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Hello,

I teach ww. lessons at a local high school, and we are looking to develop a new system for grading lessons and curriculum. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to assign point values? The students come in for a 20 minute lesson once a week. Curious if anyone has any thoughts--I would like to have some more accountability than just attendance. One thought has been requiring a recorded solo or scale exam per semester---but I am trying to figure out a breakdown of points to assign on a weekly basis without getting it so bogged down in point values that it becomes a moot point...
 

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I don't know how much this will help, as it's an idea that is still in the "swirling around in my head" phase, but years ago I read a great book on how to run a large church choir program. I wish I could remember the title or author, but I can't.

The idea that I think would be applicable is to have a list of skills, techniques, and/or achievements made up for each level of student. These could be scales, patterns, vibrato, dynamics, whatever. Each student gets a card, which lists all of the skills to be checked off. What a student needs to do to check off the skill would depend on his or her level - For example, for a first year student, one of the skills may simply be to demonstrate playing loud, medium, and soft. The idea in the book was that when a student checks off the entire card, he or she moves up into the next level choir, and gets a new card. Some of the skills may be the same on the next card, but the student would have to demonstrate a higher level of mastery of that skill, and of course there might be new skills for the higher level as well.

That may or may not be applicable to your situation, but I've always thought it could be turned into a good system. It still involves some subjectivity on the part of the teacher, but goes a long way to making it clear what the students are expected to learn, and gives everyone a way to feel good about concrete progress in all of the different areas of musicianship.

It doesn't seem like it would be too much of a stretch to turn the check marks into grades over time...?

--Rob
 

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Some schools use practice time sheets, where a student must complete a required amount of practice per week, have their parent sign or initial it, and turn it in at the end of the week. It's commonplace for practice over the required amount to be looked at as "extra credit." It can be a good motivator, especially if certain other things are added to it. ie. "If my students practice a combined 50,000 minutes this month, I'll die my hair green!" The only downside is, it's almost certain that some students will lie.

The other option is weekly examinations regarding some sort of scales or other exercises. I've never been a huge fan of it. Depending on the number of students, it may not be viable, and I'd consider working on material far more valuable than doing an evaluation.

I know a lot of schools that push their band programs to "keep grades." I wonder how the administrators intend band directors to do that when they have single "classes" with 100 people in them. I think a semester exam or audition is a good idea, cover sightreading, scales, and a solo, then otherwise, basic participation points.
 

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Interesting thread. If I had to grade students on a weekly basis I'd look at .

25 % Did they practice and actually try to get better?

25. % Tone improvement, Intonation

25% Tech work Scales, arpegios , etudes

25% Grade them on something fun that they want to work on?

In my own lessons with beginners I use the food analogy.

1 Salad (warm up for tone time and tech)

2. Main Course (school music and required studies)

3. Dessert (something fun that they really would like to "get"/play)
 

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ving said:
Hello,

I teach ww. lessons at a local high school, and we are looking to develop a new system for grading lessons and curriculum. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to assign point values? The students come in for a 20 minute lesson once a week. Curious if anyone has any thoughts--I would like to have some more accountability than just attendance. One thought has been requiring a recorded solo or scale exam per semester---but I am trying to figure out a breakdown of points to assign on a weekly basis without getting it so bogged down in point values that it becomes a moot point...
You mention a "new" system. Is there one currently in place?

A couple of questions I had include:

What is your curriculum?

What is the criteria for assigning point values?

Will the grades tie in with the students' band grades?

Have you talked this over with the director?

What is the intended outcome by grading lessons? In other words, what behaviors do you want the students taking lesson to exhibit?

Please understand that I am not intending this to be/sound sarcastic. I'd have some ideas, but want to get some feedback before offering advice.
 

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One thing i've used (and had used on me) is a sheet that lists various types of work to be completed (scales, patterns, long tones, transcriptions, tunes to learn, etc) and each is graded on a 4.0 point scale. the categories can be up to you, and you might leave some as 'other'. some weeks there's something in all the categories, sometimes just a few. each gets graded at the next lesson, and the average is that lesson's grade. all the lessons for the semester get averaged and that's the grade for the semester.

It seems to work, and my instructor also uses a comments section to identify what they hear or don't hear improvement in week to week. It helps me as a student to have a written reminder of what to do, and as an instructor i have a way of remembering what each student is working on week to week. Helps keep a certain continuity to the lessons. I wish my former instructors had all used something like it.

hope that helps- mike
 

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The students come in for a 20 minute lesson once a week.
A scene from 'The Abyss' where bud only has five minutes of oxygen left and can't return to base... and hippie says "it took him 30 minutes just to get down there"...

If the children have 6 classes a day of 50 minutes duration... why are these children not receiving 50 minute lessons...

is this so they can go to the first part of the lesson, go to their music lesson, and return to the end of the class?

it takes hopefully less than 3 minutes for the student to enter the class and get their instrument out.

I know this is an old thread...


Edit: these are not group lessons that you are referring to? :end edit


lawrence of arabia... 'outrageous'... or something from Jerry Maguire about less clients and more attention... escher
 
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