My Winter Concerts reached new highs and sunk to new lows this year. First, the high points:
For the first time, my advanced groups played at our local zoo’s Holiday Lights event. (Click here or here for info.) It is rare in my district for elementary school music groups to venture off campus, so this was a bit unusual. It was a treat for me to bring together my best students from my three schools and form an ad-hoc honor band of sorts. The students really enjoyed the event, and you could tell how proud the parents were of their students. Everyone is enthusiastic about doing it again next year.
Unfortunately, just a couple nights later one of my schools had what was probably the weakest concerts I’ve conducted in recent history. The beginners weren’t necessarily much worse than normal, but my advanced groups definitely performed below my hopes. We have been learning the same music as my other schools, so it’s not as through I made unreasonable music selections. And many of the students in the advanced ensembles are in the gifted program, so it’s not as though they’re incapable of playing those selections.
This situation is forcing me to reevaluate much of the way I approach teaching at this school. I’m going to have to take a deeper look at just about every aspect of teaching here, from classroom management to rhythm and technical studies, rehearsal techniques, and motivation. I’m likely blog more about this as the weeks go on.