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S.T.U.B.B.I.E.: Foundational Principles and Tenets


Prior to initiating the use of S.T.U.B.B.I.E. Warm-ups for Band it is essential that the director understand and embrace the principles and tenets that follow. As with each aspect of the Cognitive Conductor method, these notions represent a commitment to ground the actions and ideas in strongly researched-based theory. Further, the intent is to not only assist the student in acquiring the skills and concepts needed for successful performance, but to also help them to understand that it is equally as important to create cognitive and creative conflict while they perform the exercises. In doing so we not only “feed them the fish, but teach them how to catch it.”


Musicians must reach a level of automaticity with all fundamentals required to create and match sound and intent to create emotional response to the music. Thus, repetition is required. However, this repetition must engage proper technique and skill. It is essential to the success of all teaching and learning of music that any repetition of bad technique or allowing students to perform without a clear understanding of the intent must not occur. Once a teacher grasps the theory and psychology grounding these principles and tenets that support the warm-ups, s/he can infuse them into their teaching strategies and lesson planning. As a teacher brings their own understandings to the level of automaticity, they will be able to better assist students in transferring and valuing the warm-ups. This will lead to higher levels of independence and performance in a musical context.

Creating the Culture

Trust is Essential

It is vital that everyone in the room believes that everyone else in the room “has their back”, both inside and outside of the room. Without this fundamental understanding, it is difficult to be creative. If trust is not established, the dominant personality (“cool” kid or kids in the room) will often determine what is acceptable to try and what is not. Therefore, building a sense of trust and support between and among students, and between students and the teacher is essential—trust is a two-way street. Teachers must gain the trust of all students and in-turn, the teacher must trust the students. Congruently, all students in the room must trust every other student in the room. They must never have to worry about not fitting in or being ridiculed for making mistakes or even for caring too much. It is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure feelings of safety and belonging are present in the room. Once this culture is created in the music room, students must be encouraged to transfer it outside of the room. This then becomes the true measure of whether everyone has

each other’s backs.   


Extrinsic to Intrinsic

As humans, we all have various degrees of motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic. To get students to work outside of the classroom they must be somewhat intrinsically motivated. In other words, they must value getting better at doing the things required to perform the music well and be willing to do some work on their own. One aspect of this is to create an environment of trust in the room (as discussed above), but additionally, the teacher must also set an expectation for students to solve many of their own problems on their own time. One way to inspire students to move toward intrinsic motivation is to avoid “chasing” notes and rhythms during class time. If students know that the teacher will always drill the music and fix their problems, they will not be motivated to practice and prepare the music outside of class. 

Psychological Awareness Applied to Pedagogy
(Lonis & Haley 2017)
  • “Musicians are often pleased, but seldom satisfied.” Sharing this very simple statement allows you to constantly raise the bar without students asking themselves questions such as Why is it never good enough? or thinking, I am obviously not doing well if all my teacher ever says is that I am not good enough. Stay positive!

  • “Music best starts and ends from silence.” Sharing this obvious, but often overlooked, notion with students creates a quieter learning environment when there is a need to share information. It also induces students to focus prior to and following playing or singing.

  • Build a culture of trust by building a sense that “everyone in the room has my back, both inside and outside of the room.”

  • Build habits not just routines. A routine is something we do without thinking and is useful. What we want is to build habits that are based on good pedagogy, understanding, engagement, value, and transfer.

  • The nature of a rehearsal leads us to spend most of our time pointing out failure and how to address it. Turn this into automatizing success—use the “three levels of music learning—if you do it once, it is luck; twice is coincidence; a third time is the money.”

  • Differentiated Learning Styles: consider the different ways students learn (Gardner 1999; Lonis & Haley 2017)

    • Global or “Big Picture”—learn by seeing the scenario as a whole

    • Linear—learn through logic or by sequencing

    • Visual—learn by sight

    • Aural—learn by ear

    • Tactile—learn by touch

    • Kinesthetic—learn through movement

    • Intrapersonal—learn by internalizing on a more private basis

    • Interpersonal—learn by externalizing on a more group-sharing basis

Combining the Tenets
Employ All Three Domains: Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor—Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom 1971, 1976, 1984)
  • Isolate the skills in smaller units

  • Emphasize larger units comprised of isolated details already introduced 

  • Avoid moving beyond the skill or skill set until a basic mastery is achieved

  • Use formative and summative assessment to ensure mastery

  • Degree of Learning = ___ _Time Allowed and Perseverance______                      Aptitude and Quality of Instruction and Ability to Understand

  • All children can learn if they are inspired (Bloom 1971,1976,1984)

  • Develop mastered skills or processes to the point of them being accomplished without thinking

  • Consider the three phases of preparing a student for success (Bloom 1971,1976,1984; Lonis & Haley 2017)

         1. inspiration phase

         2. drilling the skill phase

         3. creating new practice from previous knowledge and skill phase 

Other Psychological Considerations (Lonis & Haley 2017)   

  • Hold students accountable for knowing what is expected of them

  • Use the “bizarreness” effect when teaching a new concept or skill. People tend to remember things that are strange. Even by saying a word differently than expected can enhance the memory of the word or the concept to which it is attached

  • Promote interaction over reaction

  • Promote valuing above all else

  • Create formative and summative assessment approaches that create value and transfer of the new skill or concept                                                            

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