I always love a good challenge, and the one that was posed to me was, “How can you use data to coach me in music class?” – Challenge accepted!  I had a great conversation with a music teacher to see what they might be curious about and it seemed that the amount of rehearsal time was intriguing.

We chose to follow an Impact Cycle approach at the start because there were so many unkowns: what is optimal?  Are there different times of year where it is more/less?  What are those times?  How about middle school vs high school vs beginners?  We decided we would spend most of our time in the “Learn” phase for this project.

Together we did some research – which was oddly hard to do!  Was there an ideal already out there?  What does it look like in Middle School vs High School?  It actually wasn’t until halfway through our data collection that we found this model from the Music Educators Journal:

Rehearsal Time

It wasn’t clear if this was for a High School or Middle School course, or at what level – but it gave a target to be around half or more of class dedicated to rehearsal time.  Now to collect data…


We created a simple Microsoft Form that asked “Which Class…” and amount of play time. We also had to determine what would be counted as playtime (did it need to be full ensemble? Could it be tapping out rhythms?). And finally, we made some predictions.

Finally, I did some simple formulas to track individual classes and playtime over the observations.

Working this way, we discovered that certain classes play less, that over time all classes play more – and it inspired the teacher to look for opportunities to more frequently hit that %50 percent mark.

What’s great now, is that we could move into a more data-driven approach with our baseline data. The teacher could target an instructional strategy, we could measure again, and reflect on the results.

I’m looking forward to it.