Monday, October 4, 2010


When asked to identify the benefits of choir (band and orchestra fit well into this, too), we directors list things like "teamwork, discipline, practice skills, setting and reaching goals, knowledge of one's physiology," and other such things that sound a lot like the benefits listed for sports.  We also, however, list things like "integration/coordination of different cognitive processes, knowledge of the academics of music theory (a mathematical and auditory discipline), learning skills," and other such things that sound a lot like the benefits of other academic or elective subjects.  With this in mind, I've been considering the difficulties in encouraging a school's culture to perceive choir as beneficial.  There seems to be a tendency for people to equate it either with an extracurricular team activity or with specialized electives, but it is uncommon for a culture to see it for what it is: a personally and intellectually educational experience that is rewarding and beneficial to anyone who allows themselves to be motivated.

I bring that up because of the range of students that make up HS choir.  There are those who love to sing, those who have nothing better to do, few of those who find more than one of the above benefits, and, the worst, those who think choir is social time.  This is frustrating.  There are, of course, a myriad of was to address this, and no two teachers do so in the same way.  I'll finish this topic by saying that I look forward to learning more about how the administrative and student bodies view choir.

I went way out on a limb in Theory and, in an attempt to take advantage of having so few students, had them apply their scale knowledge to playing scales on a piano.  This turned out to be very difficult for almost all of them.  I couldn't tell if it was just because the piano is intimidating or if there was a disconnect between the keyboard diagrams we've used, the scales that they know quite well, and the piano itself.

Affordable (ok, cheap) guitars don't stay in tune in a fluctuating environment.  This can be maddening.  Some other interesting stuff happened during GM classes today, but I can't remember what they were at the moment.

From A Window (Lenon/McCartney) - Graham Parker

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