The primary activity of Harmony Bridge is for band students to go into their communities to share music — a simple idea with huge benefits.
Harmony Bridge focuses on three main areas of development:
1. COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Harmony Bridge presents an opportunity for students to realize the power of music, and the power they have, to bring joy into the lives of others — particularly for those who are in a strong need of joy in their lives.
It takes the students’ musical achievements beyond the band room, beyond the school band concert. It provides additional performance opportunities, which are often somewhat limited in a school band program.
Typically, if this sort of activity takes place, it is done at Christmastime. The idea of Harmony Bridge is to carry the “Christmas spirit” throughout the year — to go out on a regular basis (monthly), and the Harmony Bridge program is designed to make that practical in an already busy band program.
Harmony Bridge: Caring and sharing through music
3. MUSICAL DEVELOPMENT
By having fewer people on a part and being self-directed, the small ensemble enhances elements of musicianship not possible in a large ensemble. It complements the large ensemble.
The impracticality of having small ensembles in a concert band program has been a primary focus in the development of Harmony Bridge.
The Harmony Bridge Rehearsal System™
In conjunction with the Harmony Bridge repertoire, this system is designed to effectively teach ensemble fundamentals and musical independence in a large ensemble setting:
This is accomplished through the simplicity of minimal
part-writing, melody and accompaniment form, absence of extreme technical challenges, constant passing the melody, frequent solo opportunities. This allows the students to focus on fundamental issues such as balance, intonation, articulation, dynamics and style.
awareness of how each player’s part functions throughout the piece
Harmony Bridge: Teaching independent musicianship
2. PERSONAL GROWTH
What the students will gain naturally from sharing their music and seeing the joy they bring to others is, in and of itself, invaluable. However, besides the music, Harmony Bridge incorporates two other essential elements that are conducive to personal growth:
PRESENTATION— the students experience the basics of entertaining and engaging an audience. This incorporates public speaking, creative thinking and positivity.
Harmony Bridge: Using
music to grow the person
INTERACTION — following each Harmony Bridge performance the students are asked to spend 20 – 30 minutes visiting with the residents. The goal is to learn about the residents; to gain an appreciation for who these people really are; to develop compassion and understanding; to express caring and love.
The Harmony Bridge Rehearsal System gives the band director the opportunity to function as a clinician/coach to help the students teach themselves.
The Harmony Bridge repertoire can also supplement standard concert band repertoire, particularly for younger bands.
A HB Outreach event is based on a 3-facet approach, called the Golden Triangle.
1. Musical Performance — Playing of the music itself
2. Showmanship — Presenting an energetic, spirited performance which connects with the audience; includes audience participation and student communication
3. Interaction — Spending time visiting and getting to know the residents