Spring Concert: Sixth Grade Edition
Sixth Graders performed their concert a week after the seventh and eighth grade students. Following a larger concert with the older students, this performance always feels relatively simple and easy to pull off. You may be thinking, “Why do your sixth grade students perform on a completely separate concert than your seventh and eighth graders?”
Two words: fire code
The first two and half years in my position, I had one large performance with everyone. I loved having all of my students together, because you could see all of the growth and potential from each grade in one place. But, with 240 students from all three grades, plus family members all seated in our auditorium, we were left with standing room only. So at the suggestion of my administration, I decided to split off sixth grade.
Check out the Sixth Grade Chorus portion of the concert below. Keep reading to find out more about our set-up, pros/cons of splitting up into two concerts, and some back story about this particular performance.
Sixth Grade Model: Sharing With Band
My school already had this model in place with our band program. After talking with my colleagues about how to work everything out (I love my fine arts department!) we came to the conclusion that it would be fun to combine sixth grade together, and we’ve stuck with this design for the last three years.
Why I've loved sharing with Band
Opportunity for student to support their friends in another performing arts class
Less stress- because I’m only responsible for half of the concert
Dress rehearsals run smoother with two teachers present for management.
Great chance to discuss and demonstrate proper audience etiquette with students
The downside of sharing with Band.
Extra rehearsal/performance to plan and set-up
At this concert, we performed first and band went second. After we transitioned off-stage, several parents tried to leave with their students, and I had to explain to them the importance of attending the entire concert. I stressed that the band students and parents were respectful to watch us, and that our job as good performers and audience members was to do the same.
Behind the scenes
I use my Clavinova to record my own piano tracks for sixth grade. This eliminates the need to haul a piano down into the front of our auditorium, since Band performs on the stage. My classroom piano has a USB port, which allows me to transfer files to my laptop. Most electric pianos record files in MIDI format, so I use a website to convert all of my files to mp3. Once converted, I upload all tracks to a folder in Google Drive to make a playlist.
6th grade Band also featured several soloists, they just aren't listed in the program.
Rolling With The Punches
We performed our most challenging piece, Praise the King, first. This was the last piece I added to the Spring repertoire, and I was super impressed at how much they accomplished on it. If I had introduced it earlier in the semester, I definitely think they would have knocked it out of the park with additional dynamics, phrasing, etc.
The kids and I all felt the best about LIttle Horses and Night Winds. Those two pieces felt like a breeze.
Our final song was definitely a learning experience.
We were joined by the Orchestra from our neighboring middle school. It was GREAT that they could join us! But, during the song, you'll notice in the video that the Chorus, the Orchestra, and the track weren't quite in sync with one another. In fact, I turn around about half way through the piece and signaled my husband to cut the track. But, the show must go on. Everyone involved did a remarkable job handling the situation, and made it to the end.
I was more amazed at how my students handled this hiccup than anything else in our entire performance! They did so well and handled themselves so professionally!
Note to self: make sure to pencil in plenty of practice time to work out timing issues :)