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Observation #1: Dave Kobberdahl, Valley High School How does the instructor prepare for the rehearsal?

Mr. Kobberdahl printed off the words to a new song they were doing so that they could sing it. I thought this was interesting. He told me the band was having some trouble with the melody, so he printed off these words for them to sing the melody and engrain it into them. He also printed off just the melody parts so that the melody would be thoroughly learned by the students and know what to look for. Do they make use of recordings during the rehearsal? Mr. Kobberdhal definitely used recordings during the rehearsal. He actually used several different recordings of the same song so that the students would intently listen for the melody even though the tempos and styles may be completely different in every recording. I really thought this was smart and unique. How do they address rhythm section issues during rehearsal? Mr. Kobberdahl really wanted to enforce how the rhythm section was part of the band. He had them use dynamics instead of just playing loudly all the time. He worked with each rhythm section member individually so that they completely understood what they were doing. In one of the songs, a drum solo let to a horn section part that was very soft. Mr. Kobberdahl told the drummer to thin out his solo toward the end of it to match what was going to happen next within the song. I thought this was really clever and a fantastic transition into the next part. Do they deal with improvisation during the rehearsal or elsewhere? In this particular rehearsal, Mr. Kobberdahl took some time out of the rehearsal to specifically discuss improvisation. He taught them how to improvise based on the melody, saying to just embellish the melody. He then had each student take a turn improvising using the melody for 16 bars. This idea of just embellishing the melody really helped the students learn to improvise. This was an easy concept for them to understand. Even I learned more about improvising than I ever had just off of that little of demonstration. He also used the recordings to hear what good improvisation sounded like. He had his trumpet with him and would constantly play for them to hear what good improvisation sounded like too. What specific techniques do they employ to obtain specific results from their students (singing, playing demonstrations) 1. Mr. Kobberdahl repeatedly used singing throughout the entire rehearsal. He would sing almost all the time, but he would also have the students sing pretty regularly. By having the students sing, they were learning the correct pitches, hearing the melody, hearing the harmony, and learning the style all at the same time. It was really cool to watch. 2. Mr. Kobberdahl also always had his trumpet with him and would play with them and demonstrate for them. He would often tell the students play back what I play. He would play a made up lick and have the students play it back. The students really learned pitches and improvisation this way. He also used other students to

demonstrate. This allowed the students to feel as though the song was more attainable since their fellow students were able to do it. I really enjoyed Mr. Kobberdahls jazz rehearsal. I was really impressed with his teaching and how well the students were learning jazz. Everyone who plans on teaching a jazz band someday should observe him at some point.

Rehearsal Observation #2: Barbara Sletto, Heartland Youth Choir On October 8, I observed the Chante choir of the Heartland Youth Choir which includes grades 5-7 and is under the direction of Barbara Sletto. Her goals for the rehearsal were to learn and solidify the ostinato in Appalachian Suite and then sing from the score for measures 1-29 as a group. She also wanted them to learn a new Chinese song beginning by reading the solfege and rhythm from the overhead and then read from the score with solfege for measures 6-38. Mrs. Sletto had great posture and eye contact. She commanded presence with her posture and made consistent eye contact with all of the students. Her pattern was quite different than what we use in class. She beat her arm straight up and down instead of beating out a pattern. She also used the ladder motion to represent the relationship of the pitches. Many of these students were new to the group, so this was probably because they did not know the patterns yet. Her preparations were mostly verbal. She verbally told the students how to sing and this seemed to be effective for this age group and experience. Her cueing was basically an extra large beat with both hands in the direction of the section that was to enter. Her releases were tails out and with both hands mirrored. Her left hand mirrored her right hand the entire time. Her variation of gestures was fairly limited. She would switch back and forth from the ladder to the up-anddown pulse. She mirrored everything, which made her gestures even more limited. Because of the mirroring and her large beat patterns, she demonstrated little expressivity. The students sang in the manner that she conducted: loud. Overall, she had decent effectiveness with her gestures. As previously mentioned, the students sang exactly in the manner that she conducted. What I found more effective was her use of the ladder to help students recognize relationships between pitches. When the students were having trouble singing pitches, she would switch the ladder and they were easily able to correct it. I was surprised at how well the students could adjust to that. Mrs. Sletto seemed to have good knowledge about the scores. She would verbally convey the style she wanted with the students and she also rarely looked at the score (it was sitting on the table behind her). When the students made a mistake or needed to correct something, she knew exactly where the problem was, and she was even able to address issues prior to having the students sing at all. Mrs. Sletto verbally communicated regularly throughout the rehearsal. When discussing a specific style she wanted, she would compare the style with a real life situation. For example, at one point, she wanted the students to sing in a more bouncy manner, so she described a deer running and prancing through a field. This seemed to be very effective because the students did exactly what she asked them to do. She also verbally asked the students to clap rhythms prior to singing.

The pacing was fairly quick. She constantly kept the students singing, playing games, or answering questions during the rehearsal. Because of this, she had little classroom management issues during the rehearsal. Mrs. Sletto did accomplish her goals. I think because she had so few classroom management issues, she was able to accomplish everything that she needed (it also helped that she had about two hours for the rehearsal as opposed to the average school choir director). Her technique for dealing with pitch problems was the ladder. This seemed to be very effective. Her technique for dealing with rhythm issues was having the students clap the rhythm several times. This also seemed to be effective. Her other issue was tone quality. She dealt with this by verbally telling the students to open their throat. This did not seem too effective. I did not notice much of a change in tone quality. This might be because the students are younger (and many of them new to singing), so they may not have understood yet what she was telling them. She seemed to have a very good rapport with the ensemble. The students showed her a lot of respect and she showed them respect. She would talk with all of the students as they came in and even during the rehearsal while between songs. She had a good demeanor with the students and was very patient with them. She created a great learning atmosphere by having a good rapport with the students and I have no doubt that she will turn this group into a great choir.