Final messages and recordings

To keep things brief, all I can really say to sum up the final quarter of this past school year is that everyone did a great job as we encountered one hurdle after another in an ever-changing set of circumstances. Once we were getting comfortable with something, a new challenge would arise. Students were patient, understanding, and flexible, which made for a fun and pleasant final quarter! One of the unfortunate outcomes of moving from full distance teaching to teaching in-person and virtually at the same time was I no longer had the time to produce the virtual concert videos that we had done in Quarters 1, 2, and 3. This loss of time resulted in different things for different classes.

To band students from Quarter 3: Given the circumstances of distance learning, I can confidently state that we made the most of what we could do! The products of this continued dedication to music were two virtual concerts which you can enjoy over and over again, as well as share with family and friends worldwide (fall concert, festival concert). The final weeks of Quarter 3 were the weeks in which I was also transitioning to the in-person/distance hybrid model of teaching. The added responsibilities of making this transition possible made it impractical for me to produce the two virtual concert video I had promised. Luckily, I was able to push through and complete the festival concert by the end of the quarter. However, even though I strive to be a man of my word, and despite the fact that I have already put in a few dozen hours into your pops recordings, I have chosen to abandon the pops concert video project at this time. There are still dozens of hours of work needed to finish it, and I have to move on to planning and preparing for the upcoming school year which is already presenting its own set of unique difficulties. I offer you my most sincere apologies for not delivering on a promise. I hope that you at least enjoyed practicing and recording your pops repertoire while we were working on it. Had I known at the start of Quarter 3 in late January that we would be transitioning to a hybrid teaching model at the end of the term, I most certainly would not have planned on offering two sets of repertoire and producing two virtual concert videos. I am deeply sorry for letting you down. Regardless of this disappointing outcome, I hope that you had a positive experience participating in a virtual band class!

To orchestra students from Quarter 4: As you and I all experienced together, the challenges of the hybrid teaching and learning model were new and different with each passing week. Not knowing what was in store for me in the hybrid teaching model, I also promised you two virtual concert videos at the start of the quarter. Being that it is currently the end of July, and the new school year will begin in just about a month, I need to move onto planning and preparing for what’s ahead rather than continuing to compile past work from a school year that has already been over and done with for more than a month. Because you were able to compile your own recordings in Soundtrap, which alleviated dozens of hours of my time and effort, I at least have something to share with you. While I do not have the promised virtual concert videos, I do have audio recordings of your repertoire from Quarter 4. I also apologize to you for not following through with my promise of virtual concert videos, but I hope that your audio recordings will give you some satisfaction in a job well done, as well as the ability to share your work with family and friends worldwide. Enjoy your performances in the links below!

Intermediate Orchestra recordings:
“Burst”: tiny.cc/oachuz
“Skye Boat Song”: tiny.cc/rachuz
“Starfleet”: tiny.cc/uachuz
“DC Comics Superheroes”: tiny.cc/yachuz
NOTE: Fewer than five students uploaded and engineered their Part D tracks in Soundtrap for the pops pieces at the end of Quarter 4. Therefore, recordings for “Rondeau” and “Stairway to Heaven” could not be completed. Since “DC Comics Superheroes” is a medley featuring four completely different themes, the recording you will hear when visiting the link above will only contain the first three sections of the piece (“The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Arrow”).

Advanced Orchestra recordings:
“Rondo from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik“: tiny.cc/8bchuz
“A Scottish Ballade”: tiny.cc/abchuz
“The Code”: tiny.cc/cbchuz
“Star Wars” (Main Theme): tiny.cc/fbchuz
“A Very Respectable Hobbit”: tiny.cc/gbchuz
“Highlights from Harry Potter“: tiny.cc/ibchuz

Best wishes to all as we close the book on the 2020 – 2021 school year and look ahead to the new challenges and opportunities that await us in just a few weeks!

MMSIM 2021 Band Festival Concert!

Greetings MMS Instrumental Music students and families,

I’m proud to present Marshall Middle School Instrumental Music’s 2021 Band Festival Concert! The performance can be viewed at the following simplified/shortened link: tiny.cc/2021bandfestivalconcert. Please feel free to share the work that our band students have done over the course of their distance learning with family and friends!

I do still plan to release the 2021 Band Pops Concert, but the current convergence of planning/prepping for in-person learning, the start of in-person learning next week, the end of a semester/school year this week, and the beginning of another semester for my other classes next week has my current plate of responsibilities beyond full. I’m hoping (not guaranteeing) to release it by the end of April. Check back here on the blog and on your band class’s Google Classroom for updates.

Thanks for making the best of a different and challenging school year, band students and families!

Until next time,
Mr. Brown

MMSIM 2020 Winter Concert!

Greetings MMS Instrumental Music students and families,

I’m proud to present Marshall Middle School Instrumental Music’s 2020 Winter Concert! The performance can be viewed at the following simplified/shortened link: tiny.cc/mmsim2020winterconcert. Please feel free to share the work that our orchestra students have done over the course of their distance learning with family and friends!

Like the band students in Quarter 1, the orchestra students have also responded with tremendous effort and dedication to great music during difficult and unique circumstances. Additionally, I am incredibly proud of the work they’ve done to keep our performance traditions alive during distance learning! Bravo, orchestras!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all music families a restful and joyous Winter Break! I’m looking forward to seeing students again when we “return” to (virtual) school on January 4th. Until then, enjoy the show!

Sincerely,
Mr. Brown

MMSIM 2020 Fall Concert!

Greetings MMS Instrumental Music students and families,

I’m proud to present Marshall Middle School Instrumental Music’s 2020 Fall Concert! The performance can be viewed at the following simplified/shortened link: tiny.cc/mmsim2020fallconcert. Please feel free to share the work that our band students have done over the course of their distance learning with family and friends!

I am very pleased with the work our MMS band students have done under such strange and unique circumstances. Thank you for all of the hard work and dedication you have displayed despite the challenges we’re currently facing! I have one more blog post to write in order to wrap up this first quarter/rotation that will include ideas for what to do while on “intermission” from your band class, as well as some thoughts on the district’s reopening plans and the significant risks and challenges MMS Instrumental Music classes will still face regarding the safety and logistics of in-person rehearsals. I am aiming to have that published here on the blog in the next few days. Until then, enjoy the show!

Sincerely,
Mr. Brown

Food for Musical Thought

 

If you find yourself bored and needing a good article or two to pass the time, here are a few from my good friend, Dr. Noa Kageyama, a.k.a. “The Bulletproof Musician.”

What to Ask Yourself After a Failure or Setback

8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently

“Perfect” Practice May Be Preventing You from Learning that Tricky Passage

Why Listening to Reference Recordings is an Important Part of Practicing

The Importance of Writing Notes in Your Music (one of my favorites!)

For more delightfully thought-provoking articles about music and becoming a better musician, feel free to browse Dr. Kageyama’s blog, and feel free to email me with any articles you don’t see above that you found to be applicable to middle school musicians.