There is always anticipation and excitement leading up to a concert, and then the high energy level of the concert itself. So many hours have gone into preparing a school concert, the performance is given and then there is the inevitable release when it is over. There may be a school assembly performance, but the big event is passed, and there are likely days or even weeks left of school before the winter recess. You could start your next unit, but it will be interrupted by vacation week, and much of what you taught will need to be re-taught. So what’s a good plan for that time after your concert and before winter break?
You have a repertoire of familiar music to work from, so plan learning activities that require familiar music. Here are some things I like to do.
- Have students interpret their concert songs with dance and movement.
- Have students practice their music reading by putting in the correct order cards that each have one measure of part of a concert song.
- Teach meter to students by having them listen to or perform concert songs in a different meter.
- Have students improvise on Orff instruments over chord progressions from a concert song.
- Have students produce and record a “studio album” of the concert. They not only record a new performance, but they can also design cover art for their project.
- Have students compose new lyrics to a concert song.
- Have students make a new arrangement of a concert song.
- If I haven’t already done so when preparing a song for the concert, have students analyze the song.
- Have students research the composers and/or context of the songs they sang in the concert, and then set up a museum display with poster board and created artifacts. If they recorded a studio album of the concert, they can play samples from it as part of the exhibit. Invite other classes to come and view the exhibit. (This project is more extensive than the others, and can be started prior to the concert and then finished and displayed after the concert.)
All of these projects lead to learning that goes deeper than simply learning repertoire for performance. They get students involved with the other core arts standards, lead to more meaningful and relevant learning, and to more memorable and lasting musical experiences.