J – This video contains the Sight Reading segment from the Lower School Concert in December. The audience joined me in an exercise very similar to the one the 4-5ers partake in weekly.
WHY DO THIS?
1) TO TEACH THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSIC LITERACY! I truly believe some of the parents and teachers who come to our concerts aren’t aware of the nuts and bolts that take place behind the scenes. They don’t particularly get a true showcase of learning, but instead a short and sweet display of a few songs. BUT, our goals over the entire semester were not to learn the pieces and perform them in concert- they were a vehicle and the byproduct. Our goals were to develop a head-dominant singing voice, learn to develop skills in reading music (numbers, rhythms), developing a knowledge of basic notation (where do you look? what are all these weird symbols?), learn how to warm up the voice, and basic vocal technique. I wanted to figure out a way to SHOWCASE at least one of these elements… AND stress the IMPORTANCE of children developing these skills (not just performing a piece that makes them smile… both can be done)!!!
2) A NEW TEACHER IN A NEW COMMUNITY! I also thought this might let members of this new school community into my classroom. I have been throwing out a lot of new concepts- challenging students to have a more in-depth music experience.. I AM SURE THERE WERE PLENTY OF QUESTIONS. SO, Let me give one big answer. I was bringing in some changes, and let’s face it… I am sure some people were nervous to have such a young “Kid” teaching their kids!
1) For starters, the students were very proud to lead their parents in the exercise ( and they were a little excited to see how they did). Some were very happy in saying “My parent already reads music”- with which I respond with, “Well then this will be good practice!”
2) They were also very proud to show their parents what they learned!
3) The parents learned very quickly that I am ready to how their children accountable for learning the “ins and outs” of music!
4) They had fun! There were smiling and interacting with each other.
I got a lot of great feedback! PARENTS were excited to get a glimpse of things and some were even excited to learn a little bit about reading music. They were also very happy that their children were going to come out of chorus knowing A LOT about the process! STUDENTS said that they thought it was fun to sit in the audience and participate with their parents. COLLEAGUES were interested because they hadn’t seen it done before and they thought it was a neat idea. The ADMINISTRATION was happy that I was taking some risks and bringing the program to a different level.
HOW I FELT?
When planning for the concert- I knew it wasn’t a choice of whether or not I wanted to include it- it was just the how. I wasn’t particularly nervous (well until 5 minutes before when I realized they could choose not to sing or join in and THEN what do I do). Overall I just excited to watch it unfold and observe the reactions. It was a risk, but I believe it paid off.
Jarika, this is a wonderful way to demonstrate learning and involving parents in their child’s whole education. Your clip is a perfect model of advocacy for general music education. Please keep developing and sharing your ideas with the music education community and beyond. You are an inspiration to the future of our profession.
I really enjoyed this, I am working on assessments and it was to see the “of” learning. Terrific job.
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