My involvement was to circulate around the classroom, giving corrections to students on many levels. Posture, hand position, fingerings, and during the marching times, instrument angles, body and foot movements, etc. I was kept fairly busy with this. Mr. S. respected that I had have previous experience (I was adjunct instructor in Sparta School Marching band for 2 years of band camp, as well as a band Mom for 6 years), and listened to suggestions I made. He said I made a difference in their performance already. I am a big believer in 100% participation at each student’s level. At the end of a class on Friday, and trombone player came in on crutches. His absence in class was noticed, as there is a big trombone/low brass flourish at the end of their marching band program. Mr. S. called me over for my advice on this young man. I took one look and said “he can play on the sideline”. I then explained that it was common for other bands, when a student was able to play, but not to march, for them to still contribute to the sound by standing (or sitting) on the sidelines during the show. Mr. S. shared with me later that he valued this advice, as the student was obviously thinking that he would not be able to participate in the band competition.... I think that making personal connections with students is important, and set a goal for myself to learn at two names in each class every day. I couldn’t list all the things I did, but here are some: playing heart and soul piano duet with A. before 2nd hour. Reconnecting with E., who I taught at Godfrey 4th grade as a sub several times in 2012. I recognized her, and we talked as the band gathered on Briggs field for marching practice. Sharing with V., who plays flute but is playing xylophone for marching season that I know his mom..... Getting to know the bass clarinet player (although I forgot his name), as I tried to help him with his instrument peg before class. Trouble shooting for J., who couldn’t get a sound from her clarinet: she needs a new mouthpiece and ligature, as both were broken. I was able to help Mr. S. sort out instruments which needed to be inventoried, copy and sort new music for next week, and I attended a music department meeting at his request....
Monday, February 26, 2018 River City Scholars, K-8
I spent the weekend researching Black composers and performers since mid-1800’s. Now that I have ideas of who they want, I will put together a google slide, and find music sound bites of each. I told K. I wanted to create an assessment. She gave me guidelines of what level to scaffold and everything. I’m feeling hopeful about it.Then, right away I had 5th grade and 3rd grade right in a row. It was a busy morning. For each class, I laid out the items needed, put agenda on the board, pulled up the google slide I created for class. One thing that went well: 5th grade loved Ram Sam Sam and the motions we did. They were able to try it in canon, although that is a confusing one, since some lines duplicate, and students need to pay attention to which repetition they are on. I tried to do the warm up songs that K. does, but really didn't’ know them well enough on piano (I played in a different key, and surprisingly, it threw them off, because it was a different sound). So I learned that being 100% prepared is good. Ha! Tuesday, March 13, 2018 River City Scholars, K-8
Today went by fast! I led in 5th and K, did warm ups with band (they are really enjoying the challenge aspect I have added to the “boring” drills). Also taught 4th grade: the lesson from last week that they missed. I think this went well, I tried to be firm, and to deal with behavior along with helping them learn something. If I were to do this type of thing in my own classroom, the instrument study would cover several sessions and have some hands on learning, assessments, more demonstrations, and a chance to play the instruments as well.
Thursday, March 15, 2018 River City Scholars I was able to help in different ways today. I did bring in the morning classes, and helped monitor the joint choir and drama classes as they came together for the first time to work on their projects. After lunch, I went upstairs and assisted Dean Brown with copying, collating, and matching up all middle school students report and behaviors for student led conferences tonight. I also assisted in the book fair again. For [student led] conferences, I collated Harkema’s advisory class handouts, and filed their new work. I also brought her dinner, because she never made it upstairs to get her pizza provided by the principal. She was giving a piano lesson. I was proactive in filling needs, like getting staplers and paper clips from the office for the teachers around me, speaking to parents of band kids about their children, and helping clean up and put chairs back into the classroom afterward. This also gave me an opportunity to talk a little with some teachers who I have not had much contact with, because they are middle school teachers.
Friday, March 23, 2018 Wyoming Public Schools
Before school: I arrive early. There is often a student there, C, who plays percussion for Jazz Band. He is SPED. I will sit and play piano, and he lays down a beat. Anyway, earlier in the week, he asked if I knew the “Peanuts Song”. I do have the music, so yesterday, I sat and memorized the main theme. Today, I played it, and C was happy that I could play it now. Jazz band began with circling through the scales by 4th. I joined on piano. Then, they were to separate around the room with their instruments and compose 16 bars reflecting a personal memory. At this point I had to leave....I was able to then visit the 6th grade band in the Intermediate building. I worked with the clarinets [at the Intermediate Building]. They were just learning to play Bb concert over the break. I began with tuning on C, then we played through Essential Elements #77 and #80, which they were already familiar with. To scaffold the over the break for Bb concert scale: 1) play low G. 2) add register key 3) keep air strong. I then did explanation of how the register key is NOT an octave. Not sure if they will remember, but at least this is introduced. I also reviewed proper technique with left index for A placement. We repeated the 12th exercise with low F, then E. A couple students had squeaking issues, so I switched my barrel and mp to their instrument to play through notes. It is good to make sure that there is not an instrument issue before the student gets frustrated. Often, the low E/B key becomes bent, and the lower pad does not seat properly. Following this, I had them play Bb scale from C-A. We then scaffold the 7th and 8th scale degree by beginning without the register key, and then adding the register key. I also explained how the right hand may be placed down early during G and A to make for less movement. We played the entire Bb concert then, in whole notes. I did a short explanation of why clarinet is playing C scale for Bb concert. The note which sounds is Bb, as clarinet is a transposing instrument. Again, I’m not sure how much they will remember but it is introduced.
Friday, April 13, 2018 Wyoming Public Schools
This week has just flown by! Again, full HS rehearsals, no more kids gone for testing! In Jazz, I played clarinet next to C and E. C is the one who just picked up clarinet at the beginning of the week. For SB, Mr G asked me to take mallets into side room to test on their scales. I spent the hour there hearing C-G scales: all 12 keys through the circle of 4ths, with arpeggios, and scoring them on G computer spreadsheet. Some percussionists didn’t know about the half/whole step relationship on scales, so I did a quick tutorial when they finished their quizzes. Hopefully, this will help them play with more accuracy and understanding while they do the circle of 4th warmups with the band. This took all hour, since there are 9 percussionists.I tried to make it fun by saying funny things when I called the next student in: “you are the next vict-...er, student, for scales tests”,,, or “D! Come on Down ! You’re the next contestant for ‘the scale is right’”... or singing jeopardy song, or the song of the Volga Boatman, rubbing my hands together with funny faces. ...I think it made the atmosphere fun, taking the edge off nervousness regarding the scale arpeggio test. ...When Mr. G came back to fetch his stuff for JrHS, he mentioned that we still needed to restore the choral room. I said I already took care of it immediately after class. (moving band chairs back, resetting choir chairs on the risers, returning all stands to the stand holder in the band room, making sure percussion equipment and stray music was out)