Practice Running a Sectional - Error Detection Tool

It is important to recognize running a sectional is not always an intuitive skill. One such way to build this skill is with a mock sectional using an Error Detection Tool.

How it works

There are six copies of the score - one copy that has the music with no errors and five other copies that have miscellaneous errors (rhythm, notes, articulations, dynamics, etc). The student leader playing "section leader" looks off of the correct music, where the other student leaders play off the parts with errors.

Note: remind the student leaders acting as "students" to play exactly what is on the page until corrected.

Give the "section leader" 5-10 minutes to "rehearse" the music catching and correcting as many errors as they can.


Use the time in this mock sectional to discuss and build upon these concepts:

  1. How to start/stop the group.
  2. When should we stop?
  3. Rehearsal Techniques
    1. Chunking
    2. Add-a-note (chaining)
    3. Slowing it down
    4. Altering the rhythm
    5. Modeling
    6. Full-group vs pairs vs solo playing.
  4. Avoiding "guess what's in my mind" games.
  5. How to correct errors with kindness.
  6. (Bonus:) Pacing


Once you have done this once or twice there are other flavors of this type of exercise that you can use to practice addressing the particular challenges of a given section. Here are some ideas for how to extend this exercise:

  • Behavior Cards -- give a couple student leaders cards with certain behaviors on them they are to perform until they are addressed. (put instrument up only after the first note is played, look at phone as often as possible, try to talk to neighbor as much as possible)
  • No Errors -- give everyone the correct music. What do you do when everything is already "accurate"?

If this is helpful to you, excellent! If you have other ways, that is good too. What is important is to acknowledge that the actions we expect of student leaders is not always natural and needs to be (systematically) taught.


Example Tool


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