C-Learning, not E-Learning
Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Some e-musings by David Law.
- Introducing jazz scales and improvisation techniques. Provide a backing track, and encourage your players to record a solo.
- Recording a piano reduction. Ask your players to record their parts as if they were playing a solo work. Encourage rich and detailed musicianship.
- Introducing advanced techniques – bowing styles, complicated rhythmic structures, double-tonguing, range builders – and allow time for private implementation and experimentation.
Excuse the frankness, but you need to be realistic about what you can achieve. Are you working hard? Yes. Do you need to work way harder? No. Don’t try and mix a 72-track video/audio student project with editing software you have never used before in one day. This takes much longer than you realise. (Did I make this mistake? Absolutely, I did.) BE REALISTIC. Have you seen @pubchoir on Instagram? 3500+ voices. Amazing. Impossible for you to do in one day, even a weekend, so forget about it. Stick to what you believe is achievable and be proud of this. Work smarter, not harder.
- Setting weekly, achievable, homework tasks that can be easily uploaded. This may include catch-up or extension work, too. Be sure to include a due-date or time-frame to assist with accountability.
- Asking your students to record several different examples of newly-discovered extended techniques.
- Encourage your students to record examples of their daily warm-ups.
- Have your students show you a difficult section of their part, explain the processes they’ve used to overcome it, and then play it for you.
- Listening to a piece whilst screen-sharing the score. Assist your students to follow along – some may have never seen/followed a score before.
- Viewing some of the world’s finest band and orchestras as they perform ‘the classics’ for your ensemble. This may lead your students to discover some of the great composers and masterworks on their own. Have a viewing party (with popcorn, of course!)
- Discussing ensemble-enriching concepts such as tutti tone colour and balance, music history, compositional devices, etc.
- Analysing the original version of an arrangement or orchestration that you might be currently rehearsing.
David Law is the Head of Performance Music at Redeemer Lutheran College, Conductor of the Queensland Youth Orchestra Wind Ensemble, and Musical Director and Conductor of the Queensland Wind Orchestra.