Everybody likes a bit of fun in their lives, especially on their birthday, right? One of my favorite mini-activities I like to do with my students is the Birthday Brigade!
The way this works is very simple. At the beginning of the year, one of the first songs that all of my students learn is "Happy Birthday". We then play it for each other (with the birthday boy/girl conducting) when it is someone's birthday!
This year, I decided to take it up a notch. Each week, staff birthdays are posted in a common area. I take note of who has a birthday coming up and ask for small groups of students who would be willing to go on a "mini field trip" to their room and play "Happy Birthday" to them! I usually have more than enough who are willing to go! My students love sharing their music authentically and brightening someone's day, and it takes only a couple of minutes for them to go to the room, play "Happy Birthday", and come back.
Even though we've just started the Birthday Brigade, I've received lots of positive feedback so far! It's fun, it's easy, and it's a great way for our orchestra to be more visible throughout the school while promoting positive school culture.
Music teachers - do you have a "Birthday Brigade" at your school? How do you increase visibility and find authentic performing opportunities for your students?