This time of year, can be very difficult in the band room. The Spring Concert was a success but there are still a few weeks before the next performance.
…and it’s graduation.
… and there are only so many times you can rehearse Pomp and Circumstance.
The goal is to keep the students engaged through the end of the school. Not only will this provide better classroom management, but it will be respected by the administration as they make their rounds in the last few weeks of the school year. Your principal will be excited to see students actively engage until the last day of school!
Here are Five tips to keep students engaged over the last few weeks of school!
1. Sight Reading
This time of year, is the perfect time to work one of the most the essential skills in music. Take time to pass out some new music. Go through your sight-reading routine. And talk about the habits of a successful sight-reading experience. Pull out some of the music you are thinking about performing next year.
Ryan Addair has an excellent resource for teaching intonation, Tuning for the Modern Wind Ensemble. He presents a simple to read explanation of tuning in band and then provides 3 contemporary chorales (print as many copies as you need for your band!) to put into practice the concepts of intonation. Each part has visual aids to help the student play better in tune.
3. Explore the “Other Side” of the Cycle of Fourths
With the major concerts out of the way, try introducing some of the keys the students don’t see regularly in Concert Band literature. Exploring these “unfamiliar” keys will help to reinforce students' understanding on tonality and will develop the skills they need for successful district and state auditions.
4. Work on Marching Band Music
This is a great way to get kids excited about the fall music. For those band directors with volunteer marching bands, this is a great way to recruit those kids who may be on the fence. Remember enthusiasm is contagious. When those kids see your die hard marching band geeks shout an excited “YES!” when you pass out marching band music, they are going to be excited too!
Invite a local Jazz Musician to come talk about jazz improvisation and playing over chord progressions. You’d be surprised at their willingness to come in and work with your students. Many will even do it free of charge because they know there are potential students looking for private lessons. Get the kids involved by using play-along recordings.
WindConductor.com wishes all of you the very best as the current school year comes to a close.