Never has a trumpet player ever raised their hand in a rehearsal and said, “gee, I’m still not getting my part right, can you play that for me one more time?” Neither has a Band director ever replied, “sure”.
Singing is fun, but music is work. The reason we commit to it is because it’s a labor of love.
Entertainment in a music program is not a goal, but rather a desirable byproduct of an educational agenda that has been successfully achieved.
“I shouldn’t be in choir because I can’t sing” makes about as much sense as, “I shouldn’t be in Algebra II because I don’t understand it yet”.
We’re in the business of developing people, not musicians. And if we succeed at the first, we’ll soar at the second.
There’s nothing wrong with talent, but no one is so talented that their vocal qualities are more important than who they are as people.
If you joined this chorus only because you love to sing, please go down to guidance right after school today and drop this course – you’re going to be miserable in here. If on the other hand you love the learning process, working diligently with those around you, being challenged, staying focused on a unified goal and putting your personal opinions aside for the good of the whole, you are going to LOVE this class!
Dear chorus: there will be discipline in this room. It is entirely up to you if it is going to be “self” or “imposed”.
There is a place for pop music in our schools, but teachers who sell their programs as being as educationally essential as math, science and english had better be very careful about its function.
If the kids know you love them and love working with them, but not at the sacrifice of your professional agenda, they will develop a trust and love for what you’re doing.
The cherubs may or may not like your approach, and many will push back. But I always remind them that they will be leaving eventually and I’m stuck with whatever legacy they leave behind. So, unless they plan on never graduating and sticking around as long as me, my approach is the way we’re going to be running this class.
Establish your vision and invite the kids in.
Following the conductor is not a skill, it’s a choice.
A good choir is not predicated on the quality of the voice, but rather on the quality of the analysis that one goes through in rehearsal; talented voices don’t hurt, but when you go beyond “what’s that note” and instead arrive at, “…am I flat, how’s my tone, are my consonants lining up ahead of the beat, am I leaning into or out of the phrase here?”, then you know you’ve established yourself as a choral musician.