
which you can use or modify to fit your needs
Recruiting in spring can delay beginning of instruction unless there is a
summer program, recruiting in fall may diminish instructional time if
recruitment happens during the first couple of weeks of school
Sometimes class release must be arranged
A recruitment letter should go to the child and the parents and
mention the benefits of playing a string instrument and the logistics of
the specific program
A handbook is a necessary component of recruitment that should be
given during parents meeting
Contacting parents in a variety of ways is vital (email, phone, letter,

My goal is to find out which students are or may be interested in
participating in the string program and contacting them/their parents
I need to understand why students play instruments so that I can use
that information to recruit
Ask for permission before you conduct recruitment activities in other
Be prepared for presentations- materials, handouts, music used in
demonstrations, any forms that need to be filled out, etc. make
handouts bright so they are distinguishable from other assignments
Instrumentation balance is important- try to compromise between
student preference and balance of the ensemble
Consider preparing a website that gives all of the information in one
Establish a good relationship with an instrument dealer who can help
me size and provide instruments to students
Consider a demonstration or hands on method of participation/trial of

HAT Journal #4 (Hamann & Gillespie Chapter 4)

In the book, one of the recommendations is placing dots on the
fingerboard of bassists. Would this practice help bassist or hurt them in
the long run? Is it a technique that would be better suited for
This chapter gives so many recommendations on different exercises to
incorporate in order to develop advanced skills. In settings where time
will most likely be limited, what is the best way to incorporate these
activities into daily rehearsal? Choose a few to work on per day? Do
them as warm-ups? Incorporate them in repertoire rehearsal?

Use dynamics to help teach dtach bowing-students should be using
steady bow strokes and equal sound
Students can play scales while alternating different bow strokes
Tremolo bowing is usually performed using the middle to upper half of
the bow
The faster the string crossing, the less arm motion and more
wrist/hand motion
String crossings are easiest performed in the middle of the bow
Start 3 octave scales by having students practice each octave
Talking to students while they perform vibrato encourages mastery
Provide harmony experiences for the group-teaching aural skills with
chords and chord progressions

It is my responsibility to understand advanced techniques so that I can
accurately teach them to my students
I should always used a spiraled curriculum design, ensuring students
master easier skills before moving on to more advanced or difficult
I have to use a variety of different exercises and methods so that
students have different ways of learning and practicing the same
Start 3 octave scales by having students practice each octave
I need to include time on aural skills in order to develop students skills

HAT Journal #5 (Hamann & Gillespie Chapter 10)

Have you ever had experience with students wanting to quit the
ensemble because the repertoire was consistently too hard, and if so,
how do you handle that situation?
Do you recommend mixing and matching method books if one area in
a specific book is lacking?

Music selection is extremely important
Look at why musicians perform
Do not overprogram! select pieces that are at or 1 level below the
Most students practice simply because they enjoy their instrument and
they practice more when they think music is fun
Method books can be useful, but they need to be carefully evaluated to
ensure their merit
While grade levels can offer a good starting point, a piece must be
examined to truly determine its difficulty level
Festival contest lists, string journals, other teachers, teaching books,
music librarys, internet sites, and conferences are all great resources
to turn to in order to help music selection

It is my responsibility to know the ensemble so that I can select
appropriately difficult music for them
For string orchestra-look at shifts and instrumentation and for full
orchestra look at instrumentation
Music must have teachable concepts-think about lesson plans and
concepts to teach
Take into consideration audience, ensemble, and my own style
Choose music that stretches the ensemble
I have to carefully examine which method books I want to use to
ensure they are actually going to be useful for the betterment of the
ensemble and individual musicians within the ensemble.
Also important for me to consider the cost of supplies like method

HAT Journal #6 (Pellegrino, Conway & Russell)

I was a little confused by the discussion of rubrics needing to be
focused on the process over the outcome. Does this mean that music
teachers shouldnt grade based on the quality of a performance of a
particular skill?
When thinking about placing importance on assessment in the arts at a
new job, how do you get students to take these assessments seriously
without making them want to quit because band or orchestra is no
longer just an easy A ?

Assessment serves a variety of purposes: meeting standards, provide
documentation, improve musicianship, improve instruction
Teachers in th arts tend to base grades on non-achievement criteria
(behavior, attendance, etc)
There are a variety of tools that can be used for assessment: rating
scales, checklist, and combinations of these things with rubrics
Rubrics are more narrative and can be combined with checklists or
rating scales
Assessment cycle should happen all throughout a rehearsal and
teachers should modify instruction to better help students
Students can take the model of assessment you provide and start self-
assessing, too

I have to work to find the best way to assess my students
It is irresponsible just to give students an A for showing up to class-
they need to learn
My assessments need to be meaningful to the student-they need to
know how to improve, therefore comments are very important
My rubrics need to be clear, have a hierarchy of importance, help
students succeed, be distributed prior to the task, and deal with
processes not outcomes.
I have to be careful when incorporating technology into assessment: it
can be a great tool that demonstrates forward thinking but some
students may not have equal access/school may not have a budget/it
may only get in the way of a good assessment
HAT Journal #7 (Hamann & Gillespie Chapter 7)

What is the best way to balance demanding excellence and not
frustrating the ensemble? Is there a point where you just have to leave
a concept for the day because students arent
I know that in high school, oftentimes sectionals were unofficial free
days. What are some ways to stop this mindset in students and get
them motivated to work?
Rehearsals are your opportunity to bring preparation to fruition
Budgeting time is very important so as to have a good balance in the
rehearsal that works to improve the ensemble
Stretching is an important part of the warm-up routine
Run-throughs do not work well to improve the ensemble
Every rehearsal should have sight-reading or improvisation!
Sometimes presentations on music theory or history may be necessary
Troubleshooting is an essential part of being a director
Sectionals can be a useful tool to break down the ensemble, identify
problems, and then reassemble the full group

I must insist that the students pay attention to tuning
Being clear about how students should and shouldnt warm up!
I have to choose warm ups wisely so that they work to help my
students and relate to the lesson I have planned
Isolate difficult parts and rehearse them separately
Communicate clearly both verbally and nonverbally
Use announcements carefully and wisely and let the students know
how the rehearsal went for the day
Modeling, proximity, appropriate teacher touch, multiple teaching
strategies, humor, and routine to help maximize the effectiveness of
the rehearsal
It is important that the teacher always be a leader and finding student
leaders can also help the ensemble
Having an overall positive tone and ending each rehearsal in a positive
way can help boost morale and motivation
I should know how students learn and be able to communicate very
clearly when speaking or explaining things to my students
Always be prepared!

HAT Journal #8 (Robinson Article)

There were always favorites in my high school band program. How do
you avoid gravitating to one student that sticks out to you in a positive
Competition really is a bit part of the music world. How do you
introduce it to students in a way that is less intimidating?

Competition is a huge part of US culture
Competition creates horror stories amongst students but can be useful
at times
Competition creates feelings like humiliation and shame
Focus can be shifted from a teacher-centered model to a student-
centered model
Collaboration may not always be the most efficient way to get things
Some teachers may even decide not to pursue teaching high school
band because of the culture of competition that is so important there

It is my job to come up with ways to encourage collaboration in my
Giving students more ownership over their learning is one way to
increase collaboration
I need to make sure all students have a voice but I can also delegate
responsibilities to members of the ensemble especially when they are
doing group work
I have to put myself in the shoes of every single one of my students in
order to empathize with them
Focus on the larger picture: youre a music teacher because you want
to make beautiful art out of small, individual parts
My job is to make my students feel creative and empowered and

HAT Journal #9 (Miller Article)

Many times winning competitions is the way schools garner support for
their music program. What suggestions do you have for garnering that
support and creating a family environment when you take competition
between schools out of the picture?
One of the reasons I feel I gained such close friends through band in
high school was the sheer amount of time we spent together during
marching band rehearsals and competitions. What are some ways
orchestras (and by extension, non competing bands) can build the
same relationship without spending all that time outside of class
rehearsing for competitions?
Unnecessary to have everyone audition to be first chair
Competition has permeated every aspect of society including band
Elitism is stupid- people change, grow, learn, and improve, so judging
from day to day will always be different
Judges wont be able to see your band program or ensemble in its
entirety in the 10-20 minutes they have with them
The standard by which groups are judged is subjected and contests
should do away with rating systems
Excellence decreases when competition increases
Competition promotes conformity
Basics are left in order to promote competition

Dont always audition because you feel you have to- do it when/if it is
absolutely necessary
Move students around so they can experience playing all parts
Make use of section leaders to help lead the band
Music is for all and its my job to teach music to all students, not just
the best and brightest
I have to promote creativity, non-conformity, individualism
Be careful how you grade as grades can be harmful to a students
educational development
Cooperating with colleagues is far more valuable than trying to be
better than them

HAT Journal #10 (Roberts Article)

Sometimes, it is easy for students to become infatuated just because
of the amount of time they spend with their music teacher and the
high emotional content of music. If you suspect a student is crossing
lines, what is the best way to handle that situation?

Reporting possibly harmful situations to authorities in a timely manner
is extremely important
Scandals in which a teacher may have not done anything illegal can
spiral out of control and cost them their job
Any teacher can be a perpetrator of sexual misconduct in a school. It
doesnt matter how much or little they seem to be involved with the
students or school activities
I have the responsibility to provide a safe, secure environment for my
students in which they feel comfortable
I need to report situations as soon as I feel they are unsafe or students
or other faculty members may be crossing lines.
I should not be adding students on social media until after they
graduate, and posting pictures of students is not allowed!
Creating boundaries between students and teacher is extremely
Dont be afraid to come forward with information when something
doesnt feel right!

HAT Journal #11 (Hamann & Gillespie Chapter 8)

What are the best ways to incorporate improvisation into an already
busy rehearsal schedule? (chamber groups, full orchestra settings,

Improvisation is another way to enhance sting instruction
Improvisation encourages creativity and motivates students by giving
them the opportunity to use their aural skills
Students can improve their memorization, listening skills, and
Improvisation is a national standard
Improvisation can be learned and taught even by those who havent
had much practice with it
There are many ways to vary improvisation exercises depending on the
ability level of the group or individual students

It is my job to encourage students to improvise and to provide
opportunities for them to improvise in a nonjudgmental environment
I should use improvisation to supplement lessons in class or teach new
Use the drone approach where some students hold a pitch while others
vary rhythm, dynamics, articulations, etc
Start slowly and build upon previous knowledge with each new lesson
Alternate between a repeated pattern and an opportunity to improvise
(starting with a single note improvisation before adding more)
Play a pattern and have students respond to it
Teach students basic chords and have them improvise a simple melody
above the chord progression
Use a rhythmic ostinato and have students improvise with pitches and

HAT Journal #12 (Yoo Article)

Have you found that students are more or less responsive when you
approach improvisation from specific time periods/methods (ie jazz vs.

Improvisation has been an integral part of music for centuries
It gradually decreased in frequency of use as people started relying
more heavily on written music
Many of the pedagogues of the 20th Centuries reemphasized the
importance of improvisation in music education
Improvisation has even become a national standard
In baroque music, figured bass was a way to read chords so that
improvisatory accompaniment or melodies could be played
Ornaments were essential to Baroque music and the appoggiatura and
trill were highly used
Melodies in the Baroque period were varied to provide contrast
Teaching improvisation will improve overall musicianship!

Listening should be included in any lesson on improvisation, especially
with Baroque techniques
Give students specific notes to improvise on (the 3rd/6th) while the
teacher plays a descending scale
Students should be given certain rhythms and can be taught to
improvise using some figured bass symbols that indicate how many
notes they can play and what those notes are
Teachers can use symbols to indicate where students trill in a pattern
and can vary that pattern each repetition
Rhythmic and melodic variations should be used a lot!