Spring Festival ’21 Recap

Hello WCS Students & Families!

Thank you so much to all the students who participated in weekly group classes this Spring Semester, and to all the parents, siblings, family members, and friends who made it possible for students to get to and from class every Tuesday evening. After a 2020 in which no one was able to do much of anything at all together, it was wonderful to get back to having group classes in person, and the positive effects were quickly and dramatically seen.

While the weather wasn’t kind to us when it came to group performances during the ’20-’21 school year, and we certainly look forward to hopefully getting back to our regular indoor performance spaces during the ’21-’22 school year, I don’t think I can ever recall the developmental value and musical benefit of group classes ever be more evident than during this Spring Semester.

When we first met again for group classes in person, it was immediately clear that students simply hadn’t been able to play together for a long time. It was more of a challenge that I can ever remember before for even relatively advanced students to play a relatively simple piece of review repertoire at a matching tempo, much less with matching bowings, dynamics, articulations, tone, and expression. By the end of the semester, however, each class at every level was playing very together with the group’s tempo, with exceptionally matching bowings, a wide range of dynamics carried out by the whole class, very matching articulations, and a much more blended tone and expressive color to each piece. In short, they all became very polished young musicians, appropriate to their different ages and levels. I was very proud of their hard work and the progress that resulted!

One other very exciting thing that I saw happen over the course of the semester was more shy, or timid students become more confident and bold, and many students become very poised leaders. Often, a student would lead the group while I played harmony and observed, and was very pleased to see that the leading student lead well, and the class respected their leadership and followed it well, too.

We are in the unique position of having had no graduating seniors this year – I can’t remember the last time that’s happened, if ever! – which means that we also have a unique and exciting opportunity for our groups to return largely intact next fall, with those ready to graduate up to the next class making those transitions. This means that we’ll really be able to build on the work we did this semester, with students already knowing each other and being familiar playing with each other. And given how exceptional the results were this Spring, I can’t wait to see what we’re able to do in the Fall!