Spring concerts over? Do your seniors have “senioritis”? Here are some end-of-year activities to break from the normal rehearsal routine:
- Improvisation – Let your students show their own creativity. Read related article “All that Jazz with Strings Attached” and “Jazz for Strings Poll Follow Up.”
- Music theory exercises – Use this time wisely to brush up on basic music theory.
- Guided listening exercises – Introduce your students to new genres of music. Read related article “Focus on Folk Music: Music of the Romani” and explore VH1 Music Studio.
- Sight-singing – Time to put down those instruments and do some singing!
- Sight-reading – Sharpen students’ sight-reading skills to help them prepare for auditions and competitions.
- Ear-training/dictation – Practice identifying intervals and chord progressions.
- Watch and discuss peer performances – Check out From the Top’s Live from Carnegie Hall Season 2 online streaming video episodes. Each episode includes a student performance segment and accompanying lesson materials.
2008 May MENC Orchestra Mentor, Gabriel Villasurda, suggests allowing all the seniors to take a chance at conducting the class: “Teach them how to hold a baton and do a basic preparatory beat. Make a chart of the basic beat patterns; give everyone a copy. Go through the patterns as a group.”
Do you have a fun or unique end-of-year activity? Post it on the orchestra forum.
Just as some students are leaving, others are just beginning. Look out for “Secrets to Successful Violin Solos” in the June 2008 issue of Teaching Music. Two experienced string teachers offer tips to ensure that solo performances for beginning violinists is a positive experience and one that introduces important new skills.
— Nicole Springer, June 2, 2010. © National Association for Music Education.