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Music Teacher Tip #47 - Start with the End in Mind

Music Teacher Tip #47:

When planning a lesson, start with the end in mind. What will students be able to DO if your lesson is successful?

Two of the things I always ask my college students who are student teaching are:

“What will your students be able to do?” and “How will you know be the end of class that they did it?” You must start with these bookends in order to plan a successful lesson.

A specific struggle that is common for new teachers is how to clearly state the goal/objective in observable terms. They also struggle to be specific enough. For example, “Students will work on their music for the concert” is a bad objective statement because “work on” is not an observable goal and “their music for the concert” sounds more like a goal for the semester than for one day.

A better objective statement would be way more specific and would deal only with the NEW learning to take place that day. For example, “By the end of rehearsal, all students will be able to accurately sing their respective parts - mm. 36-57 of Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

Your objective statement should never include information that students already know. Sometimes my college students will make the warmup have its own objective. That works as long as they are learning something new as a part of that warmup; otherwise, that activity should go in step one of a 6-point lesson plan (Focus and Review).

So how do you know if your objective has been met? How you measure students’ success depends on what the goal was in the first place. If the goal is that they will sing, then they must be assessed on their singing. If the goal is that they will accurately count and clap rhythms, then they must do that for you in order for you to know if they met your objective or not. To NOT assess students in some way is like telling them that the objective wasn’t really that important for them to learn. If it matters, follow through. Those bookends will make you a better teacher.

Happy teaching! ❤️🎶

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