Saturday, November 10, 2007

NJEA Convention, Day Two

I hit the grand slam of professional development! I went to three more seminars today, maxing out my total hours of PD at the convention at 12.

First up was the husband and wife team of Rae and Debra Moses. Their topic was "Evaluating Appropriate Literature for your School Choirs", with particular emphasis on the male voice as it changes through adolescence. We sang some of Carl Fischer's newest choral arrangements, edited by Mr. Moses.

Next, after a very fast hot dog lunch, a little movement (make that a lot of movement) with John Jacobson. The energetic composer and choreographer put a room full of teachers through their paces with some of his latest songs from "John Jacobson's Music Express" magazine, published by Hal Leonard.

Finally, fiddling around with Mimi Butler, master violin teacher, with some very interesting thoughts on playing fiddle music. NOT violin music, but fiddle music. I was very interested to learn of the structure that underlies the basic form - the kickoff measures, the tune, the break (fancier version of the tune), the background (all other instruments either playing open chords or a bass line) and the tag (two bar ending played by the leader). Very interesting stuff to know!

It was one of the very few conventions where I could find six seminars that directly addressed all my classroom activities, from band, to choral, to strings. The hours are useful but each seminar gave me a few things to take back to my students. The weekend between the convention and the return to school is always one of anticipation for me as I cannot wait to get back and try out some of the new things I've learned on my classes.

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