Discover Prompt 10: Orchestrate

Orchestration is part of the very soul of the work.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Although I’ve been in education 52 years, I’ve never taught in elementary school nor have I tried to orchestrate an end-of-year music program for third graders. If I had, I would have been overwhelmed. Totally.

Orchestration requires planning — the right music, the right moves, the right leads.

Pajama Party performance: Third graders at Blue Grass Elementary

But orchestration also demands patience, humor, understanding — and maybe just a little craziness.

The music teacher in charge must consider who should sing the solo parts, and who should take the leads for narrating the program. She also selects and practices with students the music sung by the large group, the hand motions (preferably done all together at the right moment), and the ups and downs of singing and acting with group mentality. Sometimes orchestration simply means getting everyone to pay attention to what song’s up next.

Third grade minor miracle — All doing what they’re supposed to at the right time!

Perhaps performances like this aren’t headliners on the world scale, but to those in charge, those performing, and those watching with adoration, orchestration — even on a small scale — is nothing less than a stellar event in the course of a school year.

Belting out the final number at the Blue Grass Elementary 3rd grade performance

Sadly now, we are practicing social distancing by staying in our homes and closing our schools for the corona virus pandemic, As a result, we long for end-of-year orchestrations such as this.

And we also long for — and need — silly times, happy times, being-best-friends times.

Making silly faces for a doting grandmother who said, “Show me something funny!”

For no matter how small they may be, these little orchestrated performances are the stellar events we wish we had right now.

Rusha Sams

This post is one of a series of one-word prompts for April 2020 called Discover Prompts by WordPress. Enjoy!

7 thoughts on “Discover Prompt 10: Orchestrate

  1. kzmcb

    I’m still in education and for the last 18 years, in a place where people quit, rather than go. The high school students are reluctant learners, in the main. But as we prepare to teach them at a safe distance, I’m very aware of how much we usually orchestrate the learning, even when there’s multiple attempts going on. I suddenly realize that when I’m contacting the ones we haven’t heard from, I will need to balance tone and tempo, care and command.
    Thank you for the opportunity to reflect.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      For 10 years, I was a consultant to our state’s High Priority schools. It took much orchestration to study the data, make a plan, and work with dedicated teachers like you to find new resources and different ways to approach teaching and learning. Hats off to you for all you have done and still may be doing. Teaching is the best job in the world, but it may be the most difficult as well. Thanks you for all you do.

It makes our day to hear from you.