Since I teach General Music I teach the gifted/talented right along side the general population student.
Here’s what I classify the talented/gifted student:
a student that has taken piano lessons and performed in recitals, they can play and doodle on the piano or other instrument. They love music and practice on a daily basis, either by parental intervention or by themselves.
Here’s how I classify the general population student:
this student might have taken private lesson on an instrument, but may not remember how to read music. They have no knowledge or commitment of how to practice or may never have taken an instrument outside the music class. They may or may not like music, or even listen to music outside class.
There is a constant challenge within my classroom in trying to keep the gifted/talented student engaged and the general population student in “having fun.” Here’s how I have perfected the experience.
First, acknowledge the gifted/talented student. They have worked hard on practicing their instrument and many have a passion to create. They are a different type of student and let them know that they are NOT going to do the same project or have the same rules concerning the project. Yes, I “track” the students in two separate projects/groups. To the gifted/talented student I say “keep working.” I do not stand over them and watch them work. I only interact with them when they ask me to. Once I get the gifted/talented student working, they usually over achieve their boundaries and allowed to move faster and farther. If they slow down, I immediate explain that they are different and should be doing more, much more than expected, or they will have to do the general education project.They quickly get to working.
With the general population student, I treat them completely different from the gifted/talented student. They need individual goals and assessments along the way. I monitor them more closely. I am always asking them if they need help or can I listen to their “creations.” Since I have been doing this, no students have asked why they cannot do what the gifted/talented student is doing. It is because it is more work and demands more time or they couldn’t begin to do the project. Plus, all of the students in my classes know they can “change up” the project and design a project themselves.
Students often ask me “how long or how many slides do I have to have?,” I quickly answer, “,,,as long as you need to finish for it to be excellent..” Excellence is the main thread, not how many minutes, slides, or measures long. Excellence in all work they produce. If you do not finish and you need more time, the magic wand comes out and “poof” you have more time for excellence.