Motivation comes before all else. Before we are a teacher, we are a motivator. We can only successfully teach students when they are motivated to learn.
In any choral program, we must have specific expectations for our singers; whatever they are, it is our responsibility to hold them accountable.
If we teach in an academic setting, our grading system is one means to hold students accountable, but that isn’t where accountability begins. It begins with setting clear and specific expectations that all students can follow. In a classroom environment, we must have guidelines that are clear and specific, and have a proper way to ensure students follow these. When it comes to routines, we must have a clear way that class starts, ends, distributing music, etc.
When it comes to grades, it’s more than being clear; it’s being on top of our students. When something is expected or due, we must know who has or has not completed the assignment. The more aware we are of what students are and are not doing, the quicker we can encourage them to be on top of their assignments.
When students understand what is expected of them, it is easy for them to become self-motivated. Since our goal is self-motivation, we need to teach our students how to hold themselves accountable. This compares first from self-awareness. Students should be aware of every expectation (this comes from accountability). All of the things we expect of our students are things they can expect of themselves. Here are some examples:
They can self-assess their rehearsal participation
individual and collective performance