Stompin’ In The Summer Performance
We are very proud of the work our Soundscapes kids did during our summer program. Take a look at what they did!
My Camera is Now the Audience
For any studying musician it is important to have goals. When I my own practice the drum set I write down a list of things I want to accomplish by the end of a day, week, or month. When I check off all the things I wanted to work on, this gives me a feeling of accomplishment and helps my playing move forward. When you are a 7 year old beginning musician, it can be a little more difficult to feel that sense of achievement and affirmation especially when performance opportunities are not as frequent as our classes.
In my opinion, it is very important that our Soundscapes kids feel like they’re doing well and are recognised for their accomplishments big and small. I’ve seen music give our kids a feeling of pride and confidence which translates into all aspects of their lives. This powerful tool helps to build them in so many ways and enable the conquering of greater challenges. So I thought, “How can these kids reflect on their short-term successes during the week? How can I build them up more than simply telling them ‘Great job?’ .” So I thought of a solution.
I use my video camera to create a performance environment to help motivate my students. My camera is now the audience. There is a certain amount of concentration required when performing at a concert that is very similar to when we record. The performance is the culmination of a musician’s work so it’s important to play the material the best of their ability right then and there.
During the week I might say, “All right guys, we gotta get this done by Thursday because we are recording!”. If we don’t have a Soundscapes concert for a few weeks, this keeps the class exciting and helps push them along.
They also love watching themselves after we record. Sometimes they hear mistakes and ask me to record another take. Self reflection also helps to build their sense of identity as a musician.
Percussion & Bucket Band Instructor
The Baltimore Seminario—a First for the U.S. El Sistema Movement
By: Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth
In Venezuela’s El Sistema, a “seminario” is a special intensive learning experience. That’s right — sometimes the typical four hours a day, six days a week of music learning is not intensive enough. Teachers and administrators are often inspired to call for a seminario whenever any kind of unusual opportunity presents itself. For example, a great bassoon teacher will be visiting our nucleo — we must have a four-day seminario of all bassoon students in the region! A group of Abreu Fellows is in town — we must have a weeklong seminario for them to help us prepare to perform Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on Saturday! Or Jon Deak, a composer from New York who loves to spark students’ composition, has come to Venezuela — we will have a composition seminario, even though we don’t usually study composition! The sheer enthusiasm around the opportunity allows for extraordinarily ambitious learning, accelerated beyond the already-fast pace of El Sistema development.
The El Sistema movement in the U.S. just had its first seminario, on May 7, 2011.
Solomon, Nasheim, Lance and the huddle
Over the weekend, Nasheim and Lance proudly represented the percussion department of Soundscapes at the first meeting of El Sistema USA groups in Baltimore. I think some of their amazing experience translated back to our percussion class this past Monday.
I am always looking for ways to instill a sense of self motivation in all my students, no matter whether it’s Soundscapes second graders, or my older private drum lesson students. I find that is far more effective than telling a kid to do something because its good for them. If it’s coming from them,