Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Princeless Princess

This Spring my after school groups (Chorus, Orff and Recorders) performed the musical "The Princeless Princess".  This is a Randy and Jeff publication and the 2nd of their musicals I have performed with my kids.  Last winter we did "Five Golden Rings" and it was just as adorable as this musical.

I love these musicals because they come with everything; orchestration, text, staging, movement and costume suggestions.  The price is very reasonable ($20.00 + shipping) and the best part is that everything is kid done.  This is something the art teacher and I have been striving towards since opening our school a few years ago.  Up until this performance even the back drop and props were made by our art club (my art teacher was 8 1/2 months pregnant by the time this performance came around).

I love musicals and they have become a spring tradition at our school. Some of the things I like to do are:

-Put every child in costume.
I know, this sounds impossible but it can be done. The costume does not have to be extravagant. For some of the characters in this musical all I provided was a beret and handkerchief. I think that putting everyone in costume (even instrumentalists) makes the performance special for everyone and it helps set the scene for the audience.

-Involve kids in the whole process.
Duh! I know this is probably a give in but sometimes I get so wrapped up in getting everything rehearsed and done for the performance that I forget to slow down and get the kids in put. Have the kids help make decisions about entering, exiting the stage, movement, props, etc. It's their performance and they will take so much more pride in a production they helped create. Although I love the fact that Randy and Jeff give you everything, I use it as a jumping off point. What can we do to make it our own?

-Find Hidden Talents
Use your kids talents to make it a special production. This year I found out that one of my 4th grade chorus boys loves to sew! He made the robes for the King and Princes. What a great memory! It was so cute to hear the kids brag to their friends about the boy in chorus that "made" the costumes. :)

-Promote Your Program
Giving a performance that demonstrates the gamut of the Orff process is a great way to show parents what kids are doing not only after school but in your classroom. It also shows younger students what they can be a part of when they are in 3rd, 4th, 5th grade.

Some suggestions for getting resources:

-Teacher Wishlist
At Meet Your Teacher and Open House I make sure to put out a list of items that I could use in my classroom. These don't have to be items families have to spend money on. I include old Halloween costumes, fabric remnants, stuffed animals/puppets, etc. to my list. You'll be surprised at what shows up in your mailbox or at your door. Some of the fabric I used for this musical was donated by a parent who had a bunch of scrap fabric laying around her house.

I recently did my first project on donorschoose.org. I wasn't really sure how the whole process worked, so I kept it simple. I asked for a variety of materials and I was truly surprised at how quickly the project was funded and easy the process was. Don't just look at Woodwind and Brasswind. I was able to request fabric by the yard from one of the art supply companies. The fabric I received helped costume some of the children this year and will make more costumes for next year.

Ask parents, teachers, family members for coupons. When I was looking for fabric this year JoAnn's had an amazing ad with twenty coupons in it. I saved myself $300 on fabric because I had the coupons!

Parents are a wonderful resource. Create an email distribution list for your performing groups. This is a great way to keep parents informed about upcoming events and to enlist their help. Parents helped me this year by volunteering their time to make costumes/props, shop for items we needed, serve ice cream at our end of the year party, etc. These parents not only help with what the kids need but they are usually the parents who come to be your greatest advocates.

-Older Siblings
Many of my students have brothers and sisters in middle and high school. These students can be a great resource to take advantage of. One of these older siblings of a student at my school happens to be a truly talented artist. She makes beautiful posters and props for our productions and in exchange she can use this time as part of her volunteer hours.

This is the display case in the lobby of our school. It's a great place to advertise music events.

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