I have been musing for the past year….

How do I get a group of young musicians to perform a piece of music?

A little background.  Band directors all know that performances are a critical aspect to their curriculum, but how many actually teach “performance”?  What I see most bands do, and what my band usually does should be called “group recitation”.  The students are simply reading what’s on the page, and not really performing the music.

For a performance to occur every child MUST have internalized the music and made the choice to experience the music.  Every individual must make the choice to experience the music on a personal level on their own.  No teacher on this Earth can force a student to feel the music on this level.  The only thing a teacher can do is try and inspire deeper thinking about the music to his/her students.  I make a point of taking time out of rehearsal to talk passionately about the music, and try to convey a sense of deep importance in the music they are rehearsing.

I would love to hear about the conversations other band directors have with their students.  Some of my favorite teaching moments occur outside of class in my office with a small group of students just talking about the music.  We might have some playing on the stereo, and every once in a while I will say “Did you hear that?!?” and launch into a deep conversation about how the deep hues of the low brass support such a rich character for the ensemble, or wome other inflated artsy comment.  The students are able to make a more personal connection with you and they are able to see that music ins’t something that happens once a day (or in my situation once every other day).

If there are other stories about conversations you have had with students, or a way in which you can get kids to think about music outside of your room, let me know.


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