Thursday, August 30, 2012

TJ High School--Tour of the Music Department

 I want to share with you a little tour of the TJ High School Music wing.  Enjoy!!!!!
My home: The Choral Room :-)

This is one of our hallway practice rooms
Piano room with about 5 pianos.

This is another hallway practice room that is used as a recording studio for our Music Technology kids.
This is our band uniform room.  LOTS of storage!!!!
This is our Piano Lab.  We have over 20 pianos in this room.
This is a sound proof practice room located in the Piano Lab.

Music Library--houses all the music for Band, Chorus, and Orchestra

Music Technology Lab.  this Lab houses 20 Pianos and 20 Computers loaded with Finale.  :-)

There is also a band room, office, and another classroom where Music Theory is taught.  I still need to take pictures of our auditorium.  :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Feeling Myself

I must start by saying how grateful I am to my husband for making it possible for me to stay at home with our three beautiful boys for an entire year.  Staying at home enabled me to spend more time with our boys and it also allowed me to learn how to use a sewing machine, how to can various fruits and vegetables, how to crochet (probably my FAVORITE hobby now!), and I was fortunate to meet some amazing women and their children at Church of the Brethren Learning Center (where Josh goes to preschool).  This wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't had the opportunity to stay home.  I am truly blessed to have had a year full of all of these wonderful things.

With that being said......even with all of the wonderful experiences and all the extra time I had with my boys, I felt lost.  I didn't feel like myself.  I felt as though something in my life was missing.

Now that I'm back in school teaching, I know EXACTLY what was missing from my life.  I must have been meant to be a teacher- because I feel whole....I've found myself again.  :-)

The Arts and Communications Academy is the "big picture."  A part of the ACA is the Advanced Music Studies program (AMS) in which I am the vocal music teacher.  Students must complete a rigorous audition including two contrasting pieces of music and a face-to face interview.  When they are in the program, they are required to take Music Theory, Aural Skills, Piano, Music History, and Chamber Choir (or Chamber Ensemble).

This week, we have given students a Music Theory test to determine the level they should be placed in.  We also administered a piano survey to determine their proper piano class.  The remainder of the week has been spent on Copland's book, What to Listen for in Music.  I was asked to teach a lesson on harmony and tone color, so I brought in (my favorite): Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition,to assist me. 

Very soon, I hope to share with you a "tour" of our Music wing.  I just need to get the pictures first.  :-)  I also have to share that I told my AMS students about my favorite nicknames that my Damascus kids gave me--"Sassy Berry" and "Mama Bear."  On the way out on that first day, one of them said, "See ya tomorrow, Mama Bear."  It brought a smile to my face!!!!  :-)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to School.....

Being that my blog title comes from one of my favorite movies of all time, Billy Madison, I feel it is only appropriate to begin this post with a song from the same movie:

"Back to school.  Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool.  I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight. Ohhhhhh, back to school.  Back to school.  Back to school."

If you haven't heard by now (or figured it out by the title of this blog or the above song), I am the proud new choral director at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, MD.  I will be working in a school that has the Arts and Communications Academy of Frederick County.  Music students in this academy are required to take Music History, Music Theory, Aural Skills, Piano, and an ensemble.  I am very fortunate to be teaching in a school with such an amazing program and I look forward to the challenges I will have in the upcoming years at TJ!
Governor Thomas Johnson High School

Due to my new job, there will be some changes in our family dynamics.  Scot will become "Mr. Mom."  Yes, Scot will be staying home with the boys, schlepping them to and from school, and doing laundry and various other things around the house.  There is no doubt in my mind that Scot will be phenomenal in his new role.  This is a temporary change until he completely liquidates his business and finds a job elsewhere.  :-)

Michael Keaton in "Mr. Mom"
We have several things to do before I begin work on Monday.  I will attend New Teacher Orientation, so I start before the other FCPS teachers.  I also have a TON of teaching materials in my attic that I have to transport over to TJ.  I panicked the other day because I couldn't picture where my cows or my "dead dudes" (pictures of many famous composers) are.  As long as I have those, I'll be good to go.

Please pray for us as we embark on our new journey.  I can only hope and pray that we are able to make ends meet with such a low amount of income coming in.  Pray that Scot quickly finds a job and pray that the boys handle the change well.  :-)

I hope you are enjoying the remainder of your summer and thanks in advance for any prayers or positive thoughts you send our way!  xoxo