In Part 1 of this post I shared my personal checklist of things to know before starting a new job. Part 2 below is just a chance for me to outlines the fun stuff – what I pack!
When it comes to the music life, I like to always think, expect the unexpected.
Stuff to take – from the blindingly obvious to nifty tricks
- The actual instrument (probably). Demonstrating is much easier on a physical instrument than without. However, it is also possible to teach sans instrument, especially if you’re teaching on a general theme of musicianship. The setting might also have a piano that you can use as well/instead, so I’ve found that it’s worth asking about that beforehand! A quick but important side note: I’m really happy that I invested in a cheap but cheerful ‘teaching-only’ instrument to protect my beloved main flute. Even with strictly applied no-touch rules and consequences, stuff happens. Particularly in primary schools.
- Music copies. The hope is always that your students will have their own main books, but it’s good to always have something at hand in case of forgotten folders: sight-reading, scales, or a copy of a book that many students are using at any time.
- Manuscript paper (print for free here) or a dry-wipe stave whiteboard. This is very useful for teaching basic theory concepts or for warm-up activities. They can also be used them in impromptu forgotten-instrument situations.
- Some theory and/or musicianship sheets (you can find loads for free in the Music Method Resources Library). If you’re teaching in a school setting, I think you can guarantee that instruments will be forgotten on a frustratingly regular basis. So I’m always sure to have a few worksheets at hand so that there is something productive for students to work on – this is especially important in group teaching lessons when an instrumentless child can cause real disruption when they’re not occupied.
- Any registers for the day (usually picked up from Reception).
- Pencils (plural – they will be lost).
- STICKERS, STICKERS AND MORE STICKERS. I once underestimated the power of stickers in promoting good behaviour, good practice, good effort. This applies especially well, of course, to primary school students.
- Any security passes or documentation needed to get into the building.
- Small essentials for instrument maintenance: screwdrivers for woodwind, valve oil for brass, cheap spare sticks for percussionists, or for strings a cheap rosin and maybe some cheap spare strings (unless, hopefully, the school is providing them).
- Water and hand sanitiser.
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