The End of Semester One, The Start of PEX2, and The Exhaustion of Miss Brereton: A 3 Part Series
It's been hectic. Immensely enjoyable, challenging and fun, but very hectic and exhausting over the past few weeks. I've learned, sung and experienced so much and I feel that I'm becoming a better teacher and a better person every day.
PART ONE: THE END OF SEMESTER ONE
This semester was one of the most enjoyable and educationally rewarding ones I've had at the Conservatorium. I began the semester with PEX1 at Banksmeadow and ended it heading into my second round of PEX, now as an SLSO with the Department of Education, running primary music classes.
My first task as I approached the end of semester was to get through all my assessment tasks before starting on my first high school prac (spoiler alert: I did not.) I had a few (quite short) essays to write which didn't present much of a challenge, however I found it hard to motivate myself to write them when I had assessment tasks to complete that were a part of my current teaching and that my students were able to benefit from as well. I very quickly realised when beginning prac that the essays I'd written were very helpful to me. My Adolescent Psychology essay was incredibly helpful in helping me be more compassionate and understanding towards my students who seemed more 'difficult' in the classroom because they were going through certain stages or aspects of development, and my Teaching Jazz rationale on teaching improvisation in the classroom came in handy today when I reused the exact activity I'd written about with my Year 10 class. I'm really grateful to have these chances to reflect because I'm realising how much value and practical application all the courses I'm taking have (though it probably shouldn't have taken me this long to catch on!!)
However, the assignments I really enjoyed were the creative ones where I was able to make something and be musical! The concept of 'musicking' has really resonated deeply with me this semester and I think its such a vital part of the kind of music educator I want to be, which I think explains why I loved these assignments so much.
For Popular Music Studies, we were instructed to write, cover or remix a song of our choosing in a new style, and because I'm a lyric soprano with an unhealthy love of pop punk music, I decided I would ruin everyones favourite Killers song (Mr Brightside) by turning it into the sappiest pop ballad I could manage. AND IT WORKED!!! I was actually quite happy with the outcome, especially since this project (and my Bruno project) were the first things I'd ever recorded and mixed before. I'm hoping I can make a mini music video using some of the skills I learned in TechEd in the school holidays, but for now -- here is the recording!! Enjoy!
My Virtual Choir version of We Don't Talk About Bruno has been so fun and exhausting to put together, but my kids have been so excited to see it, and having them and their parents be so supportive of my project and my degree has made all the difference. All my students and their families were so lovely and did their very best to be flexible while I tried to figure out how I could do PEX and still fit everyone into my timetable which was wonderful, and I think the impact its having on my teaching during private tuition is really making a difference. One of my students were really struggling to engage with their singing lessons and seemed to be bored until they started writing their own songs and asked for my help in making chords, recording parts and writing new sections. The parents were so supportive of us continuing the lesson structure this way in writing and recording songs for the student and it was amazing to see the impact this small change had on the student and their engagement in their lessons.
The finished version of We Don't Talk About Bruno by the students of Tutti Music Academy will be available on instagram ( @tutti.music.academy ) and eventually here following its premiere at the Sydney Conservatorium on Thursday night (which my students are also very excited about!!) but here is a small snippet of the audio
My semester ended with my recital for Voice Four (which I was meant to complete in 2020 and then 2021... but better late than never). I can't say it was my best performance. This recital has been sitting in the back of my mind bugging me for nearly 2 years now and I just wanted to get it over with. I'm glad its over and I'm glad that I can finally move onto newer and harder pieces, but I do wish I'd been able to give more to this performance. I am excited to share a video of the progress I've made over the last two years... enjoy!