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Monday, May 30, 2016

Gifts for graduating seniors

The orchestra program at the high school where I taught this year is just beginning to grow.  For many years, the orchestra program was run by the band teacher and it was difficult to retain students coming in from the junior high.  I taught the high school orchestra this year to help retain students and to get the program back in shape.  The high school orchestra doubled in size this year, but I am sad to say that I can't teach there again next year because of my full schedule at the junior high.  My focus for the year has been to create a positive orchestra experience and help students transition to high school and stay in orchestra!  I believe one way to do this is to highlight the seniors.  At the end of the year, we had a concert which featured all of the seniors playing solos with orchestral accompaniment.  I also gave each of the seniors a gift.  I am hoping that other students in the program will want to stay in orchestra to get the same opportunities.

It was hard to choose a gift for my seniors.  I searched online and could not find many ideas for orchestra gifts.  I wanted to give them something meaningful.  I finally settled on the book 'Mole Music' by David McPhail and a music journal that has staff paper on one side of each page and regular lined paper on the other side.  At the concert, I had all of the seniors come up front and I talked to the audience about the importance of music education.  I told the students about how they can now move forward to bless and inspire others with their talents because music makes a difference.  I summarized the book for the audience - you should look it up on's a great story about a little mole to makes the world better as he practices his violin every day.  I like the idea of the journal as well because the seniors have such a bright future where they can accomplish anything and I talked to them about opportunities to use their musical talent throughout their lives.

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