Motivation, Modeling and Games in the Middle School Orchestra

Motivation, Modeling and Games in the Middle School Orchestra

Three sessions I attended at the ASTA Conference, Orlando, March, 2020, focused on motivating middle school orchestra students and including modeling and  games in the orchestra classroom.  (“101 Tips and Tricks to Motivate Middle School Orchestra Students” by Amy Marr; “Gaming the Classroom” by Dr. Laurie Williams; “A Picture is Worth a 100(-ish) Words: Tactile and Visual Modeling in the Elementary Orchestra Classroom” by Richard S. Webb)

From Ms. Marr’s session:

Students are unpredictable and unique.  They are all capable of learning, yet they have different strengths, interests and styles.  Good teachers create a learning environment that is optimal for all, eliciting a student’s personal investment in learning and providing opportunities for self-actualization for all.

Teachers can encourage task-focused goals, using the acronym TARGET:

  • Task (Involve variety in events and meaningful content)
  • Authority (Give chances for students to have control and ownership over their learning)
  • Recognition (Reward individual success and effort)
  • Grouping (Include cooperative learning with minimal social comparison)
  • Evaluation (Give appropriate and timely feedback)
  • Time (Allow sufficient time for learning, based on students’ paces)

Motivation can be extrinsic or intrinsic.  Motivational goals can be ability-based or task-focused. Motivation incorporates people’s relationships to others.  Motivation is affected by the school culture (what type of goals are emphasized).

The presenter provided research-based information on motivation and then actually listed 101 tips or strategies to increase motivation.  See linked packet for all the details.

From Dr. Williams’ session:

We all learn better when it is through play.  Dr. Williams brought pages and pages of ideas for how to incorporate games, challenges, and creative imagery to our orchestra teaching.  Please see linked packet.

From Mr. Webb’s session:

Lean less on words.  Create environments where students figure things out, more than we tell them.  Do ‘it’ first; label it after (lead by example).  We can use photos to tell a story in a different way than video can.  Kids can create comic books on the comic life website/app.  We can have ‘bowhold halls of fame”.  Balloon Olympics – while playing “Sabre Dance” recording, keep 6 multicolored balloons in the air using only the tip and a good bowhold.   Sing a lot, for pitch recognition.  Mr. Webb uses two sticks of Mentos as ‘air traffic control’ signalers,  and moves them for singing and then playing pitch bending.  During the session, we also shared with each other our most valuable visuals and modeling tricks.

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