Thursday, February 16, 2012

A new perspective on ensembles


Here's a fun activity that gives everyone in your performance ensembles a new perspective.

Whenever I use a university student teacher or observer, I have them conduct my various ensembles while I grab an instrument and "sit in" the last chair of a section. This gives me a "student view" of both the podium and the rest of the group. It also keeps my playing "chops" up on all the instruments as well as sharpens my sight reading skills.

The kids love it (especially if I occasionally make a glaring mistake) as it humanizes me in their eyes. Lastly, it gives the university student a valuable perspective on what it will be like when they have their own ensembles.

One humorous aside is that I find out just how difficult it is to focus on the director and not talk to my favorite students next to me when in rehearsal.

good gigging and successful teaching!

Larry Marra

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