January 16, 2016 by morningcamequickly
It’s May and all around the country, thousands upon thousands of students are busy preparing for spring concerts. Thousands of music teachers at all levels are in a tizzy as last minute polishing takes place on songs that have stretched voices and skills. Programs are getting proofed and concert attire is getting ironed. But wait, is that the ding of an incoming email? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!! Say it ain’t so!!
The email begins with, “Here is a list of upcoming field trips…” and proceeds to list them and students who will be going on them. And you realize that half your choir will be missing the next two practices. Yup, it happened to me and I know it has happened to you.
So what is the plan of action when this happens? Will sounding a battle cry of desperation help? Unlikely. Do irate emails to administration or teachers help? No. Crying probably won’t help. A trip to Dairy Queen? Now that has some promise! Just kidding, this is really what you need to do:
- You need to trust. You need to trust that the hard work and preparation you have done so far is locked into your student’s brains. Chances are that it is.
- Modify as needed. Okay, everything isn’t 100% memorized. Is it really the end of the world if they use their folders as a support? Probably not. Wouldn’t you rather have them glance down at that one section, get the words and their notes, then glance back up, rather than having a performance train wreck?
- Smile and don’t let it get you down. School is a time for experiences. The end of the year is a time when most schools cram those out of the four walls experiences in. Be upbeat and ask students about their trips and then work them hard and without down time!
I have often said I am a musician not a magician. But you know what, more often than not students will pull out all the stops and all those little details that eluded them in practice will surface. Perhaps a slight reprieve and change of scenery is just what is needed to make your concert music sparkle, sound fresh, and bring goosebumps to your directing arms!
Hang in there! Your students will do great because you have prepared them, so have confidence! Good luck to all!