by Beth Malovance
How can we keep going creatively through COVID when it feels like most outlets have come to a grinding halt? For most of us, we have come to depend on the busyness of our rehearsal and performance schedule to continue pushing us. With COVID, this became an impossibility for many months. We are almost a year later, and while some opportunities are beginning to open back up, it’s on a limited basis. This begs the question: What practical things can we do to keep motivated to continue practicing and working on our craft? Here are a few resources that can help to keep you motivated.
Be sure to stay up to date with what is going on in your division. There are several programs out there happening in many of the USA Central Territory divisions, from ensembles to music schools. You can find this out by asking your Corps Leadership or contacting your Divisional Music Director.
MUSIC AND CREATIVE ARTS MINISTRIES WEBSITE Another great place to go to for free, high-quality programs is the Territorial Music & Creative Arts Ministries website. I’d like to highlight a few resources that you can utilize right now, no matter what your COVID restrictions are.
Rising Stars is an online solo festival where you submit a digital recording or manuscript of your entry. You will receive comments from 3 highly qualified adjudicators and a rating, much like public school solo and ensemble events. You are not judged against anyone. The adjudicators use a rubric to determine scoring and guide their comments. We have categories in brass, dance, drama, guitar, percussion, piano, spoken word, ukulele, and voice. If you’re not interested in the performing arts but prefer writing and arranging, we have categories in brass composition, choral arranging, and songwriting. It is also worth mentioning that all accompaniment tracks from brass, guitar, ukulele, and voice solos are available for free download on our website. You can use these for practice and even use them for your final performance video. Submissions are allowed between April 1-30 so go to our website at https://www.samusiccentral.org/rising-stars to get more information and start today!
Operation Piano Academy is another fantastic opportunity that just became available. This program was designed to develop pianists’ skills through individual lessons conducted entirely online. The great thing about this is that you can study from highly qualified instructors from across the territory. Lessons happen weekly based around your own schedule. The only thing that is required is that you have a piano or keyboard either at home or at the Corps that you can practice with and use for the video lessons. Although this program is not free, the cost is minimal because the division and territory will help with the financing. Go to our website at https://www.samusiccentral.org/opa to get more information and fill out the interest form.
One final opportunity that I’d like to mention is our M.A.P. curriculum materials. If you need more material to practice at home or just some guidance as to what you should practice, please visit our site at https://www.samusiccentral.org/music-arts-proficiency. Here you will find student forms for brass, guitar, percussion, piano, theory, ukulele, and voice. We also have scale sheets and companion books available for a free download.
I know I’m anxious for the day when we can return to rehearsing and performing together again, but in the meantime, it is important to keep up our skills. Be proactive and find things to keep you motivated and inspired. Although screen fatigue is real, use technology to your advantage here and seek out videos and programs that you can participate in. If you need a place to start, visit us here at https://www.samusiccentral.org/.
Beth Malovance is the TERRITORIAL MUSIC EDUCATION SPECIALIST / KROC FINE ARTS LIAISON. Before she came to work for The Salvation Army, Beth served as an elementary general music teacher. In addition to helping develop and teach the elementary music curriculum, Beth led the choir and world drumming ensembles, taught guitar, ukulele, Orff and auxiliary percussion instruments and directed full musical performances on a yearly basis. Read more...