Friday, February 13, 2015

Who Am I?

My first assignment in my Secondary Methods Class at University of Bridgeport is to read peter Boonshaft's Teaching Music with Purpose (he has three similar books).  Students then write a blog post answering what their core values are.  Here was my assignment two years ago.

I got an assignment from my Superintendent to spend professional development time today on a project of my choosing.  I choose to reflect on my post from two years ago and reread the Boonshaft.

My core value list from 2013:
  • Be on time.  Be professional.
  • Honor the music.  Respect the composer.  
  • You must read the music.  It is the key to unlocking musical secrets.
  • Each student has a musical voice.  Sometimes they need to discover it.
I do not think any of these have changed.  I do believe if you asked my students what my core values are they would be able to make the same list.

One thing I might add is that I love projects, whether it is pioneering Palm computers, iPads and the Symphony, or restarting a Drama program.  I feel students love the NEW.

While re-reading Boonshaft I was reminded of two aspects of teaching:
  • You need access to high quality literature, instruments, and students.  I have some control of the first, little control over the second, and little control over the third.  
  • You need to spend a crazy amount of time on conducting practice, score study, and rehearsal planning.  I teach Band AND choir, AND three sections of American Government.  I have 45 minutes per day to do budget, fix instruments, make copies, grade papers.  I need to find time to improve rehearsals by doing the proper amount of study.
So how am I working on this?
  • Today, as an example, I am meeting with my Middle School colleague to review repertoire, develop strategies for sharing assessments and music, and review conducting basics.
  • I need to find ways to "farm out" tasks.  My administrative load is insane.  Between the field trip forms, $$ deposits, CMEA paperwork, iPad updates, etc... The more I organize, the better.
  • Teaching the class at UB forces me to reflect on my practice AND have students critique it.  
  • I read a lot.  Not nearly as much as I did before my stroke (its hard...).
  • I am pushing for grant funds to improve our instrument library.  We simply do not have enough instruments.  We are WAY ahead of where we were 5 years ago when I arrived, but we are a good $200,000 behind similar schools with quality programs.  We currently have no students in district playing oboe, bassoon, horn, tuba, or baritone sax.  
  • I am beginning to organize our library.  This, I believe, would take me 150 hours of work.  But I have to do it.  See above for the 45 minutes per day I get...
  • I conduct MUCH worse since my stroke.  I need to find someone to help me with this.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

P-Bone Mini

P-Bone Mini:
I have a p-Bone mini which is an alto trombone. It works pretty well.
1. I'd like to use it to play along with the band. But I have to learn how to play it. The positions for an alto are different than a tenor, so its basically learning a new instrument. Should I learn the positions by reading Alto Sax parts? Obviously if I was going to play orchestral music I'd learn the traditional way (alto clef, etc..) but thats not at all how I will use it.

2. What is the theory of letting kids learn on the mini (1st grade or so) and then having them convert to tenor. Same issues (different positions, etc...).

Friday, December 19, 2014

Winter 2014-15

Probable Winter Concert repertoire.

SHS Band

  1. Star Spangled Banner………………………………...………..arr Michael Sweeney
  2. Disco Lives………………………………………………………….…….arr. Johnnie Vinson
  3. A Closer Walk With Thee………………………..…...adapted by Michael Brown
  4. Ammerland……………………………………………………………………....Jacob de Haan
  5. All About the Blues…………………………………………………………...…….Peter Blair


SHS Choir:
 1.    Adoramus Te…………………….………….…...Palestrina, arr. Russell Robinson
 2.    Ave Maria……………………………..………….....Arcadelt, arr. Russell Robinson
 3.    Homeward Bound……………………………….....Marta Keen, arr. Jay Althouse
  1. One Note Samba………………………….……..A.C. Jobim, arr Roger Emerson
  2. Afternoon on a Hill.................................................Neil Ginsberg

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Annie Evaluation

Annie was a success

Yes36100%
No00%

I learned a lot about myself and others by doing Annie

Yes3289%
No411%

The best performance was

Thursday dress00%
Friday2672%
Saturday1028%

I now understand what it takes to put on a HS play.

Yes3597%
No13%

I think SHS should do a musical every year.

Yes3597%
No13%

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Backstory

We are doing Annie and I assigned everyone to write the backstory of their character.  Where were they born?  What makes them tick?  I hope to publish all of them on a bulletin board and put a few in the Playbill.

Kate came to the orphanage when she was four years old. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, had been higher middle class, and had died from the flu. Since Kate had no other family besides her baby sister, social services had no choice but to put Kate in Ms. Hannigan's home and her sister Carrie in a different home for younger children. Kate wants to be a journalist when she gets older, as well as be adopted and reunite with her sister. She also wants to live in the countryside.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Band

We have a few new additions to the SHS Band.  We added two flute players, a sax, trombone, percussion, and two clarinets.  We also have a beginner trumpet.


I was happy with our first day reading.  Now, we have a long way to go, but we READ the music.  We played the tune.