Before tomorrow’s band rehearsal, change your setup so it is reversed 180 degrees. That’s right, if your students were facing east, have them face to the west. You’ll have to move all the percussion instruments, stands, chairs and your podium, but I’m telling you it’s worth every bit of work! Many years ago, I suggested this at a teacher’s conference. A few days later I received an email from a band director that read, “During the conference I attended last week, you suggested reversing our band setup. So, Monday before school, I did it. Please tell me why I had the best rehearsal I’ve had in 15 years?” I wrote back: “I have no idea!” And that’s the truth. I don’t really know why it works so well, but it surely does. I think it sets up a new normal. With things so different, students seem to pay more attention, do less on autopilot, are better disciplined and become more engaged. The truth is, I really don’t know why it works so well, but I know it does. Then, after a while using that setup, change it again to a different setup. Change is good!

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”