September Surprise!

Several years ago I started the tradition of holding a September Surprise! event as the kick-off for the new school year. I hold it sometime the week of Labor Day and then officially resume lessons the following week. The point is for students to practice and prepare a piece and then surprise me with it. They are allowed to review and polish something from the previous year, learn something new, work up a duet or ensemble…basically anything they want. It’s always fun to see what they come up with!

The event also serves as a great time for me to announce the theme for the upcoming year, explain the details and hand out the assignment books. This year’s theme is “Mastering the Mystery of Music.” Each of the students has been enlisted as a Private Eye and is working to collect clues, crack codes, uncover mystery words and solve the mystery of music by the end of the year. It should be exciting!

I failed to snap as many pictures as I would have liked from our kick-off, but here is one from our introductory game – The Description Game:

Here are the instructions for the game:
1. Give each student a slip of paper and have them write down one sentence to describe themselves.
2. Split the students into equal groups and give each group a sheet of paper.
3. Have them number it on the left hand side according to the number of descriptions that will be read.
4. Read through all the descriptions and have the groups work together to identify which student fits each description. At the end, the team with the most correct matches, wins!

This was a fun get-to-know-you game and I was impressed at how well the students did. One group got all of them right and the other two groups only missed a couple. It was a good way to start putting our detective skills to work… 🙂

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