Sunday, May 15, 2016

So I Had This Idea...

...and I can't wait to try it again!

If you'd like to see the whole story, check these links:
So I Have This Idea...(pt 1)
So I Have This Idea...(pt 2)
So I Have This Idea...(pt 3)
So I Have This Idea...(pt 4)
So I Have This Idea...(pt 5)

I learned so much through this process and I'm hoping my students did too (still waiting on their post-concert reflections to come in).  Here were some highlights as we wrapped our preparations up and performed this week:

  • It was neat watching our Nick, our student conductor, come into his own as he great more comfortable up front. My favorite day was when he started things off saying that there were some issues the day before that he wanted to fix. He took us through some problem areas and was very open to coaching from the noisy baritone player in back (AKA: Me).
  • I did finally cave and rehearse one small chunk of the piece to clean it up for performance. There was a spot in 3/2 that was really challenging the group and making it difficult to stay together. I went through it a few times and then had Nick take them through to make sure it was solid.
  • The performance went really well even though I messed up Nick's last name when announcing him and may have botched a partial or two while I was playing.
  • Seventh graders are already talking about teaching a piece and wanting to be student conductor next year!
This was definitely a fun experience, but there are things I want to do differently next time around:

  • Either start sooner or do this for a different concert (or maybe both!). State testing and state band festival made it hard to keep any real continuity to our rehearsals.
  • Choose music that they're less familiar with so that they have to actually teach/read/listen instead of just going by ear since they knew all the John Williams pieces in our medley.
  • Select our student conductor sooner so that they have more time to practice with the ensemble.
  • Start playing my instrument of choice earlier on so that I don't screw up all of the students' hard work!
  • Use a longer piece so that we can have smaller groups once it's broken up. As in many group projects once the groups got to be more than three students, the others didn't have much to do (or could sit back and let the other members carry the load). 
  • Find a way for students to be more reflective as we go through the process rather than just at the end. Maybe student blogs or have students share immediately after their group works on a part.
Thanks very much to those who have been following along and helping me brainstorm, think out loud, and giving feedback as we've gone through this! It's been a lot of fun!

We're on to Genius Hour in a week or so. If you'd like to follow our adventure, click here!

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