I am trying with renewed interest to finish this book!! I began last summer in an effort to make some notes listing some concrete things I could do to enhance my student’s individual practice. In the process, I hoped to gain knowledge that would improve my choral rehearsals. So, I went back and read through my notes, caught up, and here I go again.
How to make models believable? This past semester, I was blessed with a really capable student teacher. Alex was well prepared as a musician, vocalist, and her training in vocal pedagogy stood out as a major strong point. In preparation for her taking rehearsals, we would talk through the rehearsal plan, develop it, and send her in. Following her teaching experience we would sit down and visit about what went well and what did not. We noted the positives and there were many but there were a couple of areas that were hindering her success. One area she struggled with was rehearsal pacing; her rehearsals would get bogged down with too much talk and not enough action. She needed to learn to chunk her material and give short quick instructions, followed by action, then assessment, then action again until they did the task right. Another area was conducting gestures; gestures that work in rehearsal and that will prove as anchor points, reminders,in the performance. How does one learn pacing and gesturing and how could Alex become a believer that what I was saying works. She and I stumbled on to this strategy. We would develop a plan, she would execute, I would step in when necessary and model, and sometimes I would do the rehearsal and work with the same choir the entire rehearsal, the same spot. I noticed that this strategy worked when I was modeling with the same choir she was working with; it did not work for me to model in one hour and expect her to do it with the next hour — it was a different level of kid in each hour. Anyway, she improved by leaps and bounds. No, we didn’t really process this procedure together, but as i look back on it. That is exactly what was going on.
The authors call it “push-in modeling.” How? The authors say to make modeling believable, effective, and stick we must make sure “modeling takes place in a context as close as possible to the context in which learners will perform.” They go on to say “model for them in their own context.”
Here are some ideas on implementing this principle at Hays High School (HHS):
- Having high school students observe Fort Hays State University (FHSU) recitals. To help them with confidence at regional and state contest.
- Observing choral concerts, i.e. FHSU. To learn concert demeanor, body language, face, and of course vocal technique.
- Observing rehearsals of musicals,
- Assigning a student with an older voice student to observe an individual practice.
- Observing a master voice student go through a pre-contest or recital individual warm-up.