I am their self-proclaimed biggest fan and roadie. When others are kicking back and relaxing it’s the time that the road crew is in high gear. The Johnson Junior High Band traveled up to Chico in the middle of last month to participate in the Chico Music Festival. It was a day off from school for these kids and for their peers and teachers as well. It is labeled a Local Holiday on the Pierce District Calendar and so our band members gave up their free time to ride on a school bus to have their efforts judged and compared to other schools in the competition. I am awe-struck by their dedication.
There was another aspect that impressed me. Being a junior high event, it was open to those through 9th grade. Our junior high is 6-8 and the high school houses the freshmen. Our band was comprised of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. A little effort from the powers at be needed to be employed for this to be pulled off. They required necessary practice time to become one. The outcome of the competition would tell if it was fruitful.
At the end of playing their competition pieces, the band usually gets some instruction from one of the judges. Each band member can decide if they will benefit from the critique. We have talked about mindset in the past; a person’s attitude or mental state. Simply put, we either exercise a fixed or growth mindset. There is no ability for growth in a fixed mindset. We need to plan on developing a growth mindset.
These mini workshops mostly stress fundamentals, yet this one had a vastly different theme. He picked on the trombone players to sing a few notes. Sing not play. He asked them to carry their notes to the other side of the room and verbally shared what this would add. He complimented them on their ability and then asked them to finish by including their instruments as an extension of themselves. He visually perfected the moment with his coaching and verbally painted what could be. He had thrown out the challenge to take it to the next level. Band members were not to spend their energy any longer on trying to produce a beautiful noise, they were to focus their attention on creating the moment; their instruments would follow. This was something new for a lot of them that day.
We learned at the end of the day why the instruction was unique. The JJH Band had performed to the best of their ability and the judges had substantiated it. They were awarded a Superior rating; there is no higher. Their play is top-quality and the next level is to add the magic. You should be adding the magic also. Thanks for following along. Please leave comments at Scott@Arenscp.com. ■