Audition music. Like it or LOVE it, the individual accountability and preparation of this stuff helps mold our little musicians into better versions of themselves.
As band directors, we spend hours meticulously picking at kids as they embark on their journeys to learn their audition music at a very high level. We set up plans for attack, and we harp on them about paying attention to the details, practicing until they “never get it wrong”, and using a metronome. We give them the tools they need to be successful musically, only to have their (and let’s face it, our) blood, sweat and tears often times thwarted by the sweat and tears of performance anxiety.
According to the internet, the number one fear of humans is public speaking. For our kids, performing in front of real live people is a super scary experience. So in addition to preparing them musically, it is our job to find ways to prepare them mentally.
Enter Performance Bingo!
A silly and engaging way to “trick” our kids into practicing performing as much as they’ve practiced their music.
Awesome things about Performance Bingo:
- Performing becomes something fun, not something scary. A little bit of confidence is gained with every repetition.
- People outside of the “band world” get to hear what is going on with our kids. If their other teachers weren’t in band growing up, they have no idea what “All Region” is. It gives the kids a chance to show off (look what I can do… that you, ma’am, cannot). It also gives the other adults in the building a glimpse into the less “public” displays of band (It’s not all pep tunes and parades, y’all.)
- If kids can perform their music for the scariest person in their school (the principal, or that super mean math teacher), suddenly the idea of judges behind a screen isn’t so bad.
- You widen the kids’ cheering section. By inviting others in, everyone is now on their team.
- Healthy competition never hurt anyone, and neither did a little bit of bribery. Being rewarded for hard work and being encouraged to work harder because someone is ahead of you are great life lessons.
- It creates individual accountability. Kids are creating their own performance opportunities instead of just waiting on you to call on them in class. True story: A 7th grade child who had said maybe five words in her entire band career showed up to the HS, knocked on the band office door of the Head HS director and said, “Excuse me, I’m here to play my chromatic scale for you.” All in the name of a candy bar.
The rules are simple. You have one week to get as many signatures on your bingo card as possible. A regular “BINGO” earns a soda or candy bar and a “BLACKOUT” earns your choice of lunch. (Disclaimer: Rewards can always be changed, but I have found that teenagers will do almost anything for free food.)
Interested in Performance Bingo? Please take this card and make it your own.
Meghann Zenteno is the Band Director at Lake Highlands Junior High School, a part of the Richardson Independent School District. She is a graduate of West Texas A&M University and is currently in her 9th year of teaching.
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