As I am sure you all know by now, working with middle school students can be invigorating as their physical energy level is usually at 150%. I learned over the years that if all that external energy could be converted into internal energy and expressed through their music, the outcome would be amazing!
How to harness energy
The first thing that needs to be addressed is that there is a limit to their energy. If used up too fast, there will be nothing left. Whether for a single piece or an entire concert performance, you always want a strong finish both in class and in front of an audience. In other words, save something for the end.
By practicing this concept during your daily rehearsals, it will come naturally to students. When performance season comes around they will be ready and pre-concert jitters, more easily contained.
I used to give my students the example of a marathon race. Participants show up on the day, anxious to bounce into the race! However, the winners are often those that start relaxed but finish strong—saving their energy for the final sprint.
I asked my class to imagine that each rehearsal was like a marathon and that their energy would have to last for that final sprint before the bell rang, ending on a high note each day.
On concert days, just as in daily classroom rehearsals, energy should be saved for the performance (the sprint!) When a group of middle school students achieves this level of energetic discipline, you will experience an exciting, enthusiastic performance on stage. Our group motto was; “Save it for the show!”