Friday, January 12, 2018

From 'Practice Plan' to 'Performance Reflection'

The traditional practice plan has been revised to better reflect the realities of the program and student needs. Practice and reflection are necessary components to improving on an instrument. The reality is that most of the 'practice' that students are involved in takes place in the context of a band rehearsal or lessons at school with some additional practicing taking place outside of school.

The old practice plan was used for students to record and reflect on their practice at home. This was a well-intentioned method for encouraging home practice and an opportunity for students to provide a document that indicated that work was being done outside of school to improve.  The questions on the practice plan were specific to working on one's own and were 'assignment' based.  This posed some limitations.

With student input, the old practice plan has been revised and is now called a PERFORMANCE REFLECTION form.  Notable differences are:
  • Not assignment-based. Students can choose to focus on one specific musical work.
  • Can be used in the context of a rehearsal, lesson or solo practice session at school or at home
  • Opportunity to analyze self, section or large group playing
  • Opportunity to define next steps
  • Can be done 'in real time'- in the context of rehearsal
  • Aligned to MA Music Standard (Critical Response)
  • Aligned to UDL guidelines
6th Grade and 8th Grade band students have begun using the new performance reflection form in rehearsals and it has proven to be an excellent organizing tool.  After we play for awhile, we pause and students have a chance to reflect and write on the form in real time. They make suggestions for what they, their section and the entire band needs to work on next.  

The performance reflection forms are mini data-gathering tools which provide useful information about next steps for all lesson groups and rehearsals. This revision is already transforming the nature of rehearsals.

The new form is available on the practice tab of our website. There is a printable form and a digital version. Forms are always available to students at the student help center in the band room. Having the option of using the reflection form at school should prove to be beneficial to students as they will have documented real reasons to practice with the what and why already identified.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Concert Week Schedule Dec 2017

The Nessacus Winter Concert is THIS Wednesday, December 13, 7pm. Students should arrive at Nessacus by 6:30 to warm up and prepare.  NOTE: THIS CONCERT WILL OCCUR EVEN IF THERE IS A SNOW DAY TUESDAY. 

Concert Dress is required:
  • Black Pants/Long Skirt
  • White top/blouse
  • All Black "dressy" is also acceptable
  • Boys may wear ties
  • No Jeans or sneakers if at all possible
Thank you! We are looking forward to seeing you there.

This is the planned schedule for combined rehearsals.
Monday, December 11 (B day)- Period 5- 6th Grade Band Members join 7th regular rehearsal
Tuesday, December 12 (C day)- Period 4 7th Grade Band Members join 8th regular rehearsal
Wednesday, December 13 (D day)- 
Period 3-8th Grade Band Members join 7th regular final rehearsal
Period 6-6th and 7th Grade Band students combine for final rehearsal
Period 7-Jazz Band members (small group of 6-8 students)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year!

Welcome to a new school year. As always, we have a variety of musical performances and activities planned for the year.  4 Bands will be hard at work this year learning, creating and preparing for public performances:  6th Grade Band, 7th Grade Band, 8th Grade Band and Jazz Band (meets after school on Mondays starting 11/13)

The information below should help in planning for parents and students. We have a social media presence on Twitter at @NessacusMusic . Along with REMIND (an app that you can use to receive texts about upcoming events, etc..see below), Twitter will be used to share relevant information about the program throughout the year.

Sign up and receive text message updates from the music program

6 Band 1718-@h7fc7f 7 Band 1718-@kk7ace 8 Band 1718-@acg324
Jazz Band 1718-@43976ge

Friday, October 20th- UMASS Field Trip

Saturday, December 2nd- Junior District Auditions (select students)

Saturday, December 9th- Light Up The Holidays 6:15pm at the Dalton Library

Wednesday, December 13th- Winter Concert 7pm

Wednesday, April 11th- Pops Concert

Monday, May 28th- Memorial Day Parades (Becket/Hinsdale) 7th and 8th Grade

Late May/Early June- Music In The Parks Competition Trip TBA
Potential Additional Spring Concert To Be Determined
June TBA- 6th Grade Plays for 5th Graders
June TBA-7th Grade Band plays for Graduation


Google Classroom Codes (for students to sign up)

6th Grade Band-dvezhh
7th Grade Band-5c4f863
8th Grade Band-t5xqp2
Jazz Band- w7mpjs7


Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 11 Concert Recordings Are Up!

Here is a link to the Music In Our School's Month MUSIC FROM LITERATURE Concert held on April 11, 2017.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Music Inspires: Music In Our School's Month 2017 at Nessacus Middle School

The National Association for Music Education (of which Central Berkshire Music Teachers belong) designates March as Music In Our School's Month (MIOSM) annually.  School music programs throughout the country celebrate the month in their own ways but with the common idea of promoting the educational value of music study and performance in schools.  This year's theme is 'Music Inspires'

PARENTS TAKE THE MIOSM SURVEY! The data will be shared at the next concert! 

As a district, there are always concerts scheduled in March or early April in celebration of MIOSM.  WRHS will present a concert of the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's on March 16th and 17th, Craneville (grades 3-5) students will perform a concert on March 24th at 1:30. At Nessacus, students participate in a variety of ways.

All band and chorus students are preparing for a "Music from Books" Concert on April 11th (7:00pm).  Music being performed is related to literature/books in some way and students will dress up as their favorite book character (voluntary). This is a joint celebration of Read Across America and MIOSM.

Other ways students will participate in MIOSM this month:
Students will be exploring the question "What Music Means To Me.." by
  • Sharing and reading music quotes in the morning announcements
  • Recording themselves playing with friends at school or at home
  • Drawing pictures about music and their relationship with it
  • Creating Blogs and sharing media about music
  • Dancing to music 
  • Our very own Alexis Ayotte is performing with the All Western MA Junior Band at UMASS on March 18th (3pm)
  • Writing music
  • Recruiting new band and chorus members
  • Interviewing parents and other family members about why and how they value music
  • Music Tech students are creating Google slideshows entitled "The Story of My Life" where they find music to match the mood and feeling behind various key moments in their lives
What Does Music Mean to YOU??  Feel free to comment below!

More information about the history of MIOSM can be found at the NafME website

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Nessacus Concert Features Literary Theme: "Music from Books"

The Central Berkshire Music Department has a history of producing themed concerts in March and April to celebrate Music In Our Schools Month. Recent, memorable high school productions have featured a concert of Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of The Moon, an 'Irish Music' Concert, a 'Creepy/Spooky' Music Concert and The Beatles's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band Album (being reprised this year on March 16 and 17).  Recent Nessacus programs have included, Music from Films, Broadway, Music in America (student projects) and 2016's "ROCK Concert". 

This year at Nessacus students are preparing for a production (on April 11th at 7pm) that loosely has the theme "Music from Books/Literature".  As many films are based and books, there's a pretty good pool of music to pick from. Finding and arranging music that is playable by young musicians is the challenge. Music currently being rehearsed by the grade level bands includes:

  • Music from Willy Wonka (book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
  • A "tone poem" based on Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart (which 7th graders study)
  • Music from the Wizard of Oz
  • A musical representation of "The Jabberwocky" from Alice in Wonderland
  • Music from Harry Potter
  • Music from Twilight
  • Music from the Hunger Games
There will  also be choral selections to round out the programming. We are looking forward to presenting this concert and hope you'll mark your calendars for the night of April 11th, 2017 for MUSIC FROM BOOKS.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Nessacus Music Performance Dates December 2016

Please see the notes below about students who are involved in these events.  All students are involved in the Winter Concert on Thursday, December 15th.


Some but not all students are involved in the Mary Verdi Christmas Show taking place at Wahconah, Dec 9th (7pm) and 10th 2pm.   These students already know who they are and have been receiving updates.

Some but not all students are participating in the Western MA Junior District Festival Auditions on December 10th. These students already know who they are and have been receiving updates.

Some 7th and 8th Graders are participating in the Dalton Light Up The Holidays celebration on December 10th 6:15-8pm at the Dalton Library. These students already know who they are and have been receiving updates.

The WINTER CONCERT FOR ALL NESSACUS BAND AND CHORAL STUDENTS is Thursday, December 15th, 7pm.  Show up time is 6:30pm.  Dress is Black and White except for Chorus members who have special T Shirts with logos.