Friday, April 8, 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Rubrics

I think it is Gordon who talks about two types of grades:

Two types of grades: idiographic (S's work relative to his/her own potential, i.e. music aptitudes); and normative (S's work relative to his/her peers).

Is it more likely to use rubrics with one and not the other?  Which type is harder to "justify"?

In my experience it is very rare where a student is inspired by improving their grade or rubric score.  It is almost always compliance (I improve my grade because I am supposed to).  I STRUGGLE with this.  I almost never know what it means if someone says "I got an A in ___________".  Does this mean they remembered their instrument every day?  They can think creatively? Knows all their major scales?

I also think you can provide clear expectations with out using a rubric.

I also almost always allow students to choose/defend their grades.  If a student has a C and wants an A we can discuss it.  If the student makes a great case--its an A.  Some people think thats crazy because of the tyranny of the gradebook.

I do like using rubrics for data type events or performances (sight-reading for example).   Activities where entries like "2-3 Note Errors" make sense.

Is it also possible rubrics might work pretty well in elementary classes where tasks/standards are smaller?  Perhaps.  Is it possible in high performing or creative classes rubrics might be less used? Certainly.

It is so very important we figure this out and we are consistent.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Family Choir

As part of a district initiative to increase parent involvement in schools I started the Seymour High School Family Choir.  In November I sent letters and emails to all parents and faculty inviting them to join us at our concert next week.

My plan was as follows:
1. My goal was to include as many adults as possible.
2. I want them to full members of the choir: dress in black and white, sit with group, warm-up with us.
3. I wanted to encourage singing.  We don't sing much anymore.

This is what happened (so far):
1. I had 15 parents/grandparents and 3 faculty members attend the rehearsal last night.
2. We decided to sing O Sifuni Mungu.  This was slightly challenging because of the language, but we got it done.
3. There were lots of smiles.

I am looking forward to our concert and growing our community with these new members.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Winter Concert

Seymour High School 2015-16 Winter Concert


 SHS Chorale
  1. Star Spangled Banner………………………………...…………………..….F. Scott Key
  2. Best Days of My Life…………………………………………..….…….arr. Deke Sharon
  3. Wake Me Up……………………………………………………………..….arr. Deke Sharon
  4. Parting Glass……………………………………..………………..…...arr. Wailin’ Jennys
  5. Silver Buckle on Mozart’s Shoe………………………………….….Kristina Boerger

SHS Soloists
1.   Nina………………………………………………...…………………..…….……………….Pergolesi
2.   Danza, Danza, faniciulla gentile……………………………………………..…… Durante
3.   Bist Du Bei Mir……………………………………………………………………..……....JS Bach
4.   Wanting Memories……………………………………………………….…...Ysaye Barnwell

SHS Choir:
 1.    Shine On Me…………………………………….…….…….…….…...arr. Rollo Dillworth
 2.    A New Day…………………………………………………......………….....Audrey Snyder
 3.    Taylor the Latte Boy………………….…...Heisler and Goldrich, arr. Mac Huff

  1. Dirait-on……………………..…….…………………………………...…..Morten Lauridsen
  2. Al Shlosha…………………………………………………………………………....Allan Naplan
  3. O Sifuni Mungu..................................................arr. Roger Emerson

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Practice

None of my band student currently study privately so I struggle with teaching them how to practice.  I want to try to avoid being their private teacher and keeping up with countless lesson plans.  I want to teach them how to do it.

Today we did this:

Practicing Practice:

Winds (55 minutes)

Warm-up: 25 minutes

  1. Set up in a place with as minimal distractions as possible.  Put your phone on my desk or in your backpack.
  2. Start with scale exercises. (5 minutes)
    1. F major scale in groups of 3
    2. F major scale in groups of 5
  3. Bb major scale long tones.  20 seconds each with crescendo.  10 seconds rest.  Up and down. (8 minutes)
  4. 5 minutes of F quarter notes.  50 seconds on, 10 seconds off.
  5. 5 minutes of F major scale (2 octave practice)

Practice: 20 minutes
  1. Groove Blues.  Practice articulations. (8 minutes)
  2. IND Line.  Learn first three lines. (10 minutes)
  3. Review Groove Blues (2 minutes)

Reading: 5 minutes
  1. Read the first thing you find in forScore.  No skipping of parts. (5 minutes)

Cool-down: 5 minutes
  1. Review F major scale exercises.


Percussion

Warm-up: (6 minutes)
  1. Set up in a place with as minimal distractions as possible.  Put your phone on my desk or in your backpack.
  2. 8’s with metronome. (2 minutes).
  3. Single paradiddles with metronome (2 minutes)
  4. 5 stroke rolls with metronome (2 minutes)

Exercises: (15 minutes)
  1. Roll crescendos with metronome (10 seconds up, 10 seconds down, 5 seconds rest).  20x. (10 minutes)
  2. Double and single paradiddles with metronome.  One measure ending with quarter note.  Beginner do eighth, advanced do 16th notes.  (5 minutes)

Instruments: (15 minutes)
  1. Tambourine
  2. Cymbals
  3. Bass Drum

Reading:
  1. Open forscore and read snare parts. (5 minutes)
  2. Read mallet parts. (5 minutes)

Cool-down:
  1. Repeat warm-up paradiddles.

Monday, August 17, 2015

2015 Choir Repertoire

I spent a fair amount of time last Spring working on choosing repertoire for this school year.

Some considerations:

  • We got about 100% bigger this year (up to 64 signed up as of today).  There will be many new voices, but also many veterans.
  • We can do some "big" choir pieces.
  • I am mostly SSA (7 freshman boys).
  • We are traveling this year without accompanist so we need to focus on acapella
  • I am working hard to split main choir with the more elite/acapella group (Chorale).  All Chorale members are in the main choir.
  • I have not chosen any of the pop/fun/new pieces.
  • I want to make an effort to rotate parts.
  • We will do a combined concert with our middle school.
  • We also learn four Italian songs (SATB) for auditions, do lots of Broadway ...but no play this year :((  
  • Chorale does mostly Pop acapella but I'm trying to add a few reach tunes this year.
Choir:

1. Wanting Memories (Barnwell):

I make an effort to feature women's groups and composers.  The group Sweet Honey in the Rock and the composer Ysaye Barnwell are certainly worthy of that effort.  The piece Wanting Memories features a fairly easy ostinato for our young tenors/basses and fairly easy harmony for upper voices.  I hope to use this song as a vehicle for vowel work. 



2. Shine on Me (Dillworth)

I have done this song before and it is an easy gospel SAB tune that introduces 9/8 time signature really well.  It does not get too high and might be a good song to do with the middle school.  Also great for vowel work (SH--AHHHH-E-N).



3. Alleluia (Thompson)

I did this in 2010 with a much smaller group.  They had great ears and we were pretty accurate, but this really requires a bigger group.  I hesitate to feature because it is for SATB (converted to SSAA) but I know Thompson did the arranging.  This song is ALL vowels (sense a trend).  I hope to use this to work on introducing chordal movements, cadences, and the like.  This will be our big piece for the year.



4. Tres Cantos Nativos

A favorite of the festival choir crowd I have never had a big enough group to do this.  It is harder than it looks and we are doing this for fun.  Requires some language work and a lot of CONSONANTS sounding together.



5. Elijah Rock (Hairston)

I have done this 3 times before.  Again, affords our young basses an ostinato part and is a great introduction to gospel tunes.  Very front of face consonants and vowels in addition to lots of rhythmic reading and dynamics.




6. Zion's Walls (Copland)

I'm doing SSA version.  Good opportunity to sing a song from American master and do a lot of historical work.  This song is hard and will require a lot of work.  Diction is a bear in this song.  T's and Z's.



Chorale:

1. Jack's Valentine  (Larsen)

Again, trying to feature women composers.  This song is "silly" but super hard and would be perfect for the smaller group if they are willing to take on the challenge.  Dynamics, and some really tough pitch clusters are involved.



2. Sisters (Walker)

One more woman as a composer (hopefully, you sense a trend).  We did this in choir last year and didn't quite have time to pull it off.  Lots of rhythm and movement and historical work.  Vowels are really big.



3. Silver Buckle on Mozart's Shoe (Boerger)

A new song by Kristina Boerger.  I anticipate playing trombone as the accompaniment which could be fun AND have a student conductor.  This song is longer than what we are used to and requires a touch and accuracy that is deceiving.



Anyway, those are the big tunes.  Many will be added!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Final Project

As our final project in Band I assigned students the following:

Perform, record, edit, and publish a multi-part ensemble piece.  This piece must contain at least three parts (trio), and can have up to 5 parts (quintet).  You will perform all the parts on your band instrument.


  • Choose song from ensemble books.  I recommend the quartet books we have been using.  Percussion: I would choose a percussion ensemble piece or drumline song.
  • Practice.
  • Record using Garageband.  I will help you get started.
  • Edit recordings, adjust balance.
  • Publish to youTube or Soundcloud.  If you publish to your account, send me the link.  

Students will be judged on your tone, intonation, rhythmic accuracy, style, articulations, and attention to detail.  You will also be judged on your ability to meet deadlines and work with the technology.

Here are some examples of student work: