More to Start, Fewer to Quit Issue 1

February 15, 2023

More to Start, Fewer to Quit Issue 1


This month's MSFQ tips come from Yamaha Master Educator and director of bands at Hill Country Middle School Cheryl Floyd.


If we’ve learned anything during this pandemic, it's the importance of managing our expectations. Teachers and students are getting sick with COVID, the flu, and all other types of respiratory illnesses. This year, many of the music directors I spend time with have thankfully chosen music that allows their students to be expressive rather than impressive. Instead of attempting to win the “most notes played at contest award”, directors are remembering how much their students have missed fundamentally and they're adjusting their expectations.

RECRUITING TIPS Remember those FlipGrid assignments your students made last year? It’s time to look through those and see which ones you can use for recruiting new students. Consider asking your students to make new videos that share their favorite things about music and being in your program. Here are some good starter questions:

  • Why did you select your instrument?
  • What's your favorite piece of music to play?
  • What do you like about your instrument?
  • What your favorite part about being in music?

Also, invite the directors in the schools your students feed into to visit and introduce themselves. Making these connections early will help students feel welcomed and a part of their new school community early on.

SUCCESS TIPS As the director, your own morale and happiness are an important part of your program's success. The past two years have been difficult in so many ways, and music education has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. It's okay to feel tired or overwhelmed or defeated at times. Give yourself a break. Focus on your own mental health. Consider finding a mentor or colleagues near you that you can lean on or that you can help support. We're all in this together.

Brian Balmages shared a great message recently: "You are not defined by the grade level music you play with your ensemble." It's so true and such a great reminder. Your students won't remember the grade level music you played, but they will remember the positive impact you had on them. Lastly, I read this message from a financial planner recently: One of the most stressful aspects of investing can be the emotional load we experience during volatile times. Research has shown that the most successful long-term investors remain patient during market swings. That feels incredibly true about our profession, doesn't it? If we swap a few words, it's a great reminder about the importance of patience as an educator: One of the most stressful aspects of teaching can be the emotional load we experience during volatile times. Research has shown that the most successful long-term educators remain patient during these uncertain times. You are doing a tremendous job — and your students are proof. :)

I'm wishing you and your students all the best this semester!

Cheryl Floyd
Hill Country Middle School Director of Bands, retired Yamaha Master Educator
Music Consultant Leander ISD Flute Instructor