Performing Classroom (General) Music
for Public Relations and Advocacy
PURPOSE: The purpose of this page about the Orff Consort is to present two little known facts. (1) Classroom (general) music is not as publically visible as are choruses, bands, orchestras, wind ensembles, jazz groups, etc., because there are no concerts associated with teaching general music. Yet well-taught classroom music internally builds all these other music organizations. As you read, you'll see that general music does not have to remain hidden. (2) Well-taught and well-executed classroom (general) music can be performed and demonstrated for audiences the same as any other music disciplines and, in doing so, accomplishes music education advocacy for the arts!
DESCRIPTION: The COCHRAN CONSORT, begun in 1993, founded and directed by myself, consisted of approximately 20 fourth and fifth graders. The CONSORT was distinctly different from all other performing groups (band, orchestra, or chorus) in that they showcased classroom music activities and skills. These were performed at the highest level of independent and internal musicianship; which means, the students performed and improvised musically with all interrelated elements without the external guidance of a conductor. They performed without a conductor, meaning that they conducted themselves from within themselves. Overall, the Williamsport classroom (general) music program was (and still is) the foundation of all the school district's bands, orchestras, and choruses.
The CONSORT's rehearsals were before or after school hours. These dedicated students willingly gave their own time for this extra-curricular activity. Students learned a show of 8-10 selections which included many facets of classroom music. They performed instrumentally on xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels, recorders, and many formal and folk instruments. They performed vocally with rhythmic speech and singing. Music was created on the spot through rhythmic and melodic improvisation. Many selections were accompanied with free as well as specific rhythmic choreography. Various multi-cultural and multi-styles were represented, such as ethnic, folk, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, contemporary, jazz, and blues to name a few.
When the show was mastered, the CONSORT performed throughout the community. Local performances were the Capitol Arts Theater grand opening, various nursing homes, the Old Jail Craft Center, the Ross and Country Clubs, the Newberry Lioness Club, the Williamsport Consistory, the Williamsport Lions Club, the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, and the Penn Laurel Chapter American Business Women's Club. Dress was black pants/skirts and white shirts/blouses, accented with red sequined cummerbunds, bow ties, and vests to highlight the Williamsport "Millionaire" colors.
The priority of every performance was to promote positive public relations toward and well-informed knowledge about music education in our schools and music appreciation in the community.
SELECT PERFORMANCE CREDITS
- Invited to present a demonstration session at the PMEA Conference, Monroeville, PA, April, 1997. The session, titled ADVOCACY AND CLASSROOM MUSIC, focused on how public performances of artistic classroom music promotes music advocacy.
- Invited to perform in the State Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg, PA, for Music-In-Our-Schools-Month; March 26, 1996
- Invited to perform at the MENC Eastern Division Conference, Rochester, NY, March, 1995. As quoted from the invitation: "The selection process was highly competitive, and groups chosen to perform represent the highest standard of excellence in musical achievement!"
- Invited to perform at the American Orff-Schulwerk Association's National Conference, in Philadelphia, PA; November 11, 1994
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