Thursday, December 12, 2013

12/12/13 - Day 75

Day 75 - York Community High School
Thursday, December 12, 2013
12/12/13 6:45

I was able to lead the jazz band in a song this morning and I felt very good about it. There are quite a few transitions and we made txt through the whole piece. I had some insights for the rhythm section and soloists and felt pretty confident leading the whole group. I'm going to lead the group on Tuesday as they play for students entering the commons. I had an observation today. Dr. Sinclair was there early and we had a chance to talk a little bit. The lesson went pretty well, we were able to run the entire Adler Concertino for the first time. I led them in a warm up and chorale with some rhythms from the Adler added in. I drilled some sections at A and solidified some rhythms and entrances. Dr. Sinclair had some useful feedback and some encouraging comments. I helped out a guitarist that wanted to learn some violin during 7th period. I took care of an interview during 8th. I stayed in the evening to 
Iisten to there choir concert. Some very beautiful singing! Lots of holiday songs.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12/11/13 - Day 74

Day 74 - York Community High School
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
12/11/13 7:30

Faculty meeting this morning. Curriculum was on the agenda. There was a lot of talk about exam week. The fine arts department doesn't give final exams, but they are expected to procter exams. During first period I put all of the music from the last concert into the folders and back in the stacks. I ran the warm up with cadet orchestra. We did c major. We also played a chorale. Mr. O also tested them on their rhythm panels. Every student did well on the rhythm panel. During fourth period I entente some data for solo night and tuned the harpsichord. Mr. O tuned one of the 8 ft. strings and I tuned the 4 foot strings to the 8 ft. Later, we set the stage up for the choir concert. The auditorium filled with the choir, winds, and strings sounds beautiful. There are some festive lights and decorations on stage as well. The dress rehearsal went pretty well. There are more things that could be rehearsed and corrected, but at some point you have to accept it as it is.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12/10/13 - Day 73

Day 73 - York Community High School
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
12/10/13 7:00

My mind is a little preoccupied with finishing up paperwork, edTPA, and my masters paper. I wish I could devote more time to lesson planning and score study, but the reality is that there are several things that need to happen in order for me to finish this semester. That being said, I think everything will come together. I was able to run a significant chunk of the Adler in with cadet orchestra. I had them clap rhythms and practice their staggered entrances several times.  With the concert orchestra, we were able to do a similar rehearsal. We also had time to run the entire piece at the end of my segment. Mr. O had the prospective student teacher for next semester in observing, so there was another set of eyes watching as I worked. I think observations are going to be one of the most difficult parts of teaching full time. Perhaps, I'll feel more comfortable and confident after I've worked with a group from the very beginning.

Friday, December 6, 2013

12/6/13 - Day 72

Day 72 - York Community High School
Friday, December 6, 2013
12/6/13 7:30

Mr. O handled the majority of rehearsals today. I helped him find some additional music for chamber ensembles that have a gig tonight. One student came in before school seeking help in finding music to supplement their gig folder. Quite a few of them are using the kaleidoscope Christmas collection for the Barnes and noble gig on Monday, and the quartet playing tonight was looking for additional copies of the books.  I was able to sit in on violin for some of the Hovhaness. After they finished rehearsing the choir pieces, several players were excused and I filled in. It's great to see how much collaboration occurs between the choir, band, orchestra, dance, and music tech departments. All of the directors seem to get along very well and it is understood that students are expected to participate in concerts for other ensembles. The top players in the orchestra have so many performance opportunities because of the cohesive fine arts program.

12/5/13 - Day 71

Day 71 - York Community High School
Thursday, December 5, 2013
12/5/13 6:45

I was excited and nervous to have the class to myself today. I arrived early to help out with the rhythm section sectional. I was able to give some suggestions that I thought were helpful, especially to the guitarist. They are doing some chritmas arrangements. Some of them are pretty cheesy, but tis the season. During first period, I had to reset the room because there was a meeting last night. We did a lot of Adler with both concert and cadet orchestra. We also did some of the Mendelssohn both periods. There was a sub in the room, but she mainly sat in the back and just observed. Mrs. M came in and ran the Vivaldi and o holy night for part of fifth period. For the second half of fifth period we played the Hovhaness. The kids begged me to play a game of hide the bow, so I indulged them. In other periods, I helped students pick out materialsf for solo night. The sub was late getting to the seventh period study hall, so I signed in kids until she got there. Overall, I thought I did a decent job of running the classes and I can't wait to have a classroom that I run on my own.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12/4/13 - Day 70

Day 70 - York Community High School
Wednesday , December 4, 2013
12/4/13 7:30

Today started off with a faculty meeting. The pension bill was discussed and the meeting didn't last long because the choir director wasn't there and Mr. O had students coming in to pick out solos. There were two bassist and one cellist. Another cellist came in to play the Bb major scale. Mr. O is going to be absent tomorrow, so he handled the majority of rehearsal today. The orchestra also did some Vivaldi  with the choir. There were students popping in throughout the day to get help picking a solo. We basically take a look at what they did last year and recommend a few different options for them to play through and listen to on their own.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12/3/13 - Day 69

Day 69 - York Community High School
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
12/3/13 - 6:45

I came in to observe and help with the jazz band. I feel torn between jumping in and just letting Mr. Riddle run the rehearsal. He does a nice job of asking me for input. I was also able to play some bass when Wes had to leave. I have a nice blister now. During first period we finished resetting the room for full orchestra. We brought the chairs and stands in from the atrium and grabbed a few from the band room. With the cadet orchestra I introduced the Adler concertino. It went well. They were able to read through the majority of the piece, which was more than I expected. I observed for concert orchestra and sat in with the symphony orchestra on violin. Mr. O left early for a doctors appointment so I had a chance to help some viola students pick solos for solo night. It was nice to have the place to myself for a while. I also worked on some cello and bass fingerings for the Mendelssohn.

Monday, December 2, 2013

12/2/13 - Day 68

Day 68 - York Community High School
Monday, December 2, 2013
12/2/13 7:30

I came in refreshed from the long weekend. Mr. O and the kids also seemed well rested and ready to go. Although, Mr. O and several kids are ill.  Luckily, none of them missed the chamber ensemble concert tonight. Before school, I prepared some parts to Bach's Little Fugue and looked over the scores to Hovhaness and Adler. During cadet orchestra, Mr. O led the warm up after an extended tuning. A lot of instruments, especially cellos that stayed at school over the long weekend, were extremely out of tune. We handed out more parts and collected all of the old music from the last concert. After dealing with other logistics concerning solo night and the February field trip, I ran the first 8 bars of the Mendelssohn. In concert orchestra we also handed pout and collected music. Mr. O introduced the Adler to them. We're doing only the first movement. All of the chamber ensembles found places to rehearse during fourth period and during 5b. For the first portion of period 5, they sightread through the Bach fugue. We also helped students find solos that came in looking for direction.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

11/26/13 - Day 67

Day 67 - York Community High School
Tuesday, November 27, 2013
11/27/13 11:45 am

A full day of conferences. I really enjoy meeting the parents and you can really get a clearer picture of the student when you meet the parents. There are very few behavioral problems, so the conferences are very positive and pleasant. There was one student who was concerned about being seated last chair, but the parents were reassured that it didn't mean that Jenny wasn't playing well or growing as a musician. There is a "get to know the student" fact sheet that everyone fills out in the beginning of the year and this sheet is referenced during the conference. I think you can learn much more about them in the 5 min conference with the parents and in talking casually. It's really cool to hear parents talk about older children that have come through the program and are in college or beyond. They also mention younger children that Mr. O can expect to see in upcoming years.

Monday, November 25, 2013

11/25/13 - Day 66

Day 66 - York Community High School
Monday, November 25, 2013
11/25/13 7:15 am

Today was an odd day. It's the only day of the week for the students. We introduced some new music in all of the ensembles. I labeled some parts and made copies in the morning. I was able to sight read in the violin section for some and I led the concert orchestra in their sightreading. I also filled in on viola and coached some chamber ensembles. I stumbled a bit on some faster sixteenth note passages, but I really enjoy playing in the small ensembles. Parent teacher conferences were from 4:30 - 8. The school provided a meal for us at 3:30. The meetings are generally very positive. Students typically enjoy the class and are all earning A's, so it isn't surpising that the conferences go smoothly. One thing I noticed was that Mr. O talked for the majority of the conferences. I might be inclined to ask more questions and learn more about the students.  There were quite a few revealing comments and facts that were revealed during the course of the conferences.

11/22/13 - Day 65

Day 65- York Community High School
Friday, November 22, 2013
11/22/13 7:15 am

Lots of reflecting on the concert today. A professional recording is made of the concert and the cd is playing as the kids walk into class today. They are all very excited to hear themselves playing the music they've worked on all semester. There was some time devoted to some sharing and reflection as a group. As we listened to the pieces, the students filled out the formal reflection sheets. There were extra scores for some of the students to follow as they listened. In cadet orchestra we were able to listen to all of the pieces, but with the concert and symphony orchestras we only got through about half of the music. The resources at York are amazing. I don't know any other programs that are able to professionally record the concert for their students and offer CDs for purchase. Because there is an upcoming chamber concert, I also worked with some of the chamber ensembles.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

11/21/13 - Day 64

Day 64 - York Community High School
Thursday, November 21, 2013
11/21/13 7:15 am

It's concert day and I'm excited, not to mention, nervous. I knew that they're well prepared and things would go smoothly, but the nerves are still there. We reset the stage this morning because there was a sports banquet last night. We also pulled a couple more charts of songs that might be played for the Bloomington festival in February. I had the percussionists in to run The Patriot during second period. During second period the concert orchestra ran some full orchestra pieces and we had time to start and end Gesu Bambino. I coached a quintet and a bass duo. The duet is extremely taxing and they are considering playing half of it pizzicato. The symphony orchestra rehearsed Glinka with the winds and percussion, then ran through the other pieces briefly before sight reading some more Vivaldi.

The concert was outstanding. The kids performed so well. I was satisfied with my conducting, but there are always things I wish I had done differently. I felt over cautious with some of my gesture choices. I need to take more chances. It was great to meet some parents and congratulate all of the kids for their hard work. Some of them congratulated me and said "good job".  That was reassuring, because Mr. O has built such a strong program and demands a such a high standard.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

11/20/13 - Day 63

Day 63 - York Community High School
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
11/20/13 7:15 am

Wednesday means department meetings in the morning and late arrival for students. There was some discussion about the lack of an auditorium supervisor. I ran the Patriot with the cadet orchestra.  I also had a chance to run Gesu Bambino with the concert orchestra as well. We also went through the procedure for recognizing soloists and for when the entire orchestra should stand. I worked with one string quartet and one violin duo. During symphony rehearsal I worked on some Elgar.  It's sounding great, but the tempo is still slow.  Mr. O pointed out a few issues with intonation that I missed.  I made some copies during our afternoon prep period.  After school there was a dress rehearsal with the full orchestra.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

11/19/13 - Day 62

Day 62- York Community High School
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
11/19/13 6:45 am

This morning I looked over some scores of potential pieces to play after the concert on Thursday. Then, we swapped out some of the flimsy stands from the stage with sturdier stands in the practice rooms. During second period the cadet orchestra ran God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and North Star to Freedom. During third period the concert orchestra ran Sleepy Hollow for the majority of the period, and I closed with Gesu Bambino. Symphony orchestra had winds and percussion for the entire period and they focused on Christmas at the Movies and Poor Wandering One.  We got smart music up and running on the computer, so I'm excited to experiment with it. Hopefully, we can incorporate it with some of the new pieces we'll be handing out.

Monday, November 18, 2013

11/18/13 - Day 61

Day 61 - York Community High School
Thursday, November 18, 2013
11/18/13 6:45 am

This morning I made a few copies and organized some stacks of music. During cadet orchestra I ran the first half of class with the percussionists on The Patriot. We practiced their entrance and we started the song a few times for the soloists. I felt much more confident in my gestures this time through. Concert orchestra had a full rehearsal with winds and percussion.  I helped fill in for a missing percussionist and fixed a couple of issues with the bass drummer. With symphony orchestra I ran the Elgar. We also fixed a few spots and started the piece several times. Dynamics and phrasing need to be worked and exaggerated.

Friday, November 15, 2013

11/15/13 - Day 60

Day 60 - York Community High School
Friday, November 15, 2013
11/15/13 7:00 am

Today I arrived a little later. It was nice to sleep in a bit after conducting on the Gemini Jr. High concert last night. I'm glad it worked out so that I was able to conduct my arrangements. It was great to see the kids all dressed up and excited! We had our last audition for cadet orchestra come in this morning. He played his viola excerpts very well. I made some final adjustments in the auditorium on stage during first period. I ran the warm up and worked on a few issues in The Patriot with the cadet orchestra. Third period we worked on balance and dynamics in Gesu Bambino. We also ran the piece successfully. During fourth period the choir and a small group of strings worked through Vivaldi. Fifth period I had about 10 minutes with the symphony orchestra to work on Elgar.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

11/14/13 - Day 59

Day 59 - York Community High School
Thursday, November 14, 2013
11/14/13 6:45 am

A few auditions to start off the day.  I had very limited podium time today.  I did some score study and observed as Mr. O ran rehearsals. The stage is considerably warmer than the rest of the school, so a lot of students needed help with tuning. The acoustics in the auditorium are quite nice.  I spent a lot of time in the house assessing balance.  The concert orchestra had a full rehearsal with winds and percussion. The trumpets have trouble blending and there were a few points in the full orchestra pieces where the winds in struggled in general. I had the opportunity to run sections of the Elgar with the symphony orchestra.

11/13/13 - Day 58

Day 58 - York Community High School
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
11/13/13 6:45 am

This morning there was a meeting with the orchestra teachers from the elementary and middle schools. They discussed private string teachers in the area, plans for a middle school visit to the high school, and repertoire selection.  In anticapation of the performance with choir this evening, I brought some racks of chairs over to the dance studio during first period. I taught all of second period cadet orchestra. Dr. Sinclair got caught in traffic and was only able to watch the warm up in third period. However, we did have a chance to talk and discuss the first few weeks at York. During fourth period I worked with chamber ensembles and fifth period I worked a little with the symphony on Elgar. Later in the day I set up all of the lights, stands, and chairs in the dance studio. It was a late night.  We hauled the chairs and stands to the auditorium after the dance recital.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11/12/13 - Day 57

Day 57 - York Community High School
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
11/12/13 6:45 am

This morning we listened to two auditions. One was horrible, and one was good.  It's sometimes difficult to tell if the excerpts would be within reach for the students even if they did practice them extensively.  Some of the music is too difficult.  There are passages that only a few of the violinists can play.  During the prep period we heard one bass audition. I also got the electric instruments up and running; plugged them in and made sure they were tuned and all of the electronics worked. In cadet orchestra I observed and helped out as needed.  In concert orchestra I ran the warm up and worked through Gesu Bambino. We did a quality run through and then fine tuned a few spots. After rehearsal, I filled in for a violinist missing from a quarter.  I then coached a couple other chamber groups and observed full orchestra. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

11/11/13 - Day 56

Day 56 - York Community High School
Monday, November 11, 2013
11/11/13 6:45 am

We had three auditions this morning, before everyone reported to the gym for the Veterans Day assembly. The band played the Star-Spangled Banner, taps, and America the beautiful.  I taught the cadet orchestra warmup and we worked the first sections of The Patriot.  It's coming along nicely. Later in the day I worked with the symphony orchestra on Elgar.  I struggled to come up with ideas to trouble-shoot the middle section, but after brainstorming, I have some ideas.  I know that the sectionals will also help greatly.

Friday, November 8, 2013

11/8/13 - Day 55

Day 55 - York Community High School
Friday, November 8, 2013
11/8/13 6:45 am

Today started off with more auditions and then a smaller ceremony with the distinguished alumni for select students. Mr. Haggerstrom also spoke to all of the classes during their periods. The choir and band students also came to listen and ask questions. I could tell that some of them were getting a little bored with it, but it was a good experience for them and he had some great inspirational words of wisdom. We then went to the CSO to see John Williams conduct his music. It was Fantastic!!

11/7/13 - Day 54

Day 53 - York Community High School
Thursday, November 7, 2013
11/7/13 6:45 am

More auditions before school today. The cadet orchestra was dedicated to songs that Mr. O leads. I led the concert orchestra through warmups and Gesu Bambino. I focused a lot on balance and tempo.  Later in the day I set up the chairs and stands in the commons for the distinguished alumni event in the evening. It ended up being a long day 6:30 am to 9:30 pm.  The alumni event dragged on, but it was good for the students to hear the accomplishments of the alumni.  The symphony orchestra performed with Mr. Haggerstrom to open the ceremony.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

11/6/13 - Day 53

Day 52 - York Community High School
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
11/6/13 6:45 am

We started off the day with some auditions. For the most part, the symphony orchestra musicians know their parts, but a lot of the players have to fake their way through some of the tougher passages if they play them at tempo.  There are only a handful from each section that can actually execute them. Concert orchestra has quite a few more glaring errors and a much lower percentage of accurate notes.  I was able to run the concert orchestra warm up in Bb today, as well as a section of the Elgar Seranade. We listened to more auditions after school until about 6 pm.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

11/5/13 - Day 52

Day 52 - York Community High School
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
11/5/13 6:45 am

One of the cellists came in this morning to let us know that he had to see the math teacher during his audition time this morning. For good reason, this didn't go over well with Mr. O. However, he accommodated the student and the audition time was switched.  We listened to two violists from symphony orchestra before school. Then, we prepped for the day and discussed the lessons I taught on Monday. For the first time, I taught the entire class period. We played the Bb major scale, arpeggio, and chorale for a warm up and then we worked on The Patriot. Concert and symphony orchestras both had full orchestra with the winds. I observed and and followed along in the score. I'm dissapointed that I have to miss some auditions for the meeting today.  I love getting a chance to hear them all pay individually.

Monday, November 4, 2013

11/4/13 - Day 51

Day 51 - York Community High School
Monday, November 4, 2013
11/4/13 6:45 am

I was hoping to help out with the jazz band rhythm sectional, but the bassist had left and they weren't rehearsing. Instead, I spent some time preparing for my next lessons.  We discussed a plan of attack for the week. I observed and played along with cadet orchestra. I led the warm up with concert orchestra. We played the Bb scale and a chorale. Then, we worked on Gesu bambino and focused on balance.  Unfortunately, I'm growing a little tired of the piece and I feel like the students might not be particularly fond of it either. I shadowed Mr. O during the chamber ensemble rehearsals to see how he ran them. During symphony orchestra, full orchestra played through Russlan and Ludmilla.  For the second half, we played the elgar serenade. We played quite a bit of the middle section. It contains a lot of syncopation and there are three sharps in the key signature.  It needs much more work. We listened to auditions until about 5:30 after school.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

11/1/13 - Day 50

Day 50 - York Community High School
Friday, November 1, 2013
11/1/13 7:00 am

Mr. O was in an especially good mood today because we had a York alumni, John Haggerstrom from the CSO visiting today. Mark was in to tune the harpsichord and it took longer than expected. I made some photocopies. We also discussed my plans for cadet orchestra rehearsal. I led the warmup and took most of the period to work on The Patriot.  After focusing on a few trouble spots, we ran the piece to finish my segment.  During concert orchestra I mainly observed.  I played along a little bit.  I coached a couple of chamber groups.  Coaching the chamber groups has become one of my favorite parts of the student teaching experience. I'm not crazy about the stozel concerto that symphony is performing with John Haggerstrom. It sounds quite nice and the harpsichord is a great addition. We had a nice lunch with Mr. Haggerstrom following a a great symphony rehearsal.

Friday, November 1, 2013

10/31/13 - Day 49

Day 49 - York Community High School
Thursday, October 31, 2013
10/31/13 7:00 am

Planning for concert and symphony rehearsal started the day off.  Lots of kids in costume, and Mr. O included some spooky sounds in the warm up using diminished chords and sul ponticello.  During cadet orchestra I observed and played some violin with the seconds. I took about half of the period with the concert orchestra to work on Gesu bambino. We worked on the intro and played all of the way through the piece. Part of the struggle is just keeping the tempo up. There was a chord that sounded off in the closing section. I couldn't diagnose it quickly, so I chose to address it at another rehearsal.  Symphony orchestra had rehearsal with the winds for the first half of the period, then I ran some of the Elgar.  I worked some of the opening and the ending, focusing on tempo and getting the players to listen across the ensemble by hearing individual instrument sections. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10/30/13 - Day 48

Day 48 - York Community High School
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
10/30/13 7:00 am

I came in very excited to intruduce the Elgar to symphony orchestra.  We had a department meeting before school. The main topic of discussion was field trip planning. Several teachers are interested in taking their groups on longer, more expensive trips. During our first period prep time we hashed out my plans for concert and cadet rehearsals. We played through the opening of the patriot and did some good work through the section in 3/4. During symphony we played through the entire piece, but had to stop several times. The tempo got bogged down quite a bit, but we gave them a solid taste of of how the piece sounds.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10/29/13 - Day 47

Day 47 - York Community High School
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
10/29/13 7:00 am

This morning I studied scores and prepared for rehearsal and the second violin sectional. Having the first period free to prep is a huge advantage. We discussed my plan for concert orchestra and altered it drastically. Mr. O suggested that I let them play through more of the piece before I make any comments about the theory behind it. I also had some rehearsal techniques that, upon second thought, weren't the best approach. We had a guest performer today; professor of cello from southern Illinois. She played Bach suites and worked with some cello students. I filled in on cello with the cadet orchestra and ran the entire remainder of the period with the concert orchestra.  I didn't feel good about it, but after discussing it with Mr. O, I felt better about.  Symphony orchestra had a full rehearsal with winds.  After school, I led the second violins through some of the Elgar serenade for strings.

Monday, October 28, 2013

10/28/13 - Day 46

Day 46 - York Community High School
Monday, October 28, 2013
10/28/13 7:00 am

Upon my arrival we discussed possibilities for Gesu bambino as well as strategies for the patriot. I went to the copy room to pick up parts for the rest of the orchestra. The first violins in the cadet orchestra have issues with playing confidently and staying with the my tempo. They often drop a beat, while the cellos tend to rush.  Eventually everyone meets in the middle, at least, most of the time. I have to work indivIn concert orchestra, Gesu bambino seems to be well within their reach. I'll have to work on executing the measures with fermati. In discussing the piece later with mr. O, I realized that I missed a section where the soloist rests and the melody was missing because all of the first violins were playing the solo part.

10/25/13 - Day 46

Day 46 - York Community High School
Friday, October 25, 2013
10/25/13 7:00 am

As usual, I started off with the preparation of parts. After we settled on Gesu Bambino for the concert orchestra, we discussed some considerations for that piece.  Then, we discussed briefly pieces that might work with the symphony orchestra. We used Friday to brush up on earlier pieces with the cadet orchestra, so I didn't lead rehearsal. In concert orchestra we handed out parts to the soloists. During the fourth period I worked with the soloist on her part. I had to leave school early in order to meet my wife at the doctor for our first ultrasound!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10/24/13 - Day 45

Day 45 - York Community High School
Thursday, October 24, 2013
10/24/13 7:00 am

I made some copies and prepared some more parts for chamber ensembles when I arrived this morning. Secondly, we talked about my plan for concert orchestra. I had a lesson plan prepared and printed it out.  When it came time to run a portion of rehearsal, some of my strategies and plan weren't needed.  We got through another 16 bars (to the end), and I also inroduced the first section of the song. It's difficult to predict what will need work. I feel like I can predict trouble spots pretty well, but then, to my surprise they will execute something that I though would be troublesome. Or, they will struggle with something I thought would be difficult.

10/23/13 - Day 44

Day 44 - York Community High School
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
10/23/13 6:45

There was a fine arts meeting to start this morning off. I'd met most of the faculty in the department already, but it was good to fill in the gaps. After the meeting we found some chamber music for more of the groups. Then, we discussed what I would rehearse with concert orchestra. After scales, and a little bit of the rehearsal on the Soon Hee Newbold, I had my first taste of podium time. We tackled about 16 measures of music. I had the cellos clap their rhythm after they struggled initially. I did some additional counting and playing when other rhythms became difficult. The other classes were spent observing and sitting in on violin.  I coached a chamber group with one violin and 3 cellos. It was great to get immediate feedback about my performance with the concert orchestra.  We met later in the day and discussed my segments of class. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10/22/13 - Day 43

Day 43 - York Community High School
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
10/22/13 6:45

I met the vice principle this morning before school to check in and make sure my ID was on the way. I also observed the jazz band before school.  After listening to the jazz band, I prepared some parts for the patriot and tended to other logistics with parts. I spent a lot of class time observing and looking at the scores. I tuned a few instruments and fixed some pegs that were slipping. I repaired a chin-rest. In cadet orchestra, we handed out parts for the patriot and ran two other songs.  In concert orchestra I noticed the second violins struggling, so I grabbed a violin and joined them. Mr. O has suggested that I balance my viewpoints between teacher and player, so I'm trying to resist the urge to play all the time.  The symphony orchestra sounded great with the wind and percussion. It was exciting to here the full orchestra!! A lot of missed notes, but some beautiful moments as well

Monday, October 21, 2013

10/21/13 - Day 42

Day 42 - York Community High School
Monday, October 21, 2013
10/21/13 7:30

I was pretty excited to sleep in a little bit later. I was a bit nervous about the commute, but it's really only about 15-20 minutes longer that my previous commute. Working with Mr. Ostwald makes the trip worthwhile. Plus, there are some very talented players at the high school and everyone is held to a very high standard. I conducted a chorale in the first and second orchestras. Otherwise, I just aided in tuning and observed. My role at the high school is going to be much different. The level of musicianship in the top group was intimidating at first, but now it's exciting. I'm looking forward to working with the jazz ensemble tomorrow. I wish I had enough time to work with the guitar class, or the music tech class.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

10/18/13 - Day 41

Day 41 - Gemini Jr. High
Friday, October 18, 2013
10/18/13 6:45

I was excited and nervous to have the kids all to myself today.  We had rehearsal with a huge group of elementary beginners and the room was overflowing. Some of the kids showed up almost a half hour late.  It was intimidating having about 60 kids in one room without any experience in a large ensemble. After rehearsal, I went to Stevenson and taught two groups of upper strings and one group of cellists. I had seen many of them sbout an hour earlier.  The seventh and eighth graders were very squirrelly and chatty, but it was great to have one last rehearsal with each of them before we have orchestra rest next week.  Afternoon lessons at Apollo rounded out the week. One of my favorite groups of beginning violinists made up my final lesson at the district.

10/17/13 - Day 40

Day 40 - Gemini Jr. High
Thursday, October 17, 2013
10/17/13 6:30

The last morning rehearsal with chamber orchestra made me sad to think that it almost time to transition to the high school. It's amazing how talkative and energetic these kids can be at 6:30 am. It's fun to work with this group. We can get through a lot more material than with the larger groups.  After elementary rehearsal at 7, we went to Stevenson for group lessons.  Seventh and eighth grade rehearsals went well, I had the seventh graders play some of mango tango to keep things fresh.  Both classes presented me with oversized thank you cards.  The eighth graders presents me with a gemini t shirt and gift cards as well.  I was really touched to see their gratitude and comments expressed in the cards.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10/16/13 - Day 39

Day 39 - Gemini Jr. High
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
10/16/13 6:30

Today I started off helping a seventh grade violinist that performed poorly on her playing test. We worked on bowings in all blues, and corrected one fingering. In mango tango we cleared up some fingering issues. The elementary intermediate rehearsal had a low turnout.  All elementary schools had an early dismissal today, so that might have led some to believe that we didn't have rehearsal. Because  only 2 violas, 4 violins, and 1 bass turned up, Mr. Radtke had a private lesson with the bass student and I led the upper strings. The 7th grade rehearsal was less than stellar. I was very happy with the 8th grade rehearsal. We didn't have any group lessons with elementary students in the afternoon, so we had time to reflect with Dr. Sinclair and Mr. Radtke on my lesson with the 8th graders.

Monday, October 14, 2013

10/15/13 - Day 38

Day 38 - Gemini Jr. High
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
10/15/13 6:30

Chamber orchestra rehearsal went pretty well.  We worked on gavotte and romanza. The elementary morning orchestra rehearsal start this week.  It was slightly chaotic having 50 students in a room that is new to them with instruments they have only been playing for a month. 7th and 8th grade orchestra rehearsals went well.  I'm excited to have this entire week devoted to my arrangements.  I have to brainstorm some more ideas to run more effective rehearsals and encourage more people to improvise during the solo section. In the afternoon, we gave lessons at Nelson to beginners. Two violin students with IEPs make for a challenging lesson, but we have a lot of fun. During the cello lesson, one student really struggles and needs the majority of my attention while the other patiently waits for us to catch up.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

10/11/13 - Day 38

Day 38 - Gemini Jr. High
Wednesday, October 11, 2013
10/11/13 6:30

The last of the morning playing tests were heard this morning. The range of ability is astounding.  There are students that come in and play the excerpts perfectly and others that struggle to play more than a few correct notes. I'd like to create some simplified parts for students that are seriously struggling, but I only have four more days at the school. We played through the solo section of my blues arrangement in concert orchestra, and after finishing up the playing tests in sinfonia, I led them through a little bit of Feliz Navidad. In the afternoon, we travelled to Apollo and had three great lessons with upper string groups. Looking forward to a nice three day weekend!

10/10/13 - Day 37

Day 37 - Gemini Jr. High
Thursday, October 10, 2013
10/10/13 6:30

I listened to several more playing tests this morning. I ran out of space for video, so I've been recording just audio instead. After the morning playing tests we had a little prep time before heading to Stevenson for lessons with intermediate vioinists. Then, I finished up the playing tests with concert orchestra and led them through some of my blues arrangement. I couldn't quite get through all of the sinfonia students, so I'll have to finish them tomorrow.  In the afternoon, we went to Nelson to teach two large groups of upper strings and a pair of cellists.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

10/9/13 - Day 36

Day 36 - Gemini Jr. High
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
10/9/13 6:30

Another day full of playing tests. We're past the halfway point now! Some players sound great. And others really struggle.  I'm finding notes that everyone misses. Particularly, a lot of students playing a C sharp when we're in the key of G. One student told me that they didn't even know how to play a c natural.  I've also noticed that just about all of the violins struggle with the C sharp on the g string. The third finger is never high enough. On the bright side, it is nice to get some one on one time with each student and hear them play individually.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

10/8/13 - Day 35

Day 35 - Gemini Jr. High
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
10/8/13 6:30

The first batch of playing tests started before school today and went pretty well. They feel rushed to me, but we have a lot of students to get through. A couple of kids bombed, but most did pretty well. Testing 100 students in one week is quite a challenge. They have never done playing tests at gemini and all of the students are very nervous. The more playing tests I hear, the more skeptical I become about some of our repitoire choices. I like running rehearsal a lot more than running the testing. Group lessons were kind of challenging at Nelson this afternoon. Group lessons with different levels of ability and a short amount of time to work with!

10/4/13 - Day 34

Day 34 - Gemini Jr. High
Friday, October 4, 2013
10/4/13 6:30 AM

One violist has come in to take advantage of morning rehearsals three times now. She has improved greatly, but doesn't practice enough at home.  After the lesson, i made copies and prepared for the middle school orchestra rehearsals. Then, we travelled to Stevenson and gave group lessons.  There was a tornado drill that cut one lesson short.  In 7th grade rehearsal we ran through mango tango and plowed ahead in all blues. In 8th grade rehearsal Mr. Radtke led them in Feliz Navidad while I roamed in the lower string sections. In the afternoon we travelled to Nelson and gave group lessons.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

10/3/13 - Day 33

Day 33 - Gemini Jr. High
Thursday, October 3, 2013
10/3/13 6:30 AM

I sat in on the cello and viola sections for morning chamber orchestra. The violas seem to be the section that struggles the most. I was dissapointed that a violinist signed up for extra help at 6:30 and never showed up. A cello student showed up for help on his parts and we made a lot of progress in the 20 minutes before school. Then, we gave three group violin lessons at Stevenson.  In 7th grade orchestra we drilled a few spots in mango tango and then ran it. We also progressed a little further in all blues to a section we hadn't touched yet.  In 8th grade orchestra we sight read Feliz Navidad and played a little further in duke's juke. In the afternoon, we gave a cello lesson and two large group lessons to beginning violinists and violists.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10/2/13 - Day 32

Day 32 - Gemini Jr. High
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
10/2/13 7:30 AM

Today was a late start day for the students.  There was a faculty meeting at 7:30. Topics included: a new format for parent teacher conferences, standards for conduct throughout the building, and the new system to use google docs with the students. After the meeting I emailed my charts and mp3s to the high school teacher for orchestra day.  7th grade orchestra focused on mango tango.  Lots of slow work on pitches is still needed? 8th grade orchestra rehearsal was devoted to we are the world. We worked on a few tricky bowings and rhythms.  In the afternoon, I gave violin and cello lessons at Twain.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

10/1/13 - Day 31

Day 31 - Gemini Jr. High
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
10/1/13 6:30 AM

Chamber strings started the day off. We handed out some new music, read through three pieces, and practiced playing the melody from memory on Appalachian spring.  A violin student showed up for extra help at 7:15.  I left rehearsal to help her and Mr. Radtke took over rehearsal.  We didn't have any elementary lessons in the morning, so I was able to prepare bell ringers and organize music.  We continued our work on "mango tango" with the 7th graders and "we are the world" with the 8th graders.  I still have the feeling that mango tango is too difficult for the 7th graders.  We're still fixing notes and fingerings. Luckily, my arrangement of "All Blues" is easy.  In the afternoon we travelled to Nelson and gave cello, viola, and violin lessons to 2nd year players.

9/30/13 - Day 30

Day 30 - Gemini Jr. High
Monday, September 30, 2013
9/30/13 6:30 AM

In addition to the cello students, we had three students come in for extra help this morning.  One violist, one violinist, and one bassist.  It was difficult splitting up the time evenly, but I roamed between the three of them and gave them little sections to work on with practice tips. I have debated about how to best utilize class time.  Should we focus on one song a day?  Should we drill a few sections in each song to keep them all fresh?  I find myself shushing the class a lot, but as long as I nip it in the bud, they usually respond well and stay focused.

9/27/13 - Day 29

Day 29 - Gemini Jr. High
Friday, September, 27, 2013
9/27/13 6:30 AM

Friday always puts people in a good mood, but it also makes the kids a little squirrelly.  The day started off with a viola lesson. She has made some solid progress.  Seeing some of the weaker players individually makes me think that we may have chosen a piece that is too challenging.  The upper strings are really struggling with F natural, C natural, and B flat.  The key signature of D minor might be a little advanced for this group.  Both full ensemble rehearsals went really well. I taught the 8th graders how to chop.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

9/26/13 - Day 28

Day 28 - Gemini Jr. High
Thursday, September 26, 2013
9/26/13 6:30 AM

Chamber orchestra first thing in the morning after a refreshing bike ride to school.  If it was only a couple of miles closer, I would bike a lot more often.  We are playing a more advanced version of Pachabel's cannon.  Most of the kids can execute the sixteenth notes but, many struggle with the bowing and a few of them look totally lost. It's so cute to see all the beginners receiving their instruments.  The excitement as they open the cases is priceless.  The violins greatly outnumber the rest of the instruments, but I guess that is to be expected.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

9/25/13 - Day 27

Day 27 - Gemini Jr. High
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
9/25/13 6:30 AM

I'll admit I was a bit nervous about my first observation today.  One particularly driven violist came in for a lesson before school. We drilled 3 sections from Irish Yuletide.  I gave her some tips for practicing and I think she left the lesson feeling a lot more confident.  I've come to the realization that some songs need to be run slower tempos for the struggling students. After the lesson, I delivered some instruments to the elementary schools, copied  music, wrote the bell ringer on the board, and prepared handouts. We tackled another eight measures in mango tango during concert rehearsal and closed with bohemian stomp. During the sinfonia rehearsal we worked strictly in my arrangement.  In the afternoon I taught one bass lesson and one violin lesson.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

9/24/13 - Day 26

Day 26 Gemini Jr. High
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
9/24/13 6:30 AM

Morning rehearsal with the "string quartet" went well. It should really just be called a chamber orchestra. Mr. Radtke took the cellos out for a sectional while I worked with the upper strings.  We ran through the Vivaldi concerto for two trumpets, Appalachian spring, and made sure that everyone had the third position fingerings for pachabel cannon.  I always feel more confident with the 8th graders.  It may be because they are more confident players. D minor is still posing some difficulty for the 7th concert orchestra. We focused on eight measures and practiced taking the ds coda.

Monday, September 23, 2013

9/23/13 - Day 25

Day 25 - Gemini Jr. High
Monday, September 23, 2013
9/23/13 6:30 AM

Today started off with a bit of a surprise. I arrived to find the room locked and 3 students waiting outside the school. I went to the office to find a key.  After letting the kids in the building I went to the office a second time and luckily a secretary was able to let us in the room. There were two violinists and one violist, but they were there for a group cello lesson. It went very well. After my co-op teacher arrived, he informed me that he had meetings and I would get to run 7th and 8th grade orchestras, as well as the afternoon lessons with the beginners. I ran to Melzer elementary to drop off some essential elements books and then helped with the intermediate students at Mark Twain elementary. The middle school rehearsals went well and so did the afternoon lessons at Twain.

Friday, September 20, 2013

9/20/13 - Day 24

Day 24 - Gemini Jr. High
Friday, September 20, 2013
9/20/13 7:30 AM

I'm ready for the weekend.  I love this work, but it is exhausting. I finally got some video footage from the eighth grade orchestra. It is always difficult to watch myself on the podium, but I couldn't wait to get home and watch the lesson. I taught three violin students at Stevenson elementary, and then ran 7th and 8th grade orchestra rehearsals. A little Friday squirreliness set in, but we still got a lot accomplished. I want to have free reign over class, but I understand that I'm a STUDENT teacher and I must follow some directions and instructions.

9/19/13 - Day 23

Day 23 - Gemini Jr. High
Thursday, September 19, 2013
9/19/13 - 6:30 AM

In the morning rehearsal we spot checked the four pieces that we have in the folder.  Then we ran them. After that, I travelled to the six elementary schools with Ron, the rep from Quinlan and Fablish. Ron is a good guy. I actually met him about a month ago because he works with my drummer. It was a lot of work hauling and unloading instruments. I think the job was a lot easier with two people. it would have been tough with just one. I didn't learn much about teaching today-just the logistics that go on behind the scenes. On the flip side, I did get to see the huge Quinlan and Fabish operation in Burr Ridge and network with some of the VPs and employees.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

9/18/13 - Day 22

Day 22 - Gemini Jr. High
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
9/18/13, 7:30 AM

The first task of the day was kind of tedious. Sorting out which students from recruitment signed up for their instrument rental. I compared the instrument rental names to the master call list to see who had been called and if they were all set up for next week.  I had a bell ringer and lesson plan all set after the edTPA meeting last night. What a difference between today and yesterday. Yesterday, I didn't have a good plan for the concert orchestra on Mango Tango and we didn't get enough accomplished. Today I made real progress. Rhythms were written on the board before class. I separated the left hand and right hand skills as we rehearsed. I took considerably slower tempos. Then we taught a bass lesson and and a group viola lesson.

Monday, September 16, 2013

9/17/13 - Day 21

Day 21 - Gemini Jr. High
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
9/17/13, 6:30 AM

I had a mini freak out this morning when I didn't see my ID Card in my bag. I arrived at 6:30 this morning and after totally emptying my bag I found it. I ran the morning rehearsal and we made it through 4 songs!  Two of the songs were songs were previosly played several times. One was sight read and the fourth had been read once before. After morning rehearsal, I shared the google docs (playing test rubric, tardy policy, participation policy, and playing test instructions) with Mr. Radtke. It took longer than anticipated because I'm not allowed to share with people outside of the vandercook email system.  The rest of the day consisted of me running 7th grade orchestra  as well and 8th grade orchestra rehearsals in their entirety. We travelled to Nelson middle school where I taught one cello student, three violinists, and one violist.

9/16/13 - Day 20

Day 20 - Gemini Jr. High
Monday, September 16, 2013
9/16/13, 7:30 AM

Upon my arrival today I continued preparing the handouts for the upcoming playing test (my idea).  I hope this gets the students to take ownership of their performance and participation in class.  I've noticed a handful of kids that just pretend to play until I look and them. Then, they scramble to find the notes. I can't tell how much of it is lack of skill, and how much is lack of effort.  Because of the different skill levels, I plan to grade the playing tests based on the amount of improvement displayed.
I'm becoming a little overwhelmed with the amount of tasks assigned by my co-operating teacher and VanderCook.  The prospect of finishing my degree, and the students keep me pushing on.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

9/13/13 - Day 19

Day 19 - Gemini Jr. High
Friday, September 13, 2013
9/13/13, 7:30 AM

HAPPY FRIDAY! A full week with elementary lessons, middle school rehearsals, recruitment, and a gig last night leaves me ready for the weekend.  That being said, I feel a sense of purpose and general excitement when I enter the school and hear little voices welcoming "Mr. Hellermann" to school.  I've been spending the 7th and 8th grade rehearsal periods assessing the students on their playing position and posture.  I helped devise the rubric and walk around the room with post-it notes giving the students scores and comments.  It helps to learn the last of the names that I can't recall.  It's important to have all of the students names down and of course the loud and confident students are easy to remember.   However, it's the quiet students to whom I want to reach out and call by name.

9/12/13 - Day 18

Day 18 - Gemini Jr. High
Thursday, September 12, 2013
9/12/13 7:30 AM

After leaving the school at 7:30 last night and arriving at 6:30 this morning, I'm a little spent.  I ran the rehearsal before school and we got a lot accomplished.  I find myself brainstorming and thinking about the students at all times of the day.  The full immersion has me coming up with new ideas for teaching when I'm in my car, eating lunch, or (less desirably) when I'm trying to go to bed.  I think a lot of the kids really like me and those that I don't "have" yet are in my sights.  I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to help with the second night of elementary recruitment.  It's tricky because I need to earn money, but student teaching is like a non-paying full-time job.

9/11/13 - Day 17

Day 17- Gemini Jr. High
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
9/11/13, 7:30 AM

I came into school excited to run both 7th and 8th grade orchestra rehearsals.  I wish we could work on more than one song with each group.  We have an idea of what the songs are going to be for the first concert.  I suggested that we solidify our choices in order to be fully prepared for our performance, but I'm still somewhat nervous that we haven't even sight read two of the pieces for each orchestra that we plan on playing.  Rehearsals went well.  A new seating arrangement has put a halt to some of the chatting that was going on in the second violin section.

After traveling to the elementary schools to recruit, the interested kids came to Gemini tonight to sign up for band or orchestra.  We had about 20 kids from the middle school volunteer to help.  It was more help than we needed.  I helped keep them in line and tried to keep the lines for Quinlin and Fabish moving in the Gym.