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Ensemble Rehearsal Plan

Title of piece: Ave Maria

Conductors Name: John Brewer
Composer/Arranger: Igor Stravinsky
Ensemble Name: Concert Choir
Grade of piece: 9-12

Learning goals
What Learners will
Be able to do (behavioral):

By the end of the unit, students

will be able to perform Ave Maria meaningfully and precisely with a

success rate of 80%.

Understand (cognitive):

Students will interpret the emotions

and meanings behind the text of Ave Maria and understand the
relationship between the text and the music.

Encounter (experimental):

Students will sing Ave Maria

expressively in their rehearsals and in concert with the use of an

English translation and knowledge of the text to music relationship.

Construct meaning (constructivist): Students will

appreciate the meaning behind the text and its relationship to the
music as well as why the composer made the choices he did when
setting it.

Technical skills

(intonation, posture, breath, phonation, balance,

bowing for strings, sticking for percussion, diction for singers)

Latin diction
Breath support through phrases
Ensemble sound and clarity
Appropriate color for certain sections of the piece
Unified vowels through song (the text lines up almost perfectly in

every part throughout the song, it isnt poly-textual.)

Students will maintain tuning even through the more challenging

lines with accidentals.

Students will have steady beat and proper beat division through
different time signature changes.

Musical concepts

(melody, rhythm, harmony, form, timbre,


Appropriate timbre for the poems articulation and meaning.

Cognizant of rich harmonies and chromaticism.
Recognize cadential points.
Recognize time signature changes and beat division, but overall
subdivision remains the same in duple.

Comprehend the penultimate chord as a separate cadence from

the Amen chord. Recognize the relationship between the two
ending chords. The penultimate chord is the i and has is an IAC
cadence and the final chord is related through modal mixture as
a IV chord adding C# to make an a major chord. Ending on a
major chord in a minor song is standard in most non-secular
music so that those worshiping will feel complete.

Empowering Musicianship

(historical perspective, stylistic

integrity, musical artistry)

Students will relate to the music and composer through research
of the different settings of the song and composers process in writing
the song. Students will also understand the meaning behind the song
and why the composer wrote it to enhance their ability in performance
through knowing what they are singing about and relating it to
themselves. Students will bring their own unique emotions and
expressions to the piece to create a proper stylistic production of the

Partner: (Honor their world by beginning with an
experience students bring to the classroom. Include time for
students to collaborate and respond through sharing and

Students will come to rehearsal prepared with proper notes and

rhythms. They will also have researched the song and text as well as
the composers background. Stravinsky was raised in the Russian
Orthodox Church and composed this song as well as two others and set
them to Russian (church Slavonic) texts. But then he moved to the
United States and translated the Russian text to Latin. They will take
notes on what they think about the research they find and their
reactions to it. In rehearsal the ensemble will have a discussion about
these notes and ideas the students have generated. The teacher will
write ideas the students have on the board in a list. The teacher will
explain the meaning behind the song and the information about the
composer and why he wrote the song and why he used that text, in
depth. The teacher will then attempt to partner the emotions and
reactions the students had with the composers ideas in order to get

the proper musical response and performance of this piece. By relating

the students own memories, reactions, feelings and such to those of
Stravinsky and what he did when writing this song, the ensemble will
find it easier to find the proper musical presentation.

Present: (Sequence the lesson steps. Take the learning from

their world to the world of the classroom. Present the information
and allow time for students to practice and respond. Engage
critical thinking, problem posing, and problem solving.)
The students will listen to the song as an ensemble and pick out
parts they think are difficult. They will raise their hands with ideas and
specific parts in the music that are hard for the ensemble and the
teacher will make a list of what they find to be challenging. This could
be anything having to do with the choir, for example, text, chord
tuning, phrasing, sectional duets and clashes etc. It cannot be
individual spoon-feeding of notes and rhythms. The students will then
go into detail about why these parts they have chosen are difficult and
what they think the choir should do to fix them. The teacher will work
on these different aspects as well as traits the teacher believes to be
challenging to the choir in specific ways. For example if a certain
phrase with difficult chromatics or rhythm is tripping up the choir or
specific sections, they may incorporate it in the warm up. The teacher

may take measure 9-11 in the alto line for example and make a warm
up that has this exact phrase in it. Ascending on by half steps, the
warm-up with a piano accompaniment that outlines the chord structure
for the students will help them hear the line underlying harmonic
progression and where the notes fit into it. This will not only help the
altos sing the phrase more accurately, the other sections will hear
what is happening in the alto section at that point in the piece and
relate it to their own parts as well. The teacher could also create a
warm-up using the specific vowels and colors for parts in the song that
the choir is struggling with. The teacher may use solfege to help the
choir tune more accurately in parts that arent tuning to the specific
overtone series it needs to tune to. After the musical kinks are worked
out of the piece and the choir feels confident in their ability to sing with
ensemble sound and proper diction, rhythms, pitches etc., the students
are then to look up an exact translation of the text and a poetic
translation of the text.

Personalize: (Make the learning personal to the students. Provide

opportunities for students to create and be musicians. Encourage
original thinking and innovation.)
The students having looked up the translations will write down how they relate to
them. The students will make connections between the text and experiences they have

had in their own lives. By doing so, they will have a better understanding of what the text
is conveying through personal experience. They will make their own mental links and
feelings to the prayer, thus making the connection to the music and text more obtainable
because they are using their own life situations and emotions. This will help them to
understand the musical choices the conductor makes and how the text relates to the
BE RELIGIOUS. Through using their personal identities to bring about the correct
musical response from the choir, the proper timbre, dynamics, color, etc., will by
achieved faster and more effectively. This will also help them realize the text-music
connection. When they fully understand the meanings behind the text, they can listen to
the song and start to recognize that the composers reason for certain musical choices.
The ensemble will start to understand these ideas and produce the proper musical
responses as to what the composer had in mind and what the conductor has in mind. Once
they make the music to text relationship, the musical nuances like intention, and
expression will fall into place.

Perform: (Communicate and share the new learning as

students perform through concert presentation, demonstration, or
At the end of the Unit, there will be a concert where this song is presented with
others the ensemble has worked on throughout the semester. The hope is that the song
will not only be correct note, rhythm, and diction wise, but also color, timbre, dynamics,
expression, phrasing and emotional intention will be correct as well due to the personal

connections the students have made with the text. Only when all of these tings are
coupled together can music be made. Who cares if the students sing the notes on the
page, or if they sing the emotion in the world but its the wrong intention, the students
need to understand that music is a large body of elements put together to inspire
emotional reaction in the listener. They need to take away that everything being
connected, text, notes, rhythm, intention, emotion, dynamics, color, phrasing, timbre, etc.,
will create music. This is harder as an ensemble because all of the members must have
the same ideas and if one of the members is inconsistent it can ruin it for the whole
group. That is why in the rehearsal process the students need to make all of these
connections as an ensemble to bring out music in the performance together.


The teacher will take notes on the overall

ensemble sound and diction clarity throughout the unit. The teacher
will also take notes on the overall text to music relationship and how
the students grasp the concept. The teacher will evaluate students on
these elements daily by taking notes and what they hear and the
students say day to day. The teacher will also have a 10-minute talk
with the students at the end of every week. The students may reflect
on what they thought about the rehearsals. They may talk about how
productive rehearsals were and why, their opinions on things they liked
and didnt like, and finally on how they feel about their understanding
of the nuances the conductor is trying to incorporate into the

performance. The teacher will document these ideas and take them
into account when forming the next weeks lesson plans.


Students will perform a concert at the end of the

unit that includes this song. How well they do in the concert
determines the summative assessment.


At the end of the unit the teacher will reflect on

all of the notes they have taken and make a decision based on what
the students took away from the process/what they did well and what
they did not do well. The teacher will evaluate him or herself based on
the students performance and what the students said during the
reflection times at the end of the week. They will make new concepts
for teaching this piece and others through eliminating faulty
techniques and activities while at the same time saving ideas that
worked. The teacher can use this information to help them improve the
learning process the next time around. The teachers goal from selfassessment will be to develop things like rehearsal technique,
performance success, ensemble focus and how they can help their
students come to the right conclusions and take away more than just
how to sing the notes on a page.