One of my major goals this year has been teaching kids to be musically independant. In other words, if I've done my job, they don't need me, ultimately. My initial evaluation: Overall, I think it's successful, but as with anything new, it has had it's tribulations and drawbacks. Among them: in an attempt to increase personal accountability and responsibility, I have not called teachers when kids "forget" a lesson. I give them a lesson schedule, post it on the door, post it on the whiteboard and put it on the announcements. Their grade does take a hit if they miss and don't let me know or don't make it up. But this has caused some misses due to some kids just being overly busy and not realizing. Another: no band music in lessons, unless I'm asked a specific question about something they just can't get or help on a tough spot. BUT, I've seen a decline in the level of difficulty in the music I can select. That's ok, because I still am very picky about what we play (no Superhits of the 60's or Bugs Bunny Digs Rossini, please). Sometimes, I feel like I'm just observing. Sometimes, I feel myself singing parts for them, or slipping back to old habits. Sometimes because they're comfortable, sometimes because I'm not paying attention to what I'm doing, sometimes because I just do. Good things: I have some small groups of kids who want to put on a chamber type concert at the end of the year. I hear very mature questions being asked by some very young kids. Kids are making critical judgements about the music we play and how we sound playing it. "Trumpets rock our world" is written on my board by a 6th grader. In permanent ink. (It washes off...no worries). We just launched a recording project, where kids are going to submit recordings of themselves performing various things (scales/rudiments, solo of choice from a predetermined list). I hear scales, I hear kids working in practice rooms. I have kids asking if they can do 3rds and arpeggios too! (I am going to be busy listening to all of them in a few weeks... arrgh.). If you've made it this far, thanks for reading, and: What are some things you have tried this year, or that your directors have tried? Are they working? How are they going?