Monday, November 5, 2012

Creating a Program: Theme

Recently a teacher who follows my blog emailed asking about how I start or come up with a concert program.  Over the next few weeks I will post about this; how I go about creating a program and putting a twist on package programs.  I hope this is helpful as you plan for your holiday performances or for another later in the year.

This may sound crazy but I start planning my winter program in May!  I don't finalize anything but I want at least a vague idea of where I'm headed and what date I'm working towards.  I find that starting my year with these events semi planned helps give me direction and lower my stress level.  It doesn't concern me that I'm not sure which kids will be in my group because I can always tweak things later to meet the overall ability of the group.

My winter concert is more on the traditional choral side of things.  Most of our singing is standing on risers with some stationary movement.  However, I do like to add some dances in with small groups and our orff group does all of the instrumental parts and some highlight pieces as well.  In addition to all of this I like to have some sort of script and offer some kids the opportunity of a narrators role.  I usually create this script so that it fits the theme of our program and highlights some of the skills involved in the performance of the piece.

When I am planning for this event I always like to start with a theme.  One year it was A Passport Through the Holidays another Toys.  Usually a specific piece inspires the theme.  For my Passport Through the Holidays concert it was Lo Yisa Goi, an Israeli Folk Song.  While this piece is not a traditional holiday piece, it had a great message that is prevalent at the holidays.  Once I have the theme it is easy to focus in on what other pieces of music would fit well in the program.

You can make just about any theme work.  Here are some jumping off points:

-by composer
-by region
-by holiday
-by subject (i.e. toys)

And on and on....

Since it is close to the holidays, what are some of your favorite themes for holiday programs?

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