Whew! You made it(or you’re about to make it through the concert). You and your students put your blood, sweat, and tears into preparation. You might be in survival mode at this point and not even thinking about those few days in between the concert and break. Don’t sweat it – I’ve got a few ideas for what you can do!
Post Concert High School Band Activities
I like to break down reflection for my high schoolers into 3 categories: what the band did as a whole, what your section did, and what you did. This gives students the opportunity to focus on the big picture and the details simultaneously. You can reflect on everything from intonation to dynamics and practicing/preparation to stage presence/behavior. You can also have a discussion on what you want to start, stop, and continue for next concert.
2. Instrument Switch
If your concert leaves you with a few days to spare before break, try an instrument switch. Students pair up with a member from a different section and the students spend 2-4 days teaching each other their primary instrument. You can allow your students to pick their partner orrrrr if you’re looking to fill out a certain section, you can assign the student you may want to switch to the instrument you need covered.
This instrument switch challenges students to think critically about how they play their instrument since they are teaching it to another student. This also gives students a productive way to spend their time leading up to break(and may even encourage some practicing of secondary instruments over break!)
3. Cleaning & Organizing
Instruments need cleaning and polishing to be ready for the next semester. Music needs to be turned in and sorted. The band room and closets could probably use some love(okay, maybe a lot of cleaning love). Now’s the time to take care of all that marching band cleaning you never did since you went right into concert season… 🙂 I like to assign certain sections to have a task that way I know everyone has something to do. Use help from students and don’t clean the whole band room yourself!
Post Concert Middle School Band Activities
When reflecting with middle schoolers, it’s important to encourage them to use music specific language. It can be easy for them to simplify their language as much as possible but keep them accountable to using the music vocabulary you’ve been going over in class. In addition to reflecting on the whole performance, I have them reflect on their personal preparation and practice habits and have them make a plan for how they might improve for the next concert.
2. High School Buddies
Depending on how your school day is set up and the flexibility of your high school students(some of them may have shortened days or college classes that have already ended), you may be able to get a few to come over to the middle school. These should be strong players (you don’t want bad habits creeping in). They can lead a sectional or give short private lessons. This gives your students the opportunity to hear from someone other than you and can be a great recruiting tool for the high school.
3. Instrument Care & Maintenance
This is the perfect time to go over instrument care & maintenance, especially with 6th graders. Even if this is something that you have gone over in the past, it is definitely worth restating. Check out these articles from Band Directors Talk Shop for some ideas of what you might talk about with student.
Post Concert Elementary Activities
1. Reflecting (even at the kindergarten level)
If possible, watch a recording. It is really powerful for kids to not only hear what they sound like but also see what they are doing while they are up on the stage. With your younger kids, you can ask simpler questions like did we talk in between songs?, were we using our singing voices the entire song or did we use our shouting voice?, etc. and ask them whether what they did was appropriate or not. With your older elementary students, you can have them write reflections and discuss in groups before sharing with the entire class.
Be sure to remind students that they are not to single out any one person and to choose critiques that apply to a group of students. It’s a great time to talk about kindness and bring in a little character ed into your lessons.
2. Get Moving
The combination of being stuck inside for recess and the excitement of break just around the corner can cause little bodies that can’t manage to stay still.
Here are some ideas on how to get your kids moving:
- Rhythm Chairs – a great game for upper elementary/middle school. Check out this post on how to play.
- Create your own folk dance – check out this free resource on creating your own
- Musical Ice Skating/Snowball Fight – fun for learning form while moving – check out this post for details
- Sleigh Ride Cups Routine – who doesn’t love a good cups routine? See below for the routine.
3. Calm Them Down
Sometimes it can feel like your kids are out of control and really just need some time to calm down.
Here are some ideas to calm your students:
- Yoga/Mindfulness – these exercises are great because your kids can move a bit without getting too out of control. If your school isn’t keen on using the word yoga, you can easily use the word “mindfulness” in it’s place. Check out this Christmas themed yoga for kids series and this polar bear themed yoga series for kids
- Meditations – sometimes your kids just need to breathe a little bit. Check out this sleigh ride to Santa meditation and this winter wonderland meditation. These meditations are a bit lengthy but you could easily do just a few minutes.
- Coloring – color by note sheets are my tried and true post concert, day before break activities(especially since music is usually shorter on the day before break, there’s hardly any time to get something done). I will pop on The Nutcracker and give my students a few sheets that they can bring home. Check out these Nutcracker Color by Note sheets, Multi-Holiday Color by Note sheets, Winter Color by Note sheets, and Deck the Halls Color by Note sheets.