This month's MSFQ tips come from Marcia Neel, Music Achievement Council Education Advisor and Senior Director of Education for Yamaha Corporation of America.
Check in with your guidance counselors to ensure that all of the students you recruited last spring are indeed in the proper class. Also check to see if new students have moved to your school so that you could reach out and get them enrolled in your program. Be sure to have class lists available to share with your counseling department prior to the beginning of the school year.
Schedule your First Performance National Day of Celebration Demonstration Concert right away so that your beginners can experience the joy of playing in an ensemble in the first 6-7 weeks of school. The First Performance National Day of Celebration Toolkit has all of the materials needed for a successful 25-minute program that advances the students from “beginner” to “band / orchestra member,” etc. It even has a script that can be read by the principal. Downloadable certificates are also available to present to each participant.
We all know that the fastest way to learn something is to teach it. This year, inform your beginning students that their job is to teach their instrument to a parent, older sibling, grandparent, or some older adult of their choosing. The plan is for that adult to be ready to play in the final concert of the year with their novice “teacher” standing right beside them. Simply choose 2-3 easy tunes from the first part of your method book for them to play. Not only does this engage the parents in learning and help students to better understand the workings of their own instrument, but it also provides a fun activity that is enjoyed by EVERYONE! For an example of how “The Parent Band” might perform in your school, check out this short video. Have fun!
Wishing you and your students a wonderful school year ahead!
Marcia M. Neel Music Achievement Council Education Advisor Senior Director of Education, Yamaha Corporation of America