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.