Extra Curricular General

Rehearsals in the New Normal

Today I had my first rehearsal in school. It was exciting, it was live and it was just what we all needed. Rehearsals in the New Normal are very different but they can still have music & young people at the centre. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see that we really Can Do Music in schools again. And actually, it might be a little different, but it is still just as good. Smaller groups, windows open, social distancing – the music still sounds amazing.

Preparation

Preparation is everything. The guidelines are clear (well mostly) and we know what we need to do. So it is important in this new phase of Covid-19 that we prepare inn advance and prepare thoroughly. There were several things that I understood in preparation for this first rehearsal

  1. I spent time clearing the rehearsal space so everything was organised and sorted.
  2. This morning I got in early and made sure that every window and door was open and the room was well ventilated.
  3. Last week I spent time marking out areas on the floor, working out who I could fit in.
  4. I prepared the students making sure they knew what to do and when.
  5. The room was made ready by ensuring that students didn’t have to touch anything but their own chair, stand and instrument.
  6. I worked out what we would play and I kept things simple but effective.

These are all simple things that I was able to prepare for and think through.

Issues to overcome

We will all face different issues and I know that not everyone will be able to get ensembles up and running. Your school may not allow it, or you may not have a room big enough. I consider myself really lucky to have been able to get things going. It is important to therefore not beat yourself up over this – if you can’t do it yet then don’t worry.

But maybe you can overcome some issues by focussing on smaller groups that can therefore meet in smaller rooms. Keeping a Social Distance may just be easier with fewer players. It may take some time and persuasion, but I am sure that you can find ways of doing something – and the students will understand and appreciate it.

The main issue is safety and you just need to feel comfortable with what you are doing. There is no rush and if there are barriers and issues, then don’t worry, things will get better – at least I hope they will.

Rehearsals in the New Normal

So it is now clear that rehearsals in the new normal are possible and do work. I was concerned that smaller numbers and less rehearsals would be an issue. But working with Year Groups in bubbles is actually quite nice. Its a bit more like sport where students are in year group teams. I like the thoughts of working more closer with the younger students and helping to really establish them in the school.

The programme I offer is now a bit smaller in terms of breadth, but there is something for everyone. I am sticking to mornings before school as that works for me and I actually now have lunch-breaks! I am not sure what to do with myself at lunchtime yet, but apparently sitting down is really enjoyable! Rehearsals in the New Normal are very much open for business and I am excited to continue them throughout the term.

Worth the Wait

If nothing else then let me encourage you that it was worth the wait, and it will be worth the wait. Hearing students playing music together again was simply fantastic. It was a clear reminder to me of why I do my job. We basically played a blues turnaround and did some improv. No sheet music was actually needed and they just loved it.

So when you can, do what you can – and the effort will be worth it. Music departments need to be full of music again and it is possible if we just keep working with the guidelines and keep inspired and energised.

I hope that you have a great start to the year – Enjoy every minute of it. And if you have any questions then please do get in touch.

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