Tuesday 9 September 2014

La Rentrée

Taught everyone now, so no more lessons that start with giving out books. :-)

We have a great app that uploads our timetables and class lists to our iPads. random pupil selector seems to be a hit with the boys, or at least a novelty.

This week our ensembles restart and each year, rather as with sports teams we have to get them to work together and turn them into orchestras, choirs and jazz bands.

Over the summer I did orchestral conducting bootcamp and so am looking forward to using what I learned. It was hard core, but a great week. The other 35 or so participants were all very interesting and there was plenty of camaraderie and funny stories, mixed in with standing on a rostrum and being publicly humiliated each day, by three tutors. And I got to play the horn a lot in the class orchestra, which was 20 of us plus two professional pianists.

Tomorrow I do the first full orchestra rehearsal which is always a bit crazy, trying to get 45 boys sat down ASAP, tuned and playing and I set out the chairs, stands and music in advance. Fortunately, the routine with any orchestra is identical, so once they can do it at school, they can do it anywhere in the world. I do feel I am the equivalent of an infant teacher, passing on those crucial skills like how to hold a pen and form letters. It's just I deal in making sure your bowing matches your section principal. How to follow a conductor, especially if you sit at the back and play something loud. And never playing an open E string unless the conductor explicitly asks for it. Which I don't as a rule. :-)

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