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After Concert Activites

What do you do with your choirs when you have 3 weeks before Christmas Break and have already had your concert? I usually do a self-evaluation/concert critique, but I'm looking for other activites that maybe last a day or two. Let me know what has been succesful for you.
on December 1, 2012 4:38am
Individual evaluation of their choral music. Lots of work to set up and to listen to recordings, but some good thorough evaluation of what is done in choir class.
Learn a bunch of Christmas/holiday songs in SATB format and find nursing homes, hospitals, veterans' homes to sing at. Good music, great PR, and your students will value it more than anything else they do.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on December 1, 2012 4:41am
Hi Steph -
I'm assuming you already use the last rehearsal before break singing traditional carols and such. We always spent three of those days after the concert listening to AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS. Each choir (7-12) listened every year and completed an assignment ranging from art projects to parodies. There was always a little complaining in grade eight, but the choir students grew to love it - and really knew AMAHL backwards and forwards.
Best wishes,
on December 1, 2012 9:58am
Steph:  Again, I'm college level, so I can simply cancel rehearsals, but your question brought a couple of random thoughts to mind.
First, are we really so focused on PERFORMANCE that we lose sight of EDUCATION?!!!  Your performance is a milestone, sure, and an important one that has focused everyone's attention for a matter of weeks as a sort of Final Exam, but our job is to educate those students and help them become the musicians they're capable of becoming, so the post-concert period can very well be a time to go back to basics and expanded basics  (sightreading; solfege practice; stage deportment and questions that came up during concert prep and performance, etc.) without having to worry about the pressure of concert preparation.  Even something as long-term productive as teaching how to audition well and effectively (a skill which I maintain CAN be learned and therefore can be taught!).
And second, I very often give my students a day or two off, and then go right into early rehearsals for the NEXT program.  (I know, that goes against my first point, but do you really have to make it an either/or situation?!!)  One of my colleagues uses the next rehearsal hour for music turn-in and organization, and discussion of (and perhaps listening to) the concert recording.  But again, at the college level we aren't baby-sitting so he can give them time off as well.
And last year I did almost exactly what Thomas suggested.  I wrote my singers a 5 1/2 minute medley of Christmas carols and they strolled around campus singing them, since we organized it too late to arrange any retirement home appearance.  (Actually I try NOT to schedule my concerts right up against the end of the semester, since I like to give students a chance to relax before heading into final exams, but that depends entirely on your school schedule and on what other events you have to schedule around.)
All the best,
Applauded by an audience of 2
on December 2, 2012 5:35am
I love doing group listening.
Pick a few choirs and have students listen to the same short piece and compare.  It's fun to have them listen to a few excellent choirs, talk about the vowels, the clarity of diction etc. and then play a really poor performance and after the laughter and shock, have the studens analyze what wasn't good.  It can be a great tool.
Or listen to a large work (or part of - 5th movement of Mahler 2) with scores - have the students follow along and absorb.
Improvisation games - work on improv skills, sightsinging skills etc.  Read some easy madrigals and have improv breaks over the "fa la la ".
do you have any student composers?  For future years, you could ask for submissions and workshop a few student compositions.
Have a guest come in - a composer (perhaps someone you have performed or want to commission), a voice specialist or even an alum from your school who has gone on to a career in music.
Invite a local college choir to perform.
Good Luck!
on December 2, 2012 10:03am
Hi Steph, 
I have two things that might work. The first I used last year for kids wanting extra credit, and the second is my first semester final for alll of my ensembles. I think both could be modified and provide an educational activity that would fill the time. 
Singer Search Project
1.     Choose any vocalist. They may be Classical, Jazz, or Pop.
2.     Write a 1-2 page paper covering the following:
a.     1 paragraph biography
b.     1 paragraph musical training/background
c.      1 paragraph about their musical output since becoming a performer.
d.     1 paragraph that describes three songs that you feel defines the person you chose.
e.     Concluding paragraph about why you chose this artist.
3.     From your written paper, create a 6 slide power point presentation that
includes excerpts of the three pieces you chose, includes images of your performer and highlights the main points in your paper.  You will have 3 minutes to present your slide show and must provide a narrative as part of the presentation.  You must cite ALL sources in your written paper.
Your written paper must be turned in and you must present to the class at the final to receive credit. 
This second one uses blogger through google, but they could present in class also. The cool thing about this is that everyone would listen to the selections and the comments would be a group activity. You could conceivably do 3 or 4 in a class period. 
You will be responsible for researching and finding a recording, either mp3 or Youtube, of a choral performance that you feel is a great performance. In addition, you will identify the composer, giving her/his dates, a brief biography (one or two sentences), an overview of the piece, and briefly write about what in the piece made it a great performance. Your selection must be “classical” no Contemporary A Cappella or Pop songs. You will post your selection along with the written component on AHS Choir Blog. You will also be required to listen to at least two of your classmates’ selections and comment about their selection. You will use the form below to compose the written portion of this assignment.
This is your 1st semester take home final and is due before the day of the final.
Your Name:___________________________________
Name of Selection: __________________________________
[Insert Video or Audio]
Name of Ensemble Performing and their conductor: ______________________________
Name of Composer and brief biography:
Overview of your selection:
At least 3 reasons why you chose this piece:
on December 4, 2012 12:43pm
I'm in the same boat! Our concert was last week but we have school until Decermber 21. Last year I started a final project and this year when I announced we were going to do the projects again the kids cheered! So I guess they liked them :)
Choir Final Project

Choose one of the following options to be turned in/performed the last week of school before Winter Break.

1. Performance Project- Choose a song, rehearse and perform for the class. Please limit the song to 1:30, make sure it’s school appropriate.

a.     Group/solo singing

b.     Air Band

c.      Parody

d.     music video

2.     Composition Project – Write a song. Please limit it to 1:30. You may choose to play it for the class.

a.     Garage Band

b.     Traditional Notation           

3.     Research Project – choose one of the following to research

a.     JW Pepper

                   i.     Log on to
                   ii. Choose the “choral” tab
                   iii. Choose “school choir”
                   iv. Find and recommend 5 pieces of music that you think the JLS choir should sing.
                   v. Write several sentences to justify your choices.

b.     Composer

                    i. Choose a composer whose music we have performed this year
                    ii. Write a two page report about their life and music
                    iii. Please include at least two reliable sources (not Wikipedia)
4. Create your own
    See Mrs. Fitzhugh if you have an idea.
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