Band & Orchestra Play to a Packed House

Students participated in the Music Concert on April 17. Ms. Gish, orchestra instructor, said “To prepare the music we do different things. The whole class is set up where we are learning the music along with the skills. The music is just a reflection of the skill we are learning. Then we focus on trying to go beyond what’s written on the page, so we focus on things like dynamics, which is like loud versus soft, articulation, which is making the notes seem real short or smooth. Things like that make it sound more musical, phrasing where the notes seem like a musical sentence. For the performance we talk about what we call stage presence–how we look on stage, how we dress, how we act and manage ourselves, how we hold our instruments.” Do you feel nervous before the concert? Ms.Gish said, “Yes and no. I think that it would be a lie for any musician to say that they are totally not nervous. It is more like exciting nervous, like right before you do something you are really exited to do. Because I know the students are going to do well, I am excited to show their parents.”

When asked if she sees the hard work pay off in their performance, Ms. Gish answered, “Yes, each year the orchestra has gotten better and better and they are achiveing higher levels of difficulty in the music. They are playing it in a much more mature level, Central is definitely one of the top middle schools for the performance that we give.” Do you think your students work hard enough for their concert performance? Ms. Gish replied, “Most of  them do, but there are some, mostly in the sixth grade. Coming from elementary school they have so many new things they have to learn anyway. Some of them have been able to get by with not doing very much homework. For them, they struggle, but they usually turn it around and start practicing and it does start to pay off.” When asked do some students get shy in front of big crowds, and what do you tell them to get over this stage fright, Ms. Gish replied, “Frequently students get nervous like that. For one, they are not playing alone, they are playing as  a group. We talk about supporting each other. Also most people don’t know the music that we are playing, so if they make a mistake, if they don’t act like they made a mistake, then people don’t really know that they made  mistake–they just keep going.”

When asked what she likes about music concerts, Ms. Gish answered  “I think it gives the parents a chance to see what their kids have been doing. Music is something that progresses sometimes very slowly. If you look where they are in the sixth grade, even fourth and fifth, then look where they are in the end of the eighth grade or 12th grade, it is a huge difference. They have gone from “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to something that sounds like it could be played on the radio somewhere. I enjoy that I can take the parents with them on that journey. “When asked what she would like to change about concerts, Ms. Gish replied, “It would be best if we all get to rehearse together before a concert, and then do the concert after that, but we can’t because we are in different classes. So we go on stage and we have never practiced together. That would be the first thing I would change.”