The artists of Quarteto Nuevo did not disappoint in the two classrooms they visited last week! I learned so much from their thoughtful, well-structured workshop, and the students were engaged and inspired. We even had 12 students from the Helena High band and orchestra classes come to the concert and bring their parents along– a pretty wonderful sign of effective outreach!
When the students at Helena High entered the classroom, one girl exclaimed, “Is that a soprano saxophone?! I’ve never seen one in real life. That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”
I loved the way the musicians blended performance and education. They seeded a lesson for the students before each song with a prompt like, “watch our bodies as we play this next piece and try to identify what we’re doing that makes chamber ensembles unique?” This simple tactic paved the way for much deeper learning and discussion than a simple Q&A, and engaged students as active listeners for each piece.
‘Students enjoyed the fact that the group’s style was so eclectic. It allowed kids to aurally explore many different sounds from all over the world. The scale demonstration and the body percussion, plus the mixed-meter examples, particularly made this more tangible to them. I love the student participation piece. I also loved seeing some students come out of their shells with this experience. I have a few students with severe emotional disturbance relating to past traumas, and the fact that they were able to not only enjoy the performance but have multiple questions or thoughts to share was incredible.’ Kaitlin Albus, Warren Elementary Music