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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Keeping orchestra fun - ideas and thoughts

 I show my classes a 'video of the week' every Monday with some sort of message that I want students to internalize during the week.  Sometimes my videos involve musical performance and sometimes they are fun and crazy....but they all apply to my class.  Students really look forward to these short little video clips and it helps keep my class fun and interesting.

This week, I showed this crazy little video:

I tied this into my class by speaking to them about how they can learn ANYTHING if they practice.  Students immediately got the message and they enjoyed watching this video.  I have been thinking about the similarities between practicing sports and practicing instruments.   I talked to my class about practicing free throws for basketball.  A player does not throw the ball until they finally get one basket, and then be done practicing and expect to be ready for a big game.  A basketball player must practice getting the ball into the basket consistently every time.  We then discussed practicing accurately and how they must practice difficult sections many times correctly to really benefit their playing.

Many kids like to practice for sports...because it's fun!  There are plently of students who struggle with the desire to practice their instruments and I feel it is because they do not find it FUN.  That means, that the time spent in orchestra class must be fun and engaging.  Students practice when it is fun to practice.  Also, music selection is crucial.  Students will practice if they love the music.

A few weeks ago for my video of the week, I showed this video because we were learning basic counting and rhythms:

I mentioned to the class that it would be fun to get those whistle/air blowers and blow in them during the rests while counting.  I found some blowers at and bought some for my class.  The other day, we used them while we were counting rhythms projected in front of the class using the Rhythm Cat app.  These little blowers kept it fun...and all students were working hard to make sure they were counting correctly so that they could blow in them during the rests.  Here are a few pictures of the class doing this activity:

How do you keep your class fun?  Feel free to leave comments!

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