I have had all sorts of classroom management issues since I switched back to teaching middle school. Mostly they all boil down to me getting used to my new kids and them getting used to me. We all came in with expectations and ideas about each other that have collided and caused friction, but we’re working it out gradually. On good days I remember that I am the adult and my responsibility is to meet them where they are at.
One really tremendous thing about my kids is that most of them really do want to play their instruments. They don’t always have an easy time focusing during rehearsal, but they love to play! As a result one of them introduced me (and several of his classmates) to http://www.8notes.com/, which is a resource for free sheet music. I have plans to take many of my students to a solo and ensemble festival in the spring and I think this will be a good resource for them to find material. I was very encouraged that several of my students felt motivated to go to this website and print songs out (even if they do insist upon playing music from the site every single time they have even a second of downtime in rehearsal!)