Teaching Accuracy Through Silent Rehearsal

Grade Levels: 9 - 12

Students in grades 9-12 learn how their part fits into an ensemble by silently playing their instruments while another part of the class plays aloud.

Standard 2a

Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music: Students perform with expression and technical accuracy a large and varied repertoire of instrumental literature with a level of difficulty of 4, on a scale of 1 to 6.


Since much time in rehearsal is spent working with groups of instruments, the teacher asks all of one section to play while the remainder of the students follow along, silently bowing or practicing the fingerings for the notes in their parts. Alter listening to the "solo section," students comment on what they heard, how the sound could be improved, and what role (melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic) the section is playing at that time in the music. Through this process, the students learn to listen to other sections of the ensemble as well as their own, thus helping the group to improve its balance.

Individual students, as well as sections, may be asked to play a portion of a work while the other members of the ensemble listen and evaluate the performance according to criteria understood by all. The performances may be recorded and placed in the individuals' or sections' portfolios. This gives students a chance to receive counsel from their peers in the ensemble and to track their improvement over time.

The instructional activity is successful when:

  • The students play their parts with increasing accuracy in moderately difficult music.
  • The students explain how their part fits into the total ensemble.

Excerpted from Teaching Examples: Ideas for Music Educators.

NAfME logo

Provided in partnership with NAfME

Free 7-Day Trial for TeacherVision®

Sign up for a free trial and get access
to our huge library of teaching materials!

Start Trial


Celebrate the Festival of Lights in your classroom! Hanukkah begins at sundown December 6.

December Calendar of Events
December is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: World AIDS Day (12/1), International Volunteer Day (12/6), Hanukkah (begins at sundown 12/6), Handwashing Awareness Week (12/6-12), Computer Science Education Week (12/7-13), Human Rights Day (12/10), Winter Solstice (12/22), Christmas (12/25), Kwanzaa (begins 12/26), Visit the Zoo Day (12/27), and New Year's Eve (12/31). Plus, celebrate Bingo's Birthday Month, Universal Human Rights Month, and Write to a Friend Month all December long!

Hour of Code
Introduce your students to basic coding and computer science! Celebrate Computer Science Education Week from December 7-13, 2015 with our Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Kids, Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens, or the Hour of Code resources provided by Code.org®

Interested in using different types of media in your classroom? We have a growing collection of videos, with related activities, for holidays and events, including: slavery & the Civil War, American History, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, the American Revolution, and the environment. Enjoy!

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com (and now in print!), will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.