[photos from left to right: learned how to best stack a cafeteria tray; they had an entire garden of cacti; I learned how to play trumpet in the junior band and was told off for playing the wrong note; I was even given my own practice cabin to test out all of the instruments I was learning!]
This past week I attended the International Music Camp hosted by the International Peace Gardens bordering North Dakota and Manitoba. It is a camp where all of the teachers have their Masters or Ph.D.'s in whatever it is they are teaching! I got to observe over 300 students learning about musical theater, garage band, composition, audio tech, and concert band. I studied as many instruments as possible until my face felt like it would fall off. I can now pass along the BEST way to play each instrument to next year's band students.
Flying home from Manitoba I read each and every one of the surveys that my students wrote at the end of the year. I came across the statement: "I will be joining band because when I play my instrument, I can express myself no matter what I can express; sadness, happiness and anger". Other thoughts like wanting to improve, finding it fantastic to learn a new instrument, and a love for music became apparent in the students' feedback. I had a huge smile on my face when students indicated that they wanted more; more of a challenge, more songs, more time, more one-on-one practices, more sectionals, more field trips, more learning games, and simply, just more playing of music!
I was honoured when students also shared their frustrations of learning high notes, reading difficult music, missing classes and unfocused talking of the rest of the class when they personally were trying to focus.
This coming year we will be implementing most of the suggestions that you, the students, have given. In preparation, I have spent many days hunting down the BEST music; am in the process of designing a new schedule; have started to arrange our trips and our first band competition; and have been practicing each instrument
(my neighbours are not too pleased). It will be a year filled with practicing, performing, travelling, and friendship building,
If you still have not registered for next year, call up your friends and make sure that you are all READY for September as it is going to be quite an adventure!