Monday, August 18, 2014

Define Quality

We are really getting into the nitty-gritty of performance assessment in the arts now.  But this is the point where it could be most effective for students (and therefore, the program).
Which of these lists will help a student become independent

List 1
Can I sing?

List 2
Am I using proper abdominal breathing?
Am I using a north/south mouth shape with teeth apart and correct lip shapes?
Can I sing one note while someone else sings a different note?
Can I sing a non-melodic part independently & accurately?
Do I take breaks at predetermined, thoughtful locations in the music (phrases)?
If there are certain notes that the composer has indicated to be performed specially, am I doing that (articulation)?

Since we have 18 learning targets (see previous post), we have at least 18 questions.  The more questions a student is able to demonstrate positively, the better the chance of a quality musical performance.

But students also benefit from non-examples, and so I have provided what each learning target would look or sound like when not performed with quality.  This is not to make a student feel bad.  Rather, it is the start of a conversation leading to growth.

Furthermore, each of these 18 learning targets can be applied to any level of musical achievement.  You can use these learning targets and their examples at a 6th grade or 12th grade level.  In fact, twenty years after graduating with a performance degree, I could still use these same learning targets.

Finally, every example and non-example offers strategies for improvement.  I have compiled a beginning list, not an exhaustive list of steps to take to move to the next level.  I could imagine pulling together a list of warmups based completely on each of these 18 learning targets (i.e., "Need to work on articulation?  Work on exercises 22 and 23 for next week.")

Click HERE to view the full spreadsheet (click tabs on the bottom to switch topics).
The learning targets for "Intonation"

The next post will get into how to use these with students.

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