The Alligators, Agents, Bears, and Owls went a Houston Symphony Concert today! We rode a yellow school bus downtown to Jones Hall. On the bus ride, students excitedly pointed out restaurants and stores that they saw: “There’s Subway.” “Look, Target!” “Sonic, that’s a real place.” Several students read books to pass the time.
At Jones Hall, we were greeted by volunteers who showed us where we were sitting. We walked up the red carpeted stairs, then down the orchestra stairs to door 18. There we walked in and found our seats, in the front row of our section!
With parent chaperones, teachers, and their friends, students found a comfortable seat and were excited to see musicians warming up on stage. So many of them named the instruments they saw. I was very excited that they remembered the names of the instrument that I taught and showed them! They had questions to where they could find some of the instruments and what was going on with some of the instruments resting on stage. Once the conductor walked on stage, they listened and watched the musicians play together.
The concert’s program walked through the different instrument families: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. The students learn to clap when the conductor puts his arm down so that they know it’s the end of a piece. Music can be tricky and we should watch the conductor to know when it is over. Many students noticed the big screen projecting the musicians and they watched it to get a close up view of the orchestra. Several students wore earplugs or headphones as the sound was too loud and unexpected for them.
It was a new and exciting experience for most of the students. They learned that musicians wear all black to help the audience focus on the music and not what the musicians are wearing. In addition, they learned there are 89 musicians on stage that play about 150 instruments. The conductor even taught us the conducting patterns and students enjoyed waving their arms in the 2, 3, and 4 patterns. Students were inspired and were conducting on the bus ride home.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience for the students to take a trip to see a live orchestra, listen to an hour long concert, and to see musicians working together to make beautiful music. A few students were bouncing out of the seats in excitement when listening to the music. Two of our students were even called on by the conductor to ask and answer a question. They were brave in a new environment! All the students were great audience members and learned a lot from the concert.