Seminar 2018: Laying The Foundations For A Strong Ensemble Culture

This seminar is presented by The Grainger Wind Symphony in partnership with The Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association Victoria Branch.

Seminar topic “Laying The Foundations For A Strong Ensemble Culture”

Clinician: Dr Michael Lichnovsky

For details about Michael’s background click here

To book a place to just attend the seminar on TryBooking click here, fill in Application Form: A click here and scan/email or post it.

Bookings for applicants who just wish to attend the seminar close on the 16th July 2018 for catering reasons. Applicants who wish to participate or observe the other parts of the program have earlier application deadlines.

Laying The Foundations For A Strong Ensemble Culture

Ensemble programs succeed because they have a consistent and high quality culture. Strong school culture can be the basis for good ensemble culture, but just as often students are drawn to a musical environment precisely because it offers something different – more inclusive, supportive and consistent.

Students are drawn to teachers they respect, perhaps even more so than to the subjects being taught. We all have favourite teachers we still remember from our own school days. Perhaps it was the funny one, or the one who inspired us to greater achievement, or the one who impressed us so much with their knowledge, their joy in teaching, or their compassion. Their personal culture became the driving force behind their success in teaching.

We can have school music cultures that provide exactly the same inspiration and compassion on a much broader scale than one teacher alone can achieve, and it can be a culture that attracts students and retains them. We can have programs that enrich student lives and school culture, programs that make our school environment, and hence our own working lives, better.

Of course, we still need to teach. We need a curriculum in our ensembles as much as we need a curriculum in the classroom. Consistent fundamental expectations of literacy, skill development, listening, balance, articulation, analysis, conventions of the stick, dynamics; the list goes on and on. We even need to teach them better ways to think about their playing. However, an equally essential element in the curriculum is teaching students how to be good citizens of the ensemble. Set up and pack up, silent rehearsals, learning patience, taking on responsibility, and practising the less tangible aspects of inclusion, looking after each other and creating a safe place to explore and take risks.

This can’t happen unless we, the teachers, are on the same page, living the inclusion and collaboration we ask of the students, demonstrating how it works and why it’s good. The conductor should be reinforcing the instrumental lesson were possible, and the best teachers should be involved with every aspect of music at every level of the school – instrumental teaching, ensembles and classroom, from the youngest years to the oldest.

Laying the foundation for strong a culture in our ensembles is about providing a challenging environment, technical rigour, high standards of literacy, staff collaboration, and not forgetting that inclusion, compassion and confidence are priceless.

Click here to go to the GWS ABODA Conducting Seminar, Workshop & Intensive Program 2018 page.