Membership Benefits Committee hosts ARS Chapter Rep Round Table and the First-Ever Site-Seeing Tour

June was a busy month as the Membership Benefits committee hosted the last ARS Chapter Rep Meeting Round Table before breaking for the summer, as well as the first-ever Site-Seeing Tour, a virtual gathering for members and non-members designed to spotlight all the features the ARS website has to offer.

The ARS Chapter Rep Round Table, hosted by Board Member Phil Hollar, had a lively discussion about incorporating emerging players into chapters, how to deal with players’ perceived skill levels, and maintaining smaller ensembles within a larger chapter.

Maintaining the balance between keeping experienced players engaged while keeping emerging players involved and not overwhelmed is an issue that most, if not all, chapter representatives have experienced. Among the solutions shared were having music progress during a meeting in difficulty from simpler to more challenging; featuring pieces with at least one line that is relatively easy to follow; and making sure instructors and meeting leaders are familiar with the skill levels in your chapter. A few chapters use a “mentor” model in which more experienced players pair up with emerging players. This format requires both chapter leaders and members to have a realistic assessment of skill levels. One way to arrive at that assessment is to use a rating scale that your chapter can develop or find online. (See the Berlin/Blaker recorder self-rating chart here as a downloadable PDF.)

Chapter representatives reported varying levels of success with smaller ensembles operating within their chapters. Many reported that smaller ensembles often broke off from the chapter permanently and met on their own. Programming concerts, consort days, recitals or even having even having chapter meetings open with a brief performance by a smaller ensemble can keep them engaged with the larger group.

The ARS Chapter Rep Round Table ended with an open discussion in which members had questions about accessing music on the ARS website, which was a wonderful way to invite them all to attend the ARS Site-Seeing Tour!

The initial ARS Site-Seeing Tour was a great success with thirty-nine participants showing up on Zoom for host (and ARS Vice President) Jody Miller to guide them through a wide range of tips and tricks for navigating the ARS website.  Our tour group learned about the "care for your recorder" pages, the online music library, the personal study program, the play-along recordings, technique videos, using the site to connect with local consorts and teachers, and so much more! Meeting Co-host Phil Hollar ended the tour by leading a play-along of “Jamaica” by William Billings. Members can find the piece in the ARS Online Music Libraries. A recording of the meeting is available to view below or on the American Recorder Society YouTube channel here.

More Site-Seeing Tours are planned. We hope you’ll be able to attend!