Classroom Content as Concert Stage Repertoire: Best Practices for the Intermediate Orchestra

June 8–July 31, 2020

Concert preparation can be perceived as the focus of orchestra class and the pressure to present concerts as well as prepare music for contests can interfere with a thoughtful pedagogical sequence. When the curtain goes up on a concert, it is, in many ways, an aural and visual scrapbook of the technical and musical curriculum the students have experienced in your classroom. Choosing repertoire to both engage students and develop technical and musical skills is one of the most vital components of a well-designed curriculum. The intermediate or middle school orchestra experience not only solidifies skills necessary for success in high school and beyond, but also illuminates the ensemble as a social and artistic cohort. This period of skill development is crucial for preparing the technical and musical skills that will foster continued involvement with music in and beyond high school ensembles. With well-chosen repertoire, the time spent in instruction can propel technical development while developing literacy, ensemble skills and musical sensitivity.

This course will present strategies for teaching shifting, string crossings, sight-reading skills, minor tonality and advanced finger patterns, vibrato, rhythmic sensibility, and advanced bow strokes in a heterogeneous setting. Participants will acquire a basic understanding of fundamental principles of learning, and practice creating successful learning experiences that effectively change student thinking and behavior. The technical aspects of the curriculum are focused on violin, viola, cello and bass, however transfer of learning principles and adaptation of materials can be applicable to any instrument.

This course includes discussion and teaching strategies related to the following topics:

  • Developing solo literature across the ensemble
  • Sequential introduction of advanced technique in the heterogeneous setting
  • Strategies for describing end goals and designing representations of progress
  • Bow exercises that prepare students for advanced literature
  • Concert Preparation: programming literature that develops technique
  • Development of ensemble skills and supporting repertoire
  • Aural skills as they relate to ensemble skills
  • Developing rhythmic security and sensibility
  • Vertical Programming
  • The importance of classroom culture
  • Successful approaches for using peer feedback and self-assessment
  • Fingerboard geography as a vehicle for secure shifting, fingering choices and sight reading
  • Fundamental knowledge with clear connections to advanced skill
  • Assessment measures that engage, motivate, and encourage independence learning
  • Involving parents as partners and advocates for your program and for their child
  • Preparing students to successfully transition to high school programs
  • Contests and Festivals: A positive approach to participation

Instructor: Dr. Laurie Scott

Scott,_Laurie_headshot_2020Dr. Laurie Scott associate professor of Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, she serves as the director of the University of Texas String Project and the Musical Lives string program at UT Elementary School. She has received both the Teaching Excellence Award from the Butler School of Music and from the University of Texas College of Fine Arts. A former middle and high school orchestra director, she now mentors young professionals toward successful lives as string educators. As a pedagogue and teacher, Dr. Scott serves as an advocate for inclusive and diverse music classrooms, adult music learners, and access to quality music instruction for all children. Her former students have become exemplary string educators, professional studio and symphony musicians, and passionate arts advocates. She is co-author of the books Mastery for Strings, Learning Together and From the Stage to the Studio: How Fine Performers Become Great Teachers.

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288