- What should I be doing to ensure my student is as successful in their ensemble as possible? Parents are an important part of what we do. You’re our eyes and ears at home–if your student never brings their instrument home to practice, ask them why, and try to reinforce our expectation that they should be practicing at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, regardless of their instrument or grade level. It can help to build a schedule for this–many students find that practicing over the weekend, when it’s easiest to bring home an instrument, can allow them to knock out three of their five expected days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Help your student stick to it–they’ll be amazed at the payoff. Also, learn more about your student’s instrument! We have a host of resources available here on proper technique, practice tips and more.
- What should my student be practicing? There’s almost always ensemble music and SmartMusic assignments (new for 2011-12!) to be working on. But in addition to that, every student should be working on fundamentals (scales, flexibility, fingering exercises, percussion rudiments, etudes, etc.), any jury materials for which they’re responsible, and anything they’re studying in private lessons, if applicable. If you or your student feel that they could stand to have more to work on, let us know–we’re always eager to see students go above and beyond! Students should also be listening to as much high quality music for their instrument or ensemble as possible! Few things educate us as musicians as much as listening to great music.
- Is my student required to perform a jury? Not after the end of the 2010-11 school year. In 2011-12, the NHS ensembles are switching to SmartMusic as both a practice tool and for periodic evaluations of student progress.
- Is my student required to use SmartMusic at home? No, but if possible, we strongly recommended it. Obviously, not all homes will have the capability of running the SmartMusic software, so we have set up multiple stations at NHS that students can use for practice or to complete assignments. But if possible, we recommend purchasing a subscription to SmartMusic ($36/year) and the SmartMusic microphone ($19/PC, $29/Mac) for use at home–it’s an incredibly powerful practice tool that gives students instant feedback on their performance as well as suggestions for correcting problems, and it will allow your student to complete assignments at home, on their own time. Check out their website for more information!
- I’d like to be more involved in supporting music and the arts at NHS. What can I do? First and foremost, support your student. Make sure that they’re practicing, keeping up with scheduled obligations, able to attend all rehearsals and performances and (this is often overlooked) getting enough sleep! Communicate with them, and make sure that both you and they understand their responsibilities. Second, come to performances, and encourage others to do the same! Nothing gets our students more excited than to know that they’re performing high quality music and reaching a wide audience. Third, consider volunteering or contributing to the Norwell Scholastic Arts Society, our arts boosters group here in Norwell. They do wonderful work in helping the arts get the support, exposure and resources we need to give our students the finest arts education possible.
As always, if you have any more questions and don’t find answers on the website, feel free to contact either Mr. O’Briant or Mrs. Cortright!