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Clarissa Budd

Student Teaching Reflection

I started my student teaching experience and Tamaqua Area School District in January

truly petrified about everything happening. It took about two weeks to feel generally comfortable

in this new setting and environment as both a learner and teacher. I observed students who were

excited and energetic about learning, and their devotion to music making fueled my own desire

to make music with them. I found that once I got over myself and my own nerves that true music

making and learning on both ends could truly begin.

In general music, I struggled to find a balance between managing the classroom

discipline and still having fun making and learning about music. Although I did pick up some

things that were useful and effective, there is still much I have to learn about classroom

management. One of my most eye-opening classes was with fourth grade musicians during a

recorder class. When I couldn’t get students to stop talking or stop playing during rests, I

completely changed my approach and did the entire lesson in a whisper so students would be

forced to not talk, and really focus on what I was saying. This was genuinely a spectacular

experience, because as the students really started listening, they became more focused and

invested in the lesson.

I experienced something similar in my middle school band placement at State College

Area School district during a seventh grade rehearsal, when I asked the students to focus

specifically on one aspect of the music, in this case moving through ties over a bar line, their

playing changed, as did my podium personality. Once I found that students could respond to my

direction and conducting on something so small, I was able to command both classroom and

rehearsal with much more ease, and, the students were able to trust me in my own musical

Clarissa Budd

Teaching lessons has been by far the most rewarding experience of student teaching,

seeing music making in students from 4th to 8th grade. I struggled philosophically with lessons

during my first half of student teaching, as my cooperating teacher ran things differently than I

was comfortable. I continued following her lesson structure, but I wish I had changed things

sooner because when students played with each other, they responded much better to my

direction, and also told me that lessons were much more fun! Even if we only played a warm-up

together, the students clearly enjoyed playing together, which I should have incorporated more

during my time at Tamaqua. But knowing thing, my lessons at State College were structured

much better, having students play together much more of the time in warm-ups, repertoire and

chamber music.

Moving forward, I look forward to continuing improving my teaching skills in both

lessons and from the podium. In conducting, I have found that specifically asking students for

feedback is the best and most useful way to gain feedback for what is or is not working. I also

want to challenge my students to think critically more about music, which can be done through

my better prompting of relevant questions.