Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The principal made an appearance in HS Choir today and the girls who had been removed were not disruptive this morning.  They weren't exactly participating, but this was the best they've been.  We still have a couple more angles of approach to use (some of which come from administrative support, to be fair).

I have to reflect on a dilemma that this brings up.  How "academic" should choir be treated?  We were told yesterday that students "almost never" get removed from an academic class for non-academic reasons, and that since choir is a graded class, it is academic.  My initial reaction was, "Well, if this were a math class with 100+ students in it and a group was so disruptive that other students complained daily and time was regularly wasted, it would seem perfectly reasonable to remove them so that the class can progress."  I do still stand by that, but the opposing point is reasonable; we directors push to have choir treated as academic, so we shouldn't get any special privileges to remove students.

Well, choir isn't math.  Instead of thinking of courses purely as "academic" and "extra-curricular" (as this school seems to), wouldn't it be reasonable to approach academic courses differently depending on whether they are a core, elective, or ensemble?  Oh, and I was recently reminded of a beautiful "slippery slope" situation.  When choral directors manage to convince an administration that they are so special that no one ends up with any oversight, they can end up kicking students out of choir without ever having attempted rudimentary behavior-changing approaches (moving seats, office referral, calling parents), and instead doing so after having merely criticized the student a couple times.  I saw this happen once and don't like it.  Adaptations need to be made in order for unique goals (like those of musical ensembles) to be met.  Oversight must exist to prevent tyranny (if you knew/know the "slippery slope" directors I'm talking about, you'd call it tyranny, too).

Let's see...Guys and Dolls...

Dolls and Guys...

Duys and Golls...

Then MS choir.  I worked with the boys again today and had a great man-to-man talk with them.  We had a much better rehearsal.

Finished Symphony - Hybrid

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