Wednesdays are notebook days in choir. We are a little out-of-synch with notebooks, so everyone had a different assignment today.
My advanced choir listened to two different versions of "Betelehemu", a Nigerian carol, which they are preparing for our Winter Concert. I like having my students listen to their music performed by other choirs, especially in a foreign language. Their diction is much better when they are hearing another example than myself, and they are more excited to practice, rather than writing it off as some hard language. Having students write about what they hear helps solidify their ideas and what they've noticed. When I take time for these variations from the norm, my choir responds better in the rehearsal, especially since we run on block schedule. We had an effective rehearsal of the piece afterward.
Later this afternoon, Songbirds was coming in the door and I still hadn't thought of an assignment for them (they did "Betelehemu" last week). Something popped up in my twitter feed about the new MySpace and I had an idea. We talked briefly about the drops of youth on Facebook (including them) and I asked my students to write a bit about what they think of it and social media right now.
We watched this trailer for the new MySpace, and I played around on the site a little bit, listening to bits of music, we noticed there were many new pop artists (Bieber, Beyonce, right on the front page), plus classic 90's groups like TLC. I asked to write their reactions, and whether or not they'd join. Who knows, maybe Jamily will end up with an account soon here. I'm curious to read the responses. I think some were interested & excited about the music available... so, we'll see how it all pans out.
I love notebooks because I can ask open questions in their music-writing space! Leading up to this concert, I am planning for more time in sectionals. My students love it, and they improve so much faster, while I can hear what's going on more clearly. I've dog-earred music articles and listening examples that lead to free-writing so they're still spending time on music while I'm singing with another group.
*Another idea for another blank notebook day: Bob Dylan's Instant Classic
*What the Middle Schoolers did wrote today: How do the voices of Pentatonix work together to make this sound? How would you describe it? Do you ever want to be in a group like this?