Allegan elementary music teacher Steven Wideman explains “informances” to parents.

Music teachers are well-aware of the weeks of preparation required to get their students ready for a performance. In order to overcome those instructional time tradeoffs, Allegan elementary music teacher Steven Wideman has chosen to do something different. Enter the “informance,” an informal performance that showcases what his students are learning while also educating parents about the importance of music education.

“There are so many benefits,” Mr. Wideman said about the informances. “Not only can parents participate, but it’s much better for students, because we can just use our class time to learn rather than preparing for a performance and perfecting things.” 

As parents visited his classes throughout the day, Mr. Wideman took the opportunity to share the goals he has for his students: to teach them to sing in tune, to help them listen for a beat in music and move their body along with it, and to encourage them to recognize the joy that comes from being musical.

As part of the informance, parents listened to their students sing, participated in a folk dance, and watched as the students kept beat and showed musical expression using a stretchy band. The students also performed on “boomwhacker” percussion tube instruments. “I have a personal philosophy,” Mr. Wideman said, “if it’s not fun, we’re not doing it in my class.”

Parents enjoyed the opportunity to visit, watch–and record on their smartphones–their students learning about music. “That was really fun,” APS parent Meagan Hoffmeister said. “We actually got to spend time interacting and hearing them sing. Bravo!”