Your initial ideas: What are your ideas on this topic? What do you already think about it? What have you learned from your own experience as a student? What have you learned from other sources, such as teachers, parents, friends, or research? Explain your reasoning.
I think warming up is an essential element to any ensemble-based class. As a student, I know that sometimes warm ups can often become monotonous or a chore. I have learned so many methods to warm up, for many different concepts, and many different ways to spice things up.
The voice of authority: This will help you clarify what so-called “experts” have to say on this topic. You do not have to agree with their viewpoints, but you need to be sure that you understand them clearly. What do you know from classes or from research about this topic? In the last section, “Your voice,” you are encouraged to disagree with any of these “authorities;” in this section, try to simply report what they say.
Experts believe that warming up is vital to a successful rehearsal in an ensemble setting. Warming up in a band setting is especially vital to get warm air running through the instruments as well as the percussionists wrists moving. It is also a way to engage students and capture the collective focus of the class at the beginning of the period. Long tones, scales and arpeggios, rhythmic exercises, articulation exercises, etc. are all great methods for warming up
Your initial observations: What do you notice in your field experience classroom that gives you hints about your mentor teacher’s ideas on this topic? Make your best guess about your mentor teacher’s ideas before you discuss the topic with him or her. Do you notice anything surprising or anything you didn’t expect?
I have noticed that the class goes through the same warm up routine daily. They start out with a chromatic scale (Concert C to Concert C), 4 whole notes in a row, with a breath in between each set of 4. They call them 4-by-4s. Then they do major and minor scales and arpeggios, sometimes applying staccato, marcato, accented, or legato articulation. I think he knows this to be an effective method of warming up since it covers a lot of bases. I think he knows the students don’t care for them much, and as such he tries to get through them pretty quickly.
Students’ voice: What does the behavior of students in the class suggest to you about this topic? How do the teacher’s words or behavior seem to affect the students? Or, if you are teaching, how do your words or behavior seem to affect the students? If you have time, ask one or two students their opinions on the topic, and record their responses. Does anything you observe fit with your own experience as a student, or are there differences? Is anything surprising to you?
The students seem to not be super engaged while they are doing the warm ups. More so out of necessity. They go into auto-pilot it seems, and thus aren’t as actively engaged in their weaker areas. Most of the students I’ve spoken with agree that warm ups aren’t exciting, and that they know they’re good for them, but not exactly how. I found that surprising.
Mentor teacher’s voice: Ask your mentor teacher about his or her point of view on this topic. You do not have to agree with this viewpoint, you just have to respect his or her opinion. Is anything surprising to you? In your observations, do your mentor teacher’s practices seem to match his or her ideas? Why or why not? In the next section, “Your voice,” you are encouraged to disagree with your mentor teacher’s ideas; here, try to simply report his or her perspective.
My mentor teacher believes warm ups are a necessity. His practices definitely match his beliefs. He believes doing warm ups is something that is routine that is great for unifying the mindset of the class before actually diving into the real musical pieces. He doesn’t vary the warm ups to support that routine behavior so that the students come to class knowing what’s expected of them. He says his warm ups cover a lot of ground, which is very true.
Your voice: Summarize what you think you know at this point about the topic, based on your observations and the different voices. When you are the teacher in the classroom, what will you do, and why will you do it that way? (It’s ok to choose to do something different than your mentor teachers or the course instructors, if you can explain your reasoning.)
I personally think warm ups are a vital part of any ensemble-based classroom. Concepts that show up in rehearsal should be worked on and reinforced in the warm ups. I personally believe that warm up procedure should be the same at the start of class, but that the actual warm ups should change sporadically to address more concepts depending on the rehearsal’s needs. Other than that, addressing long tones, scales and arpeggios, rhythmic exercises, articulation exercises, etc. are all important things to cover in class before. Warm ups are a foundation of student success in a band room.