MakeMusic recently had the opportunity to visit Wendy Higdon and Chris Grifa at Creekside Middle School located in Carmel, Indiana. We were honored to observe and take video in their classrooms only a week prior to their Midwest Clinic performance. They play on Friday at 8:30am in Ballroom W375AB. If you are attending Midwest, I highly recommend catching their performance. I have listed the 10 pieces they will perform at the bottom of this post.
Creekside is an amazing school for so many reasons, but one astounding reality in their program is that only 15% of their students take private lessons. Just imagine auditioning for Midwest when 85% of you students are not receiving individualized instruction outside of the classroom. It seems impossible. However, Wendy and Chris (on top of being world class educators) are avid SmartMusic users. SmartMusic has allowed communication and guidance to their students outside of the classroom that was missing with a lack of private lessons.
In the future we will release our interviews with both Chris and Wendy with classroom footage of the Creekside band program. This is valuable information for all educators, and should be considered a “best practice” for SmartMusic implementation and use. The vast majority of their students have SmartMusic at home and really enjoy using it. Their students talked about getting together with friends and playing SmartMusic for hours after school for fun! This is because both Chris and Wendy train the students to use SmartMusic as a practice tool at home and not just a testing tool at school. This creates a culture of high expectations and high achievement that is obvious while sitting in on their rehearsals. Make this performance a priority if you are at McCormick Place on Friday at 8:30 am, and keep an eye out for the videos that will be released on the blog in the future.
Creekside Middle School Repertoire:
Flourish for Wind Band, Ralph Vaughan Williams
As the Robin to the Meadow, Todd Stalter
Call of the Wild, Brian Balmages
Linden Lea, Ralph Vaughan Williams/Douglas E. Wagner
Second American Folk Rhapsody, Clare Grundman
Cyclone, Michael Oare
Royal Oak, Gene Milford
Of Gale Force Winds, Richard Saucedo
Imperial March, Karl L. King/James Swearingen
Last Full Measure, Michael Sweeney
See you at the Creekside performance!