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Secondary Ensemble Considerations
Depending on how your school and schedule will be structured, ensemble music educators will need to consider several areas of adjustment for Fall, 2021.
Curriculum and course offerings will need to focus on basics and skills needed for successful large ensemble rehearsal and performance, and in some cases a variety of entry-level courses for instrumental and vocal music at all levels (i.e., elementary, middle, and high school).
Scheduling at the middle and high school level will need modification to include more beginning and intermediate level offerings. This can include music educators with lower enrollment numbers in upper level courses supporting additional beginning opportunities or different kinds of music classes for students
Class sizes may change due to co-horting. This may lead to smaller ensembles, fewer or shorter meetings, and unbalanced instrumentation. Consider resources from the Creative Repertoire Initiative, the Connecticut Music Educators Association’s Virtual Ensemble Project, or others with “flex ensemble” resources.
Concerts may not yet be allowed, so alternative methods of performance and sharing should be considered. Some examples may be live performance broadcasts from the classroom, hosting a classroom solo-ensemble festival, or individual projects shared with parents.
Teachers could consider prioritizing individual skills over ensemble skills, including etudes, recording, music analysis, and creativity (improvisation/composition).
Teachers may also prioritize the foundational elements of a comprehensive music curriculum. These include a broad range of standards across the artistic processes of creating and responding. Improvisation, arranging, composing, analyzing music, and evaluating performances provide fertile ground for engaging music instruction.
It will be important to have assigned spots for your students. This will ensure proper spacing and should you need to contact trace, you will have a record of who was in proximity to whom.
Place different colored stickers on the floor that identify the choir’s spacing. Example, 7th grade choir: Blue dots, 8th grade choir: purple
Place the same colored sticker in their music folder
You could assign numbers on the dots and each student is assigned a number
Dr. James Weaver is the Director of Performing Arts and Sports for the National Federation of High School State Associations. He has been a teacher and administrator at the district, state, and national level. As the Director of Performing Arts and Sports, Dr. Weaver oversees student participation, professional development, and awareness of performing arts activities throughout the nation’s 19,500+ high schools. Dr. Weaver has been a part of several national projects for performing arts educators including serving as the co-chair of the International Performing Arts Aerosol Study, creating copyright compliance resources, and developing national trainings for performing arts adjudicators. Dr. Weaver specializes in educational administration and leadership focusing on professional development and teacher job satisfaction and retention. Dr. Weaver has degrees from Concordia College - Moorhead, Northern State University, and the University of South Dakota.
Lynn Tuttle (LynnT@nafme.org) is Director of Public Policy, Research, and Professional Development for the National Association for Music Education. Her duties include supporting music educators and state leaders in the areas of standards, assessment, research, teacher evaluation, and the interconnection of federal and state policy. She also manages the production of NAfME’s 6 publications for the field. She is primary author of NAfME’s ESSA resources, and is the staff lead for the Association’s 5-year Teaching with Primary Sources grant from the Library of Congress. Lynn holds degrees from Peabody Conservatory of Music (valedictorian), Johns Hopkins University (Phi Beta Kappa), Arizona State University. Lynn continues to teach, study, and perform as a flutist and singer, and is the mother of two young musicians.
Justin Bills, Choir Director, Utah
Jennifer Brooks, Band Director, Oregon
Craig Manteuffel, Performing Arts, KSHSAA
Kyle Mills, Manager of Performing Arts, NFHS
Bob Morrison, Director, Arts Ed New Jersey
Marcia Neel, Music Education Consultant
Amy Perras, Instructional Supervisor for Music, Art and Library Media, Connecticut
Darin Au, Council for Guitar Education member, Honolulu, HI
Brett Nolker, Society for Music Teacher Education, Greensboro, NC
Ryan Shaw, Society for Music Teacher Education, East Lansing, Michigan
Michael Stone, Chair, Council of Music Program Leaders, Bakersfield, CA
Rob Lyda, Chair, Council for General Music Education, Auburn, AL
Jennifer Kauffman, Council for General Music Education member, Annapolis, MD
Anna Halliday, Council for General Music Education member, Montevallo, AL
Dean Luethi, Chair, Council for Choral Education, Pullman, WA
Susan Smith, Chair, Collegiate Advisory Council, Troy, AL
Richard Holmes, Council for Band Education member, Dallas, NC
Corren Duffy, Council for Choral Education member, Missoula, MT