Today we began listening to the HS choristers, in pairs, so that we may determine their proper voice parts. Mrs. D doesn't usually do this, but we are because of me (and my desire to learn from hearing them on their own). Well...the few pairs we got to listen to this morning were an experience, indeed. The first pair couldn't stop laughing and one of the two wouldn't sing "My Country 'tis of Thee" because he doesn't like it, so he sang a holiday ditty instead. The next pair had one girl I could barely hear and another who could only accurately sing about 4 pitches. Be glad you didn't hear her rendition of "My Country". Perhaps I'm being too mean, but the timidity and anxiety and excuses and distractions that they all have or find are extremely frustrating. I like a lot of them, and all of their voices (so far) truly have potential, but when they can't or won't sing in the octave that you ask them to, what will it mean to be in the right section at all? I'm actually still optimistic about the group, but this has given Mrs. D infinite ammo against me. We laugh about it a lot.
The selection I played for Theory today led to a discussion of whether or not the piece is really "music". That means it's time for the "What is music?" lesson/discussion. That shall be tomorrow. I'm excited.
Poème Électronique - Edgard Varèse (iTunes)
Managing the GM classes was fairly successful today. I'm getting to know pretty well at this point which students are most easily distracted by gossip with friends or by shamelessly begging for attention.
However, I did make one mammoth mistake in the 3rd (and wildest) class: To briefly review some note-naming on the board, I drew the note F. They identified it and I wrote the letter beneath the staff. Then I asked a student where to go from there, upward, and he mentioned the first ledger line, so I drew an A and, once named, added the letter below. Ah, but I couldn't move on without making sure they knew that the G is in between those notes, so I wrote it and they named it. Then I added the letter below the staff, confidently and cluelessly spelling "FAG". I caught myself right away and said, "Oh, that's not going to happen" and erased the G, but it was too late -- the class erupted in laughter. There wasn't a chance I was going to get them to settle down, so I pointed out, "Well, there's no way you're going to forget those note names now" and had them begin group studying for a quiz.
That's not all, folks. With no classes remaining and Mrs. D going to the HS for her after-school choir auditions, I settled down to grade today's quizzes. Soon, Mrs. D returned and told me that her car would not start. I offered a jump, Mrs. D called the HS to cancel auditions, and we went out to our cars. Quite fortunately, the jump worked, and just as I was putting away the cable, out of the school walks my college supervisor, here to meet with us together for the first time. We thought that he was going to arrive earlier if at all, but here he was. The rest of the day went into this meeting, and I'll be grading quizzes this weekend.