Saturday, December 3, 2016

Party Time! (The Day After the Concert)

You've worked hard, you've put all of the details together, and you've given a great concert!  If you are anything like me, this leaves you wiped out the next day.  What to do in your classes?  Celebrate, of course!  This is my system for class parties that keeps it fun, somewhat educational, and not too crazy.

Before the party day, I have students sign up to bring food.  This is pretty simple - I tell them that if they bring food, we will have food at our party, and if not, we won't.  I provide napkins, plates, & cups.  They provide everything else.  I try to get relatively balanced sign-ups in four categories:
Savory snacks
Healthy snacks
Sometimes kids forget to bring their food.  Usually, only about 2/3 of the kids sign up to bring something.  That's fine, then we just have less food at our party.  It doesn't bother me too much, and it doesn't kill them to have one less tub of cookies to choose from.  I don't really contact parents or do any kind of a formal sign up for this - just an informal request to the students in class to bring something.

When they first come in, I have them all put their food in one area of the room.  Then, we watch the video of their portion of the concert and fill out a concert reflection.  I change up the questions I ask, but I always have them reflect on what went well and what could be improved with their musical performance and their behavior, and what they noticed/enjoyed as an audience member.  I always enjoy hearing their responses - it reminds me of when I first felt that power of performing music in a group and the thrill of playing for an audience!

This reflection is their ticket to get food.  As they are working on their concert reflections, I set up the food in a line (trying to group like items together and put the healthy food first to encourage them to eat it).  After they finish their reflections, we go over the rules - mainly, if they make a mess, they have to clean it up.  We have a drinking fountain and sink in our room, so I tell them that drinks can only be poured over the drinking fountain/sink!  I let students who brought food/drinks go through the line first.  Next is students who did not contribute food/drinks to the party.

While they are getting food (and for the rest of class), I take requests to play videos - videos of other groups' performance or fun YouTube videos.  Ground rules are that they have to be school-appropriate (I check them first) and they have to have something to do with our instruments.  Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling, and TwoCellos are some of our favorites.  We usually have 20-30 minutes of these videos during class.  Oh yeah, and I keep the lights off while we are watching - it helps keep the mood calm.

I stop class about 5 minutes early and have students clean everything up, throw it all away, and pick up all of their food (if there is any left over).

What I love about this routine is that:
1) Students are reflecting on their performance.
2) We get to celebrate!  Students really feel like they have a fun day after all of their hard work!
3) It is not that much work for me (because, honestly, after the concert, I'm pretty fried and I need a day to recover).
4) Even the fun videos have some educational value snuck in there - they are great motivators for the students to see what they can do as they improve on their instrument!

After this, we get back to our usual routine, but it is important to take a day to look at how far we've come, celebrate, and enjoy spending time together!


  1. So many kids miss out on having the awesome experience of music concerts and awesome an awesome music teacher like you. You rock Aubrey #sunchatbloggers

  2. Aubrey, I love the way you put together a party - much less stressful than contacting parents and trying to organize the whole thing. And having students write their reflections as tickets to the food is genius! Will definitely share these ideas. #sunchatbloggers