At BMP, we are committed to ensuring that every child has access to the opportunity to make incredible music with support and attention from exceptional teaching artists. Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is one of the key components of the Boston Music Project Curriculum and is implemented by BMP teaching artists through a variety of activities and lessons to promote confidence, collaboration, and community-building in our ensembles.
Our SEL Specialist and Special Education Director, Marlene Markard, in collaboration with Executive Director, Christopher Schroeder, has designed a 36-week SEL curriculum for our team of teaching artists that includes music-infused activities and lesson plans centered around the 5 Core Competencies of SEL — self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, relationship-building skills, and responsible decision-making — to help students develop important skills that can be applied in all areas of their lives. Each month is focused on one of these SEL Core Competencies; for the month of November, the focus is on helping students develop skills for self-regulation.
Some of the activities our students have been utilizing this month are a Concert Countdown Calendar in preparation for their December concert and “Minute Meditations.” To see how some of these SEL activities are incorporated into a rehearsal, we asked the students of our Rimsky Orchestra and their director Amanda Roth how the activities are going and how they feel after incorporating them into rehearsals.
What is a Minute Meditation what does it look like in rehearsal?
“We’ve been doing the minute meditation regularly and it’s turned into something students are welcome to do on their own during orchestra if they’re feeling upset or overwhelmed or just need a reset. I set a timer for 1 minute and everyone closes their eyes and takes deep breaths. Sometimes when we do it at the start of class we picture having a great orchestra class, what that looks like and what they need to do to make that happen. Students are welcome to do a minute meditation at any time during class. They don't have to tell me, they can just do it. So far no one has taken advantage of this but they are all aware it's an option.
We asked some of the students to share how they felt after doing a Minute Meditation.
Micah & Krish: “Still refreshed.”
Bo-Kemze: “Super refreshed!”
“The minute meditations really center the class. We always have a really productive rehearsal afterwards. I think it's also a great coping mechanism for the students to learn at such an early age.” - Amanda Roth
What is the Concert Countdown Calendar, how have the students responded, and how has it impacted their preparation for their concert?
“The concert countdown calendar got everyone really excited for the concert! We have a goal for every week, mostly all written in "I can..." statements. At the end of the week, we check to see if we can do our goal for the week and then check it off and look at our goal for the next week. The students get really excited to check off our goal each week.
I think the countdown calendar is [also] a great visual tool! It gets students excited for the concert and gives them something to work toward while also showing them their accomplishments because they can see how much gets checked off.”