This year, I experimented with chamber music for my 7/8 Orchestra. We also did a bunch of other stuff during the last month and a half of school, but this was something I wanted to do in order to give the students an opportunity to work independently.
If we can find some time during the year for chamber music, our students can take control and make their own musical decisions. This will help them grow into independent musicians, which will in turn improve the ensemble as a whole.
In his book Drive, author Daniel Pink lays out evidence showing that autonomy is directly correlated to job satisfaction. Having the ability to perform even menial tasks in whatever manner one sees fit gives the worker or student some sense of control. The authors of Love and Logic, Jim Fay and David Funk, argue that giving up some control in the classroom leads to a better classroom environment. Chamber music is one way in which you can give your students a chance to explore independent musicmaking.
I had the honor of editing Joe’s article earlier this year, and after I read the first draft I knew I wanted to experiment with chamber music in my ensemble.