Posted by StringOvation Team on Jan 6, 2020
The spring semester can feel like an infinite haul for students – and even teachers. For most schools, the second “half” of the academic year is legitimately the longest period in terms of days-spent-in class. Plus, the spring semester offers far fewer breaks than its fall counterpart.
With that in mind, you owe it to yourself and your students to spice up the spring performance programs – and we have several tricks up our sleeves.
Inspiring students in the classroom makes for more inspired performances
The more you inspire students in class, the more passionate and motivated they will be for the upcoming spring recital and concert series. Ideas for keeping students engaged include:
Rearranging the classroom for a fresh update
Have you had the same classroom arrangement, year after year? Why not use a couple of days over the winter break to rearrange and freshen up. Students may enjoy new seating arrangements, designated practice spaces, digital areas for “app time” (see more on that below), etc.
Read, Cool Ways to Organize Your Classroom, and see if any of those ideas appeal. If so, go for it and give your room a facelift.
Giving students more app time in class
There are so many apps available for teaching, learning, composing, etc. Let your classroom be a place where students have access to the digital fun that may be less available at home –depending on their extracurricular and academic responsibilities.
If it’s tough to carve out curriculum-based time for that, use the app stations as a reward for students who are on task, have already learned their part, or for a lazy student who is encouraged by the idea of trading notable playing improvement for app time.
- Best Apps for Learning to Play the Violin
- Best Apps for Learning to Play Cello
- Best App for Beginner Musicians
- Coolest New Apps for Composition
Get students looking forward to an improv day
Helping your students become comfortable with improvisation is a valuable and lifelong skillset. Look at which day of the week makes the most sense, and then make a part of that day, for example “Improv Fridays.”
In addition to supporting their improvisational skills, students are also building composition skills, which can come into play when individuals, groups, or the class play a student-composed piece (or multiple pieces) at your spring concert.
Build Buzz About the Spring Concerts
Now that you’ve spiced up their classroom experience, it’s time to get students excited about their upcoming spring performances.
Make it all about a theme
Have a conversation with your students about going all-out for a themed spring concert this year — decorations, refreshments, and all. When students have a say in the theme — and what they’ll be playing — you’ll notice a difference in their level of engagement.
Some ideas for spring concert themes include:
- Sacred or cultural spring traditions from around the world
- Inserting student-generated original compositions
- Music from the movies (complete with red-and-white popcorn boxes filled with popcorn for audience members)
- An audience sing or play-a-long
- A Rock-On concert (featuring orchestral arrangements of famous rock/pop music from the past 50 years)
Make it all about the students
Do you have a diverse population of students? While classical greats are the standard for year-end, your students are more likely to be inspired if you honor the music from their countries of origin. Take a poll and find out where your students (or their ancestors) are from.
Have students speak to or interview their parents and grandparents to learn more about the music from their homelands. Then, add some of those pieces into the spring concert repertoire.
Make it all about inclusivity
What if your spring concert was a collaborative event with the choir, the drama club, as well as the marching band or orchestra? The odds are many of your students have siblings at the same school, who are also involved in clubs/groups that put on events this time of year. Harnessing them all into one event spares everyone’s calendar and gets kids excited about participating with friends/classmates from other niches.
Get together with other teachers and see if any of them are interested in planning a collaborative, “Year-End Extravaganza.” Dancing, singing, monologues with background music, members of the jazz band playing with a string ensemble — the musical world is your oyster.
The more excited and passionate you are about spicing up your spring semester and the student performance programs, the more your students will become energized as well. Make this the best spring concert yet!