8 11 2008

So, I woke up at 4AM this morning, in time to dress in what seemed like a million layers so that I would stay warm for my ‘wonderful’ cold walk at 5AM over to the Northgate Mall. Why in the world was I walking to the NorthGate Mall at 5AM? Well, I was meeting two of my professors who were picking me up so that we could all head up to SMC (Saskatchewan Music Conference) in Saskatoon. The conference technically started last night (Thursday) but the three of us (plus one other student) were unable to make it up to Saskatoon for Thursday (it was only rehearsals anyway, so not a big problem).

The first session this morning (Friday) was at 8:30, unfortunetely we arrived 10 minutes late, due to to construction in Saskatoon. The first session I took in was working with a Jazz Ensemble; the person working with the group was Chase Sanborn. To be honest, I’m not sure if I really took much away fromt that session as Chase wasn’t working with the audience (what should have been happening) but was working with the ensemble (instead of just using them for examples like what usually happens in that situation). I think at the end of the session (slightly over time) he realized that he hadn’t paid much attention to the audience and asked if there were questions. I kind of thought “well, how are we going to have questions when you haven’t addressed us in any way what so ever”, needless to say, there were no questions.

The second session I took in was really good (besides the noise from the construction at the hotel 😦 ). Actually, it was better than really good, I took a lot away from that presentation. This session was geared towards band, but could be used for any sort of music really. The session was titled “Rehearsing and Practicing: Teaching Practice Skills in the Bandroom” and the presentor was Dr. Gillian MacKay out of the University of Toronto.

Gillian focused on how to get students to actually practice and how we as teachers can model good practice behaviours in class. She had four truths, followed by four principles, along with sixteen things to try. She emphasized the need of both a warm-up and a warm-down; actually she more stressed the always forgotten warm-down. One particular ‘thing to try’ that really sticks out in my mind is “Make it Obvious”, be blunt about what you want students to do. Don’t tell them to just practice, but tell them “practice measures 7-14, specifically the dotted quarter to eigth rhythm (etc)”. I really think that I took a lot of information away from that session that I know I will be putting into practice with my trumpet student. I learnt a lot about how to get students to practice (without having their parents ‘hound’ them about it).

The last session (besides the keynote address) that I took in was also a great session. This last session was actually the last of three (I didn’t know that) and the presenter had actually been building upon session after session for three hours (and some people had stayed with him that entire time). The session (s) was (were) titled “Three Dimensional Rehearsing” and were geared towards choral. The speaker was Geoffrey Boers.

The first thing Geoffrey did was hand out music to everyone in the room (they were the ‘good old music books’, you know, the ones that are completely falling apart, almost disintergrating). The majority of us had to share as there wasn’t enough (which is normal), and we all sang the pieces. I found it rather interesting that at the very first session (I found out) he started with the absolute basics. He began by working completely with breath, not worrying about words or notes, just breath. He then moved from there to the notes and eventually (in the last session) put it all together. But it wasn’t just “okay, sing!” no, we (in the last session) started at the end of the piece and worked our way backwards. He shared his reason for doing this, which I think is a great reason! When we go from beginning to end then we are constantly thinking about how we don’t know what is going to be next (because we haven’t done it yet). On the other hand, if we go backwards, then we know what is coming because we have already done it. I thought this was a very interesting philosophy, and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

I am going to steer clear of talking about the keynote address on the other hand as, after talking to a few people, I am not the only one who thought it was completely irrelevant and almost pointless.

Unfortunetely (well not really) I had to come home tonight (Friday) as my family is coming into town (hence why I am stil awake after being awake since 4AM) and of course I was not about to stay in Saskatoon until tomorrow night, while my family is in Regina.

All in all, I think that (from what I was able to partake in) it was and is going to continue to be a great conference! Some people from my class had never been to a conference before now, so it was very different for them. For myself, it was kind of nice being back at a conference (of some sort) as I enjoy being around people who you can relate to as you are all there for the same (or similar) reasons.




2 responses

9 11 2008

It sounds like the confrenece was really good and that you learnt a lot of interesting things. Do you play any instruments other then trumpet? Are you wanting to become a band instructor or just continue doing private lessons?

10 11 2008
Andrea Prizeman

Thanks for the comment! I did enjoy the small part of the conference that I was able to take in. I play a number of different instruments, my major being trombone.
The degree I am currently in will allow me to become a high school band teacher, which is one of my goals in life.

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