Along with performances for our school’s morning meetings, each grade level performs following a PTA meeting. For this year, third grade did a performance called “Math Rocks” while kindergarten’s performance was all about using their imagination. Last night, first grade took the audience to the movies. In May, second grade will be performing, “Meet the Presidents.”Although it may sound strange, I actually began planning the performances for this school year last April.
When it comes to planning, my procedures can vary. Sometimes, I start with a specific theme in mind. Then, I will comb through my materials and music catalogs looking for music that fits within that theme. Other times, I’m unsure about the direction I want to take. Instead, I search through my music books and speak to other teachers looking for inspiration. Depending on the resources that I find, I may piece together a performance using music from a lot of different sources or I may find a program that is already written that will work. Next, I write the script for the performance. Once I have everything completed, I look at my calendar and figure out which PTA meeting date would be best for that grade level’s performance. Once I have the general dates established, I then predict the amount of time that will be needed to prepare the students for their performance. This is why it is necessary for me to begin searching for programs in April. Each program will determine the direction and pace of my music curriculum for the year.
While I do much in regards to planning and preparation, the entire faculty and staff at Woodlake Elementary School assist me in many other aspects of the performances. Teachers with artistic talents help with backdrops. All teachers help coordinate speaking parts and other performance logistics. Ms. Shostak, our PE teacher, adjusts her schedule so that we may use her gym. It truly is a team effort.
Performances can be stressful and extremely time-consuming. However, I forget all of that once the night of the performance arrives, and I see the excitement on the children’s faces. Over the years, I have felt many different emotions when the kids take stage. During our first grade performance last night, it was one of the few times that a performance has brought tears of joy to my eyes. I believe that every child has a song to be sung. One of my students sang with such enthusiasm and expression, that he touched my heart. This is why I am a music teacher. While Irving Berlins’ song says, “There’s no business like show business.” I believe that there’s no greater business than education.