This workshop has been presented at the following:

  • International Music Education Summit 2020
  • World Choir Festival 2020

Designing Learner-Focused Music Rehearsals

Have you ever considered allowing students to make musical decisions during rehearsals? 

The Teacher-Led Rehearsal

This standard rehearsal form has been around since the beginning of formal public music education. Teachers teach their students how to perform a piece of music based on either a recording or the teacher’s own musical opinions.

While we are teaching our students how to play musically, we rarely consider the fact that they don’t have to be musical themselves in order to recreate the teacher’s vision.

The Learner-Focused Rehearsal

If we want to create life-long musicians, we need to help our students become musical by interpreting and performing music on their own. This is not the same strategy as “Student-Centered Rehearsals”, where teachers gradually step away until students are able to run all aspects of the program.

“Learner-Focused Rehearsals” aim to redirect our educational philosophies: are you the director of an ensemble or are you a music educator? These job descriptions have significantly different goals. 


  • Critical thinking
  • Open-ended questioning
  • Reflection
  • Goal setting
  • Students as “guest teachers”
  • Silent rehearsals
  • Writing prompts
  • Create-a-Quiz
  • Share your successes!