Tools and Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Our Beginning Band Students

Are these questions familiar?

From students:
"what am I supposed to be practicing?"
"why did I get a 85% on my lesson?"
"what do I do if I miss a lesson?"

From student's parents:
"what can my daughter do to improve her grade?"
"I hear my son practicing, but how do I know if he is practicing what he is supposed to?"

From myself:
"how can I challenge my better students and still teach my struggling students?"
"how am I going to teach my students to play, learn theory, music history, critical listening, and everything else with the limited time I have?"

What are the answers:
Band folders - contain and organize all materials

Performance standards - from our method books, each student is responsible for completing each of the items listed
   these curricular objectives include; scales, technical studies, and concert music

Practice - although we do not have a written practice record responsibility, we do have a daily practice expectations
   each student will have a pull-out of class lesson every six class days
   each student will have a book assignment to study during their home practice
   home practicing is the most important factor in student success, please monitor and encourage regular practice

Theory and written class work - 

Testing - Smart Music, is a computer program that accompanies the method book and will be used to assess performance

Concerts - participation is expected
   each student will be encouraged to prepare to his/her best ability level