By establishing an opening routine, you will save valuable time and achieve important ensemble focus. It will take practice, but students of any level can make this happen. It can even become a game, especially for younger groups, to see how quickly they can become completely silent. By starting your rehearsal this way, you will notice an increase in productive rehearsal time…
Good tips for effective ensemble rehearsals. I will be starting my 3-5th grade choir this Thursday and want to be 100 PERCENT PREPARED AND EXCITED! So I’m using some of these exercises (which aren’t necessarily specific to band!) that will ensure students are focusing on ME, the conductor, and nothing/no one else.
Crossing my fingers this goes over well!
- Give them something to listen for in the piece
- Ask them to sing it back
- Timbre recognition, form, pitch direction, rhythm discrimination, expressivity, or texture
- Prepare them for it
- Ask questions about the piece
- Extend upon the listening
- Make it apply to other topics
- Use listening maps
- Age appropriate
- Level appropriate
- Get the students involved in an activity of some sort
- If they can chant it, they can play it
- If they can tap or pat it on their bodies, they can play it
- Use fingers first, then sticks of mallets, then balls of mallets
- Be as non-verbal as possible
- “Don’t touch the instruments until I say so”
- “You get what you get, so don’t pitch a fit.”
- If you can chant it, you can dance it
- Reinforce/teach musical concepts
- Can teach rhythm, form, on-beat, off-beat, etc etc
- Age appropriate
- Level appropriate
- Give them something to listen for
- Move without touching anyone
- Listen before moving
- Think before moving
- Use easier, well known models, “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
- Should be personal to each student
- Listen, respond, chant/pat, chant and step, step internalize
- Choreography can be used
Critics often question the need for music education in the public school curriculum. They cast doubts on the value added by an arts program. There are many benefits of music education in regards to the other core subjects, but the most important facet of the performing arts is the development of…
“Singing Valentines” is positively the best fundraiser I could imagine. Here’s a picture of the whiteboard showing all of the groups, all of the class periods, and all of the classrooms we had to deliver performances.
Some great things about it…
- It’s educational. Students write and perform their own a cappella arrangements of pop songs. Each group (17 this year, each 3-8 students) of students is 90% self-directed. I only stepped in at the end to give a few suggestions and/or the final OK.
- It’s a matter of pride. I could never dream of so many students being this excited about their triple trio at Solo & Ensemble (Frankly, I don’t blame them). Students are already talking about what song they’re going to arrange in the first week of school.
- It’s great PR for the choir department. We’re lucky to have it part of our school culture … the culmination of our Midwinter Spirit Week, always the Friday closest to Valentine’s Day. About 80% of the faculty allow us to interrupt their classes to sing. About 30% love them and don’t even plan any other lessons for the day! For our school, it happens right before students start selecting schedules, and I get several students asking me about choir auditions every year because they want to be part of Singing Valentines.
- It’s the only fundraiser we ever need. We broke the record of valentines sold/delivered this year again … all among students, staff, and family. The overhead is small.
Some things that allow us to do it…
- It’s an 18-year tradition at my school, woven into the fabric of our culture, accepted by almost all of the teachers.
- Incredibly supportive administration. Principals love it, and secretaries even help out with the scheduling.
- I teach a lot of “harmonizing by ear” in my choirs. The freshman’s first concert always includes a song to which they’ve figured out harmonies in class. We spend a couple days talking about various pop harmony methods every year, and it really does wonders for students’ confidence in composing/arranging/improvising
- Two INSANE weeks auditioning, organizing teachers’ schedules, scheduling students to perform, and constant problem solving (This teacher only wants them delivered 1st hour; the next teacher can do hours 2-4, but only for the first 15 minutes; etc.)
So Happy Valentine’s Day to all the music teachers out there. If you’re absolutely done with cheese log/chocolate/pizza sales, car washes, and sing-a-thons, give Singing Valentines a try!
I’ve got a phone interview tomorrow for a general elementary teaching job. I hate hate hate talking on the phone, especially for interviews, because of how much information I get from people based on body language. Anyone have any advice for interviewing for a teaching job or for conducting a brilliant phone interview?
For Reading & Teaching Music in an Elementary Classroom, we have to do a section on movement. Movement can be anything from hand gestures to dancing. On Friday, we have to present group projects of things we would teach the students. My group was given 5th grade, which means more structured…
I have been doing work with the national anthem this week… Showed this to my fifth graders today as a sort of “how NOT to do it.” Bright rawwwrrrs? Hilarious.
It actually started a great dialogue about how the anthem should be performed. Many of my students saw the humor in the sketch, but they also admitted that they’d seen someone do (in real life) some of the quirky things shown here. In general, the students agreed that the song is better when it’s done plainly, with confidence, and with the right words. Also, one needs to be brave when performing it. “B to the R to the A to the V to the E.”
Hey so I have a favor to ask…
So I have played acoustic guitar in my high school worship band for 2 years, since then I’ve played a bit but I’m sad to say my guitar has gotten dusty since I’ve started college (music college ironically…)
In 2 weeks, I am will be part of a program that gives music…