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East Union Band earns an Excellent rating at MPA

On Wednesday, March 12, the East Union Middle School Band performed at the district’s Music Performance Assessment (MPA) at Wingate University. Seventh and eighth grade band students spent six weeks preparing a concert of three pieces to be rated by a panel of three judges.

It is a stressful and intimidating feat for band directors—especially young teachers—to put their students’ final product on a stage to be “judged” by other musicians and teachers. “Ultimately, we all strive for that Superior rating because we want our students to strive for their greatest potential,” says Ms. Perez. “However, what I enjoy most about MPA is the process of preparing the music.” Life is not about the destination, but about the journey along the way.

Students spent many hours before school, during class, after school, and at home practicing their music and perfecting their parts. Due to the extensive style changes, dynamics, and sheer number of notes on the page, this year’s MPA music was challenging for many students—especially seventh graders. The music demanded a high level of individual musicianship and pushed students to perform with conscious awareness of every instrument's role in the ensemble. Students learned the importance of blending their sounds together to support an important melody line rather than battling each other to be heard. Overall, the East Union Band made huge improvements in their playing abilities in just six short weeks, culminating in an exciting and musical MPA performance that led the band to earn an Excellent rating on stage.

While the band did not earn the Superior rating on stage that they had hoped for this year, it did accomplish an incredible goal. Apart from the stage performance, each band is also required to sight read a brand new piece of music that they have never seen before. Each band has five minutes to study the piece, after which they perform the music for a judge. Last year, the East Union band struggled in the sight reading room, earning a rating of III (good). This year, however, the band gave a confident and strong performance in the sight reading room, which awarded them a Superior rating. “My biggest goal for the band at MPA this year was to improve that sight reading score. Essentially, we jumped from a C up to an A. The students and I were so proud!” claimed Ms. Perez. Overall, the band did a terrific job, pulling off another successful MPA experience!

Congratulations, East Union Band! We are so proud of you!

Written by: Susie Jones
Posted: Mar 17, 2014 by Susie Jones

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