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One Day of Mission Accomplishment!

Last week, we had Orchestra Electrified and it was very exciting.  It was perhaps more exciting to me than to the students, but there you have it…. So, before I begin my story about last week, let’s review my goals for Orchestra Electrified:

1. Students will lead all rehearsals, sectionals, and performances.

2. Students will choose music, arrange music, and compose music.

3. Students will think critically about music in multiple aspects: historical context, composer intent, and musicians’ interpretation among others.

4. Students will gain confidence and knowledge through this experience.

Well, last week was just fantastic because all of these goals were met to some (perhaps teeny tiny) degree.

Number One, STUDENTS DID LEAD REHEARSALS, however, I found it rather difficult to let go…. We are working on a piece of music which is very challenging and while the students are truly doing the best they can, it did not seem to be good enough… As a critical pedagogue, how do I get around this?  This is a very important question and one that I am trying to solve.  I know that as an “expert” conductor, of course I am more effective on the podium when we are rehearsing a piece of music, but how do I let go?

Number Two, STUDENTS CHOSE THE MUSIC, and have already chosen music to arrange.  We have not yet gotten to the point where students are composing music, but I’m working on it.

Number Three, STUDENTS THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC in multiple aspects.  They considered mostly musicians’ interpretation however.  I must say, it was really neat to watch them discuss adding crescendos and decrescendos in different sections.  When a student had a suggestion, he/she always backed it up with a reason.  One example was a descending scalar pattern and one student said “I think we should decrescendo here, because musically, it calls for it.  The notes all go down and I think the sound should too.”  I was simply beaming while this child was speaking and rather enjoyed this thought!  I am going to continue to encourage this kind of thinking and to broaden the thought process.

Number Four, STUDENTS DID GAIN CONFIDENCE during this rehearsal.  Students were able to be more self-sufficient and were active in all decision making processes.  The conductors perhaps gained the most confidence through this.  Here are my conductors, who I will discuss more in my next post:

1. The Frog-Prince – obnoxious student turned wonderful

2. Bossy Pants – bossy girl working on kindness

3. Hello Kitty CRAZED – sweet and smart, but a bit flaky

4. Confident Coordinator – very capable and intelligent conductor

I am getting ready for Thanksgiving, but will write more over the break.  Stay tuned!

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