@MusicUnboxed (3 cheers for music education in NYC!) asked via twitter what was entailed in a "Cello Play-In." I'm happy to explain but let's get first things in order...
Renaming it to "The Celloship of the Ring"
...just because I'm super cheesey like that... aaaand who doesn't love puns?!
As we sat in a circle (get it? "the Ring"? Ha!) we spent the 2 hours yesterday afternoon as follows...
- Tuning. Duh.
- Playing a few silly but intriguing cello group games that I've collected from other teachers. Some inspired by, fellow Suzuki cello teacher based out of Los Angeles, Carey Beth Hockett.
- As a group, we played through some pre-selected songs starting at the beginning of Suzuki Book 1. Students in more advanced levels got to sight-read the cello accompaniment parts.
- The last half-hour or so we bounced around opportunities for each student to feature a piece of their choice and offer to have the others either listen or play-along.
Some things I loved about this...
- Totally laid back. Which is way more my style than recitals. (Don't get me wrong there are some really important skills to gain from playing recitals, but they aren't as fun all the time.)
- Sitting in a circle really takes the "wielding of power" out of performing for a group. Think Knights of the Round Table. It worked great.
- All levels of students were involved. Pre-Twinklers to Book 4 were represented yesterday. Some teachers have several group lessons available for each "level" of student, but for a myriad of reasons I think it's really good to include all students.
- Everyone got to meet each other! I've struggled with how to introduce the community aspect of playing music to my 1-on-1 students - this solves it wonderfully! Music as a group is always way more fun, in my opinion. Always.
YAY! It was a huge success! So glad that those who showed up got to experience the fun. I'm brainstorming of ways to make the next one even better... Got any suggestions?