Details for Thursday’s Solo and Ensemble concert for 7th and 8th grade

Greetings all!

Thursday, January 21 is the Solo and Ensemble Concert and I wanted to share info with you.

-Time for the 7th grade concert is 6:30pm
-Time for the 8th grade concert is 7:45pm
(Note: These are the times when the concert begins, not when the students arrives. I would try to arrive 20-30 minutes before concert start time so that students may warm up, tune, and review their music. Also, these concert times have been published since early September)

-Concert attire is the same as always, Business Casual to Formal. Excerpt from your Band Handbook w/addendum:
Concert attire is business casual to formal clothing (this also applies to shoes). Examples of this type of clothing might be worn at weddings, church, special social events, etc. Dress classy, not sassy. No jeans, tennis shoes, etc., are permitted. Dress code for concert is business casual to formal and students not meeting this dress code may not be allowed to perform and will have a reduction in grade.

-All 7th graders must stay for the 7th grade portion of the concert. All 8th graders must stay for the 8th grade portion of the concert. Students will write a reflection of the concert the following day in class. Attendance for the entire concert is mandatory. Concert should not last more than an hour and perhaps shorter.

-If there are any students who need extra credit (as we are ending the first semester) to improve their grade, a student at one grade level may attend the concert of the other grade level and write a review of each group. I can create a form for this listening assignment. If interested, please see me.

-Important note to parents and attendees: Without a doubt, this is the hardest concert of the year for our students. We go from sharing musical responsibility with lots of other students to a concert format where your child may be the only person on their part, having a very high responsibility for all music occurring. Also, there are only a few students playing in each ensemble so the performance is exposed and transparent. And finally, there is no conductor. Students will implement listening skills for all aspects of music.

Please know, there will be mistakes. There will be snafus. There will be boo-boos. There will not be perfection with this concert at the middle school level. This concert is about developing listening skills and more importantly, recovery skills. Below is is information about the importance of playing chamber music and being in chamber ensembles. Whether the performance is good or you hear many mistakes throughout, please support our student with you applause for their work, effort, and learning.

Chamber music teaches young students to listen beyond themselves

Chamber groups provide an excellent opportunity for young musicians to develop their musical ability and performance experience. Even more than band work, chamber music places a great responsibility on the individual performers as each must study, prepare and be present to perform his or her part in order for the group to perform. It enables them to socialize in a nonverbal context, create beauty in a nonjudgmental framework, learn to listen to more than themselves, and develop the ability to roll with spontaneous interchange.

Each member of a chamber ensemble is a vital component to the success of that ensemble. Musicians must understand that with the many benefits of their participation comes the need for commitment and responsibility toward musical preparation. Though some music may be attainable to the individual, the chamber ensemble will make discrepancies with tone, tuning, and timing much more obvious.

The main benefit is that they are learning how to play as an ensemble. Now it’s not just me, myself, and I, but they have to think about matching the other people in pitch, rhythm, sound, and feeling.

According to our own student musicians over the years, playing in a chamber ensemble has its benefits:

“I think that playing with my teammates teaches me more about music. It teaches us to keep playing if we make mistakes and to listen to each other.”

“We learned to listen so that we wouldn’t go too fast or too slow.”

“I never realized how important tuning and dynamics really were.”

“We feel smarter.”

“I know how to prepare better for our future concerts.”

“I better know how to practice now.”

Thanks so much and see you at the concert!

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