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7 Tips for a SUPERIOR Assessment Season

Welcome to EPISODE 30 of #MusicEdLove! This episode is coming out via special request for those of you preparing for Assessment! Here are our 7 tips for a SUPERIOR Assessment Season!

The Mantra from this episode is listed below in red. Enjoy!


  2. Now is NOT the time to pick the CHALLENGE pieces…

  3. If you can already tell that your students are not into the music, consider switching pieces NOW

  4. Do not scrimp on the warm up. This is the very first thing your judges will hear. It sets up their entire perception of you and your group


  2. Recordings of great groups

  3. Recordings of not as great groups

  4. Have your students create a “listen obsessively playlist” of stellar recordings of your pieces

  5. Record your own students FROM THE VERY BEGINNING…

  6. You will not believe how helpful this will be throughout the rehearsal period…

  7. Play parts of recordings back for students at the beginning of the next class and ask them to write down what they can improve upon and what they did well

  1. MANTRA!!!

  2. Create a mantra and say it every single day

I am successful, musical, and hard working TODAY. I don’t WISH for what I want, I WORK for what I want. I ENJOY the good stuff, I CRUSH the tough stuff, and I FULLY EMBRACE my Ultra Musical Self. I play with passion, I sing with accuracy, and I practice with fury. I am a team player who LISTENS, RESPONDS, and HOLDS my end of the bargain. I am the EMBODIMENT of Music and we are the great tellers of tales.

  1. SING

  2. SING SING SING SING – Students need to get melodies into their heads and one of the best ways to do this is to SING!!!

  3. Rap tricky rhythms

  4. Create lyrics to challenging sections. WRITE THEM DOWN and do them over and over again


  6. In your plan book, count out how many classes you have with each ensemble before your dress rehearsal and make a note of it on every single plan.

  7. It is so easy to think that you have three months until the big day until you realize you only have x amount of classes in those three months…

  8. Remember to plan ahead for snow days! Have your students take their instruments home EVERY SINGLE DAY!

  9. Take your own technology home and be prepared to send out tutorial videos if needed. You can check out my SUPER CHEESY youtube page to see some of the videos I have used in the past. They are NOT PERFECT but they were incredibly helpful for my students.

  10. I was always amazed at how many people were watching these videos and at the time of day they were watching them!

  1. STUDY the RUBRIC WITH your students!

  2. Students should be intimately familiar with what it is they are being graded on

  3. Have them listen to recordings of themselves and grade them (they are waaaaay harsher on themselves than you might expect…

  4. Bring in a guest judge ahead of time to get them in the right mindset. What a great way to get them prepared EARLY!

  1. NEVER LOSE SIGHT of the REAL purpose of a musical ensemble

  2. This may differ with every teacher, but I would imagine most of you teach music because

  3. It’s FUN

  4. You get to be part of this special, all-inclusive family

  5. Please please please do not let ANYONE sit out, even for Assessment….

  6. Even your beginners can go and WOW the judges!!!!

  7. You are ultimately a family, show that to the judges in how you present yourselves.

  8. The way you enter on stage (have a process and follow it… don’t look around like a lost puppy dog!)

  9. The way you support one another. This comes across in musical conversations, in responsive dynamics and in musical movement

  10. You LOVE music. Assessment is only a snapshot of musical performance in time…

  11. Your students will decide whether or not to continue in your class throughout the year. It is not all about the performance for most of your students. It is about the connections, the family, the love, and the sense of belonging they experience in your class. Bring them into the family and keep them there ❤

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