Wednesday, October 20, 2010

4th grade band lesson

I get 30 minutes with the 4th grade beginning band per week. There are about 45 of them. Today was our second real rehearsal. Here is what I did:

1. We rehearse in the gym on the stage. I have the students come in and sit in front of the stage. They are coming from several different classes so they arrive 3-4 minutes apart.
2. I take attendance. This took about 6 minutes today. I take my time as I am trying to learn everyone's name. I also want them getting used to the procedure part of band.
3. I send the kids up by section to the stage and ask them to put their instrument together. This is the first day we have done that.
4. I reviewed stage and rehearsal technique. Silent and focused when I am on the podium, quiet and relaxed when I am off. Had to take sticks away from kid so he would stop playing while I was talking. It worked.
5. I taught them "parade rest" position, instruments up, and instruments down positions for each instrument.
6. We did 5-6 repetitions of me walking off the stage, coming back to the podium (parade rest), bring my hands up (instruments up), and us playing a whole note on any pitch. Got them to move at the same time.
7. I then added one layer of complexity as I asked the percussion to play quarter notes while the winds played whole notes.
8. I then asked all the winds to play a concert Bb in the exercise, and reviewed each note for them. Many eager faces. We discussed why this sounded better ("we matched sounds?").
9. Now I took out my trombone and we improvised a song. We have been doing this each week. I have them play Bb whole notes and I improvise a melody above it. Last week we did James Brown style song with mouthpieces ("Hit me!! Boom! Hit me two times!! Boom Boom !!) It works really well and they love it. I ask someone to name the song.
10. Time to go!

The lessons seems to be working pretty well. I should definitely record the songs next week. The kids love to hear the playback and it will be great to play it at the concert (in 12th grade!!!).