Top Ten Reasons to Participate in Student Evaluation Programs

Last weekend, our local association sponsored our annual Music Progressions evaluations. Students are evaluated in performance, keyboard facility, applied theory, rhythm and pulse, sight-reading, written theory, and listening. We call them student evaluations, but in reality we all know that it’s an evaluation for us as teachers, right? Hence, I was inspired to compile this [facetious] list of the Top Ten Reasons to Participate in Student Evaluation Programs:

1. You don’t have enough stress in your life, so you relish the thought of frantically trying to prepare your students for a whole series of tests in all areas of musicianship.

2. You enjoy seeing the glassy-eyed look of your students when you use strange foreign terminology like “tempo” and “dynamics” that your student has obviously never heard in his life.

3. You want your students to realize that as good as they may feel about themselves and their musical abilities, there is always room for criticism and lower-than-average scores.

4. You feel it’s important for students to be subjected to performance on a wide variety of pianos, including ones that are out of tune, missing keys, lacking pedals, or produce a ringing sound throughout the duration of the performance.

5. You love being scrutinized by your colleagues and forever thereafter wondering if they’ll think of you as the teacher whose student forgot all his scales.

6. You enjoy the mental stimulation of trying to keep track of all of the requirements for each of the ten levels so that you can [theoretically] be preparing your students for their evaluations throughout the year.

7. You delight in the spontaneity that ensues when you realize you have forgotten some of the afore-mentioned requirements and must quickly teach your student all the varieties of 7th chords so that she can properly play them, identify them in questions, and write them on her theory test.

8. You like experiencing the adrenaline surge that comes from standing with your ear to the door of the room in which your student is performing and hearing her take the andante-labeled piece at 200.

9.You appreciate the opportunity to expand your vocabulary while looking for creative ways to convey the scores to each student while simultaneously encouraging them to continue in their music studies.

10. You think it’s healthy to contemplate a career change and submit your resume to different companies on an annual basis – just in case you missed your calling after all.

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