Cooperative learning is “a practice that empowers students to interact with one another to realize a common goal.” In his blog post yesterday, Anand Sukumaran explained that this definition seems to automatically apply to a music ensemble. After all, performing well at the concert is a common goal, and musicians in an ensemble certainly interact.
Sight reading advanced literature with your ensemble can help prepare you for contest. It’s also a great way test drive repertoire for next semester’s concert. However, making this sight reading part of a lesson plan helps you connect sight reading to standards. This offers an opportunity to work with students on musical literacy and individual accountability rather than just providing a “reading day.”
It’s easy to become wrapped up in notes and rhythms: the best ensembles also demonstrate great phrasing and dynamics when sight reading.
Great ensembles sight read regularly. Sight reading helps students improve their musical literacy and connects notation to performance. Obviously, spending time on this valuable skill pays off when your ensemble goes to a sight reading contest. It also pays dividends every day, and especially in your concert preparation. The more effectively students are able to process musical material, the more efficiently you’ll be able to improve.
There are all sorts of reasons to try out a new pedagogical model, teaching philosophy, or lesson planning technique this school year. Maybe you heard about something that was working really well for other educators. Maybe your district or school administration encouraged you to give something a shot. Or perhaps you experienced a life-changing presentation at professional development.
Flipping the classroom can sound daunting. Providing extra content to students – and then not having that content to present in class – can feel like a lot of extra work for even the most experienced educator. Whether you’re new to the flipped classroom model or a savvy veteran, you’ll need a lesson plan that incorporates the principles of a flipped classroom in a way that enhances student learning.
In the past ten years, flipping the classroom has taken the education world by storm. Music teachers, however, often feel left behind this wave of changes. As music educators know, the ensemble classroom is wildly different than other subjects. The combination of technical skills and artistic skills makes it hard to simply turn a lecture into a video.
It’s back-to-school time. To help, we’ve got some new large ensemble titles. This month we’ve added two titles for choir, five for concert band, three for string orchestra, and four for jazz ensemble (including Gordon Goodwin’s killer arrangement of Herbie Hancock’ Watermelon Man). View the complete list of new ensemble pieces.
How do you help your students prepare for an important audition? Have you tried making etudes the focus of an entire lesson plan?
Of course, etudes have all sorts of applications to your concert repertoire. Helping students learn phrasing, lyricism, and technique will pay dividends come concert time, and might help your students secure that coveted honor band position as well.
Incorporating instrumental technique into your lesson plans doesn’t have to be dry and boring. In a previous blog post, we outlined ways that you can make teaching technique more accessible and fun for your students. Some of those approaches – like setting aside time every day – are straightforward to implement.
This month the spotlight is on Paul Baker’s funky jazz ensemble piece Arnge Drank (which is, of course, in SmartMusic). Rather than tell you how fun this grade 3 chart is, take a quick listen to this video of the All-American College Band playing it (with added tuba and French horns):
To help us provide performance suggestions for the piece, we went right to the source, Paul Baker, composer of Arnge Drank and owner of Baker’s Jazz And More Music Publishing.