Back to reality

The Thanksgiving break is over, and it’s back to reality this morning. There’s only three weeks to Christmas vacation, and it’s the busiest three weeks we have had all year so far:

~ Six performances including concerts and pep bands
~ assignments to finish and grade book to complete for semester
~ honor band auditions and nominations
~ meetings for professional development and negotiations

It all starts with a 30-minute bike ride each morning, a big cup of coffee, and hopefully now blogging about my education work and journey toward optimal health. I’m new to WordPress but have been blogging on blogger since the school year started. I know I feel good when I write, it gets my thoughts out on a screen, and keeps me reflective about my practice.

By starting the day with exercise, coffee, blogging, and a little twitter check I feel ready for the day. Especially the long ones that are ahead over the next three weeks. Hang in there everyone – the time will go quickly and it will be 2014 before we know it!

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Nothing like a new can of coffee

As I open a new can of coffee this week I pause to think about the second quarter versus first quarter at school. The rich smell of the fresh grounds are invigorating, and a symbol of a new beginning; much the same way that new methods revive the classroom and student learning.

I tried to do too much with the high school band in the first quarter, giving them too difficult of music for the fall concert while trying to also provide a new form of Friday night entertainment via the raging success of our drumline. While I was very proud of the kids in their drumline performances, I was equally disappointed in myself that I didn’t program better for the fall concert. The new music for the winter concert has been much better for the group, and we have also worked on pep band for basketball season. There are new tunes in the pep band book this year; something the kids have wanted and I have been slow at doing (actually not doing at all) since I took the high school job.
The middle school band had a nice fall concert, and had a great performance at our Veterans’ Day program. They have progressed very well as a group this year, and are poised to have an incredibly good winter concert. Our experience with SmartMusic has been very discouraging over the past six weeks as we have not had access to the program. Now that it is working again, SmartMusic can continue to help the kids develop their skills while allowing the bands to maximize rehearsal and lesson time.
Our jazz band is off to a great start with a super set of music, kids working hard, and making the most of the rehearsal time we have. We have made great progress in only five rehearsals, and I can’t wait o hear what they sound like throughout the season.
The biggest difference for me is planning for rehearsal. I have a list of specific things that I want to address, warmup with scales in a manner to prepare for the rehearsal goals, and a timing schedule to keep on track. I have worked longer into the day and on weekends to prepare. I have taken time to get things done that I haven’t done in years. The kids have always worked hard, done whatever I have asked of them. I believe that I am starting to live up to what the kids’ efforts demand out of me. I’m not there yet, but just like pulling the seal off of a new can of coffee I am fresh, reenergized, and ready to make some great product for everyone to enjoy. Cheers!