Monday, December 14, 2015

Winter Concert Reflection

Winter concert reflection

After our first concert of the year, I have students share their thoughts about their experience through a concert reflection sheet (which I based off of what was already being used by our elementary band teacher).  During the first full orchestra after the concert, I have these reflection sheets plus pencils already on everyone's stand, and then after our warm-up, I turn on some background music while everyone is writing.  Depending on how long it takes for students to finish and the class atmosphere at the moment, I may have a couple of students verbally share some thoughts; otherwise musicians just turn these in when they're finished and start practicing the next piece while others are still working.

These are so much fun to read though.  While we may talk a little bit after the concert or during small groups or when a student is dropping off his or her instrument in the morning, I learn so much more about what really made an impression on my students and how they view their learning in orchestra and how they see themselves as musicians by reading through their responses.

Then, since we music teachers are also advocates for music and music education and our students, I share these first-hand accounts of music making an impact on our students with as many people as I can think of :)

I type up many of the responses as a bulleted list after selected reflection questions and include that in the weekly email to orchestra families.  I also email the list of responses to the entire school staff and post it on a bulletin board for the whole school to see.

Not only is this a way for students to process their thoughts about what may have been their first experience performing on a stage in front of an audience, but it's also a way to use writing in a performance-based class and a fantastic advocacy too.  Concert reflections are definitely worth the few minutes it takes in class, and it can be nice to go through the questions each year change out a question or two for something that is more meaningful for this particular concert or group of students.

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