New “Practice Sheets” Change Things Up in JMS Band

Editor’s Note:  Students in Mr. Key’s Language Arts class recently completed a newspaper story assignment in which they covered a story concerning life at Jefferson MS.  Today’s story is another in a series that we will reprint here.    Enjoy!

By: Ruby A.

Big changes have come to the Jefferson Band and Orchestra this school year.  Last year, our beloved Band director Bryon H. retired. Our new band director is a man by the name of Taron Kouri.  Mr. Kouri brought with him something the Jefferson music program has not seen in many years, practice sheets! Not only this, but JMS Orchestra teacher  Suzanne Shelton is doing the same, having never done so before.   This reporter took a look into the reasons why this new practice has started.

In an interview with Ms. Shelton she told this reporter that when she first started teaching she did not use practice sheets per se, but had a similar system. The parents were asked to sign off in their student agendas that the students had practiced. Ms. Shelton found that the student would just end up forging their parent signature.  Hence, Ms. Shelton gave up that idea and instead went for quizzes. The only problem with quizzes is that they take time.

After two attempts to make the Jefferson Orchestra practice, Mr. Kouri came and started teaching the Jefferson Band. He brought with him his practice sheets, the format of which Ms. Shelton likes.  She says, “Yes practice sheets are part of a student’s grades, but I am more interested in the student getting better. If that means five hours a night, okay. If they are like Ivan A. (one of her former students) who can sight read anything, then they don’t need to practice as much.”

Mr. Kouri has a different approach. He has told his students that he expects them to practice 150 minutes every week!  It may not seem like much, but, with all the other homework students get from five other classes, some students feel it is just too much. In an interview with Band students Kristen K. and Deborah G. one said “It is just too much homework, especially if you have an after school activity.”  Both students believe that these sheets will help the Band improve, but that 100 minutes of practice is sufficient.

For the first time in many years, Jefferson’s music program will have a practice sheet methodology, just as many other schools do.  Some people think that it will help the JMS Band and Orchestra get better, while others believe that it will just become a big nuisance. Only time will tell.

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