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DEVELOPING STUDENT LEADERS This article first appeared in the Yamaha SupportEd magazine. It is reprinted here with permission of the author


By providing a leadership curriculum for your students, you will create a culture of excellence in your music program, make a difference in other people’s lives and enrich your own.


By Kevin Ford


When I first began my teaching career in 1994 at Tarpon Springs (Florida) High School, seven students attended rehearsal. The school had one performance ensemble, and the band room only opened for one period during the curriculum day. Since then, we have grown to nearly 300 students and have 10 separate performance ensembles.


Tarpon Springs won the Bands of America Grand Nationals marching band competition in 2014, the WGI Sport of the Arts color guard championships in 2016, the National Band Association Program of Excellence Blue Ribbon Award in 2016 and top honors for its Wind Ensemble in several national festivals.


The collaboration among our students, parents, administrators and teachers to collectively place an emphasis on leadership and a growth-based mindset directly shaped the progress of our program. An active and empowered student leadership council made the difference in the expansion of our organization and more importantly impacted the personal development of each of our students.


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In 2009 the Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts (TSLCA) became an offi cial magnet program for students throughout Pinellas County. Presently, every student at the TSLCA takes a yearlong leadership course, music theory and music composition/technology in addition to performance ensemble courses. Just recently, we added the leadership curriculum to Tarpon Springs Middle School, creating a continuous program from grades 6 to 12.


Our student leaders hold one another accountable for the way we prepare, practice and perform. Students lead, inspire, motivate and communicate with their peers. Our curriculum objectives on teaching life skills enable them to attain excellence in all aspects of their lives and positively impact the lives of the people around them


7 HABITS


We target our yearlong leadership curriculum to freshmen because it pushes them to think past just today and focuses them on what they would like to achieve in their lives over the next four years and beyond.


We teach the following student leadership habits, adapted from Sean Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.”


• Habit 1: Be Proactive – “Take responsibility for your life.”


• Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind – “Define your mission and your goals in life.”


• Habit 3: Put First Things First – “Prioritize, and do the most important things first.”


• Habit 4: Think Win-Win – “Have an everyone-can- win attitude.”


• Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – “Listen to people sincerely.”


• Habit 6: Synergize – “Work together to achieve more.”


• Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – “Renew yourself regularly.”


Through this course and intense self-refl ection, each student experiences a paradigm shift. For instance, rather than practicing their instruments because we ask them to do so, they practice because they become self-driven toward achievement. Each student enters every rehearsal with their own set of goals and leaves every rehearsal with a new set of goals.


LEADERSHIP WORKSHOPS


Leadership lessons don’t stop after one year. At Tarpon Springs, we require student leaders and potential candidates for our leadership council to attend six spring workshop sessions taught by band staff. We meet with them after school before they can run for a


October/November 2018


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