AST Journal - November 2022

Volume 72, Number 4

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Resisting the Factory Reset: Technology Implementation in Our New Normal

Nicole G. Laborte

Without question, string educators navigated many challenges throughout this pandemic season. Despite these challenges, we have gained extraordinary insight in how to utilize technology within our classrooms. Instead of focusing on the perceived “negatives” of teaching during the pandemic, music educators might consider reframing the experience as a necessity that was neither good nor bad. Creating this intentional separation between emotion and experience provides teachers opportunities to examine technology implementation independent from the crisis that was the initial impetus. This reframing gives us the agency to transform existing instruction and capitalize on the beneficial affordances that technology can provide.

Choosing Repertoire for Your Orchestra

Mary Elizabeth Henton


Choosing repertoire for your new orchestra can become exciting and daunting. Choosing musical literature also influences the recruitment and retention process of the music program, specifically the orchestra program. I want everyone to learn both problem-solving skills and string pedagogy. Capitalizing on praise in the classroom can allow for ownership in the program. A great way to show support and pride in your students and program is to set them up for classroom success and performances in front of their peers. If this is not achieved often, commitment to the program is lost. As students advance through the program, the classroom environment adapts to their needs as students and musicians. If a student does not truly envision themselves as a musician in the orchestra, it is hard to get the student to look beyond their social needs in the program.


Motivation in Teens

Rebekah A. Hanson, Christine E. Goodner, and Jeannie B. Songer


If motivation can impact up to 20 percent of student achievement, how do we help teens stay motivated in our studios and programs? As music educators, we have the ability to inspire and encourage our students, and our ability to do so can directly impact which students stick with it and which students discontinue prematurely. As music educators, we have the ability to connect and inspire our students—and potentially, to help them overcome the drop in motivation that happens in the middle and early high school years.


Composing Added Harp Parts for a Student Ensemble

Jacqueline Pollauf


As a harp teacher of students ages five through adult, I have composed many harp parts that correspond with existing ensemble repertoire to fill these repertoire gaps. I always seek to write a harp part that remains true to the composer’s musical work while giving harp students the opportunity to build their ensemble skills


Do you Hear What I Hear? Foundations of Intonation for Orchestra Students

Elizabeth A. Reed


Creating opportunities for students to listen and develop their practice and performance skills actively encourages continued growth in intonation development. Having perfect pitch or being the best music theorist is not required to achieve a high level of intonation precision individually or within an orchestra; however, active listening is essential. When students become actively engaged in the process of listening, learning, and assessing intonation they collectively answer the question, do you hear what I hear?




Solving Pitch Challenges in the Orchestral Wind Section

Charles W. West


There really isn’t an ideal universal tuning note for all wind instruments. Concert A is fairly reliable for oboe, flute, and for the most part, valved brass. Trombones must find “second position” for “A,” which is wherever the player moves the slide to find “A.” Experienced players will feel like they have to reach a little farther out for the A and will adjust the tuning slide (behind the player’s head) accordingly. For B-flat (or A) clarinets, concert “A” is a rather mediocre tuning pitch as either note in the middle of the staff is naturally sharp. For oboe, flute and bassoon concert A is about as reliable as any other note. Same for trumpet, though I always suggest checking more than one note: a fifth or a fourth away from the given tuning note.