Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Creating a Program: Making Things Fit!

This is the 3rd installment and final (for now) of a series of posts on creating a program.

Something that can be hard to do is find pieces that fit a theme that you have come up with.  Often I start my program with one musical selection that I'm excited about and build the program around that piece.  Last year the piece that inspired me was Lo Yisa Goi (a beautiful Israeli Folk Song).  From that piece I decided to build a concert that traveled around the world visiting different holiday traditions.

What I find difficult is finding pieces that are age appropriate for my groups that fit the theme I have selected.  It can be maddening to round out the concert with that last musical selection.  Another reason that this sometimes stumps me is because I like to have a balance of choral, instrumental and movement in my performances.  Let's face it, we have all been to that monotonous choral performance.  I don't want my concerts to feel that way, so it sometimes makes planning a program more difficult (it may also be my anal nature).  :)

Some tricks I have learned along the way are:

1.  Create your own arrangements.
I have to admit, I did not feel comfortable with this until I took my Level I.  It really helped me better understand how to write for barred instruments and my kids.  This has really opened up song selection because an interesting arrangement and form can drastically change a simple folk song while making it more appropriate for upper grades.

2.  Transfer melodies to recorder.
Once you have created those holiday arrangements, how about performing the melody on recorder.  While most parents don't like to hear their kids practicing this instrument at home, they are very impressed when they perform a melody on it.

3.  Simple Melodies
Besides creating a more complicated harmonic accompaniment, think about how you can up simple songs for older grades.  Can you add movement?  Extend the form?  Add ostinati?  Sing it as a round?

4.  Package Performances
Sometimes package performances have a great script but the musical selections are okay.  Can you replace one of the intended musical selections with another holiday tune.  Or, can you insert other musical selections other places in the musical?

Did you miss the first two posts?  Links are below:

Creating a Program: Theme
Creating a Program: Favorite Resources


  1. Great ideas! I recently bought a program that turned out to be awful. The premise and characters were nice, though! I just re-wrote it and added standard Christmas songs for soloists. Totally works!

    1. Don't you hate that! I bought a few things when I first started teaching and thought that they were just junk. I would never have thought to make it my own before hearing colleagues talk about their programs. It was such an awe dropping moment. "What do you mean I can tailor it to my program?" I remember being dumb founded. For some reason I was under the impression that it was impossible to anyway customize these package programs. Here I had spent hours scouring musicals to try and find the perfect one, the holy grail of musicals! :)


Thank you for commenting on this post! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...