Concert Season! Abandon ship!
Once you hit concert season, it seems that all that very specific lesson planning you do with a great prepare/present/practice sequence gets thrown overboard on your ship of lesson plans (sorry for the corny analogy – stay with me!).
It does NOT need to be this way.
My kids perform quite a bit throughout the year in addition to our one big performance in the spring, but I don’t like abandoning my curriculum to help them learn the music. Not to say I haven’t done it. But as our musical season approaches, I’m less apt to want to do this with every passing year. So how can you work through an all school musical and still keep on your sequence? Use the music they are working on for their performance!
Let’s work through this together.
Your 3rd graders are preparing Low Sol. As you work through the concert material, find the spots in the songs you are singing and isolate it. As Kodaly teachers, we often use isolated phrases within songs already, you are simply using different material. (Yes – I realize it isn’t folk songs, but if they are gonna do it anyway….) When you are practicing with the students, isolate them as you would any other song. Put up icon notation, show it on the lines and spaces. Do what you normally do.
Isolate, Isolate, Isolate
I keep my musical a BIG secret until I announce it, so I can’t talk about it yet in case a student sees this post, but let’s take a peek at these three measures from a “Homeward Bound” by Marta Keen that my middle school choir is singing.
This short example shows how you can isolate Tim-ka, or Low Sol. If we used the entire phrase, there is also an example of Ti in both octaves as well. This is great material for middle schoolers to isolate. It has a nice long, singable phrase with the entire range from High Do to Low Sol with the exception of Fa. Showing the kids the music first negates using it in the preparation process, but refrain from giving the kids the music right away. If you teach the isolated phrase by rote, and use icon notation before you give them the music, you can use it as part of the preparation process for rhythmic or melodic content.
So use concert material instead of giving up time to prepare for performances. When you have limited time with your students, abandoning all your plans to prep kids for performances seems counterintuitive. Instead, make your concert material work for you!
Who else has tried the with their students? I’d love to hear about it!