Conducting Student Evaluations

Student evaluations don’t need to be so nerve-wracking as they are most of the time. They have benefits for the students and teachers and should be used to their advantage. Evaluations can be done in two ways, formal and informal. Both are very useful to see how the student is doing and how the teacher is doing in regards to their teaching methods.

The formal way consists of concerts/recitals, tests they may have to go through AND MORE. The informal way consists more of everyday lessons, performing in an orchestra with other students, and evaluation of at home practice time.

 

Informal

Informal student evaluations are made up of at home practice time, everyday lessons, and performing in an orchestra (big or small) with other fellow students. This form of evaluation is more useful for the teacher rather than the student. It helps the teacher establish what teaching methods work and which ones don’t.

To start from the beginning, every lesson and at home practice time goes hand in hand with one another because they bounce off of each other. The practice assignments you assign are based on the lessons and the lessons are based on what the students practice at home.  The evaluation comes in when you start to think of what to work on in lessons and what to assign for practice time. If the student isn’t making any progress then as the teacher you need to evaluate what’s not working for the student and how your teaching. It can be something as small as the way things are being explained or simply that the pieces are just too hard for them.

The other way, as mentioned before, is through group orchestras. Just like in school, group projects are part of the curriculum and although they are a presentation of what the student has learned it’s more helpful for the teachers to understand what they’ve taught to the students. Although the students are being evaluated on the performance it’s more important for the teacher to evaluate how the student is playing and the relationship to their teaching. Some questions to think about when evaluating the orchestra is how is the tempo, beat, rhythm, and pitch. The student can play the song but be off on all of these and that reflects on the teacher more than the student, especially since the teacher is more knowledgeable and should have caught these mistakes before the performance.

This is the point where as the teacher you need to think about how you’re teaching each student and what works for them. Not all students learn the same way, and as the teacher, it’s important that is understood and adjusted to.

 

Formal

Formal evaluations are more focused on the student’s progress rather than the teacher. Some examples of a formal evaluation include performing at concerts or recitals and exams. Formal evaluations are geared more towards the students and how much progress there’s been over a time period.

It’s part of a musicians life to perform in concerts or recitals, and there are many parts that go into these performances. One of those parts is essentially an evaluation. With concerts and recitals, the musician is being evaluated by not just their teacher but the audience, family, friends, critics, and even other musicians. Because there’s a lot of pressure the musician should be prepared to the point of perfection. The second the piece is finished is when part 1 of the evaluation comes. Will there be a standing ovation or just clapping. The second part of the evaluation comes from the more important people, so the teacher, friends & family, and critics. In general concerts and recitals can make or break a musician. So playing with their heart and soul on their sleeves is absolutely suggested.

In addition to concerts and recitals are the occasional exams that are conducting in front of the teacher and other teachers. This type of evaluation, like concerts, is to show how well the student knows the piece and how to perform it under pressure. Although exams can be used to show how well the teacher is instructing it’s an opportunity to see how far the student has come.

 

Wrap it Up

Although student evaluations aren’t always so fun and exciting to conduct they are required for the teachers and students. It’s a better understanding of the teacher’s instructing methods and if anything should be changed and also see how much the student knows and how well they know it. It’s best to make the most out of conducting student evaluations for both the students and teachers.