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3 Reasons Why You Should Get Off the Podium to Teach Your Ensemble

For some directors, the podium is their security blanket. It’s the place they feel most comfortable. However, stepping off the podium and moving around the rehearsal room not only enables you to see and hear differently in rehearsal, but allows you to engage your students on a more personal level and be a more effective teacher. Here are three reasons why moving around the room will improve your next rehearsal.

  1. You will notice more about your students and their playing. There are many times I’ve noticed my own students attempting to play without a mouthpiece, missing their music, eating a snack, or even an occasional student texting during rehearsal. Being able to hear individuals and sections more closely, helps guide your rehearsal planning. You also may notice your students, especially younger ones, sitting with better posture and playing with better tone as you approach them.

  2. Getting off the podium creates an opportunity for students to listen more intently and to be more dependent on each other. The responsibility is theirs to maintain tempo, listen and match articulations, play in-tune and make entrances in-time. By placing more responsibility on the students, you become a more effective teacher. This is what we should always be striving for, even when we're on the podium leading the group. But, it's the action of removing yourself from the podium that places more responsibility on the students.

  3. Sit-in and play with your students, especially the younger less experienced students. Modeling proper tone, articulation, and dynamics is key to your students’ development as a musician. Try not to favor a particular section, but reach all sections of the band, including the percussion. Your students will appreciate the extra attention.

If you use a tuner or metronome app, it’s easy to connect wirelessly from your smartphone and not be tied with an audio cord to your sound system. I recommend the Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter for easy connectivity and dependability. Simply pair your device to stream music, play pitches with a tuner app, or use a metronome app.

Cutting the Cord! Using a Bluetooth Audio Adapter in Rehearsal

To help facilitate moving around the room more easily, create an isle through the center of the ensemble. This will help you reach those students and percussionists in the back of the room. The students will also find it easier to reach their seat with an aisle at the beginning of class. If you have a large group, you may want to consider adding two aisles to your ensemble set-up.

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