If you follow this blog, you may remember that I had previously written about a weak Winter Concert, and several steps I’ve been taking to address our biggest problem areas. Well, I’m happy to report that we’ve had a successful Spring Concert.
Okay, if you’re like me, you need a measureable means of defining success. Here’s my criteria:
– We didn’t fall apart. I didn’t have to stop and restart any music. No train wrecks.
– Rhythm/pulse improved considerably.
– Balance improved considerably.
– With two pieces, the audience started applauding before I cut off the last fermata. (Hmmm. Were they just happy it was over?)
– I didn’t feel the need to avoid eye contact with teachers in the lunch room.
Of course I’m just being lighthearted here, but I really was pleased with the performance.
I attribute our success to the following:
– I identified the most problematic players. These are awesome kids who play their instruments well individually. But they simply needed to learn to listen and fit in with the rest of the ensemble in terms of balance and rhythm.
– I moved those students to the back of the stage, in front of the drums but behind the trumpets. It goes against traditional seating charts, but it gave them a strong sense of pulse, and helped with balance.
– I introduced the music to the students earlier in the year than usual.
– I prioritized run-throughs in rehearsals, even as we first started learning the music.
Thanks for reading this. I hope your spring performances go well also!