About this blogger:
Dr. Lucas Tappan is a conductor and organist whose specialty is working with children. He lives in Kansas with his wife and two sons.
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“More and more as we grow older, we find that the people we see most of are recent acquaintances; not (perhaps) very congenial to us, but chance has thrown them in our way. Meanwhile, the people we used to know so well—for whom we once entertained such warm feelings—are now remembered by a card at Christmas (if we can succeed in finding the address). How good we are at making friends, when we are young; how bad at keeping them! How eagerly, as we grow older, do we treasure up the friendships that are left to us, like beasts that creep together for warmth!”
— Msgr. Ronald Knox (1888-1957)

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Patience, Patience, Patience
published 5 February 2015 by Lucas Tappan

352 Children OR SEVERAL WEEKS I stood in front of fourteen probationers during our weekly rehearsal. (Yes, that is too large a group, but more about that in another post.) This lively bunch of 8 boys and 6 girls had been working hard, but knew they were nearing break time—the rehearsal is 2 hours long with a 10 minute break in the middle—and of course a couple of boys were getting restless. (What boy wouldn’t in an after school rehearsal like this, right?)

I decided to take a moment to teach a lesson as well as impart some culture before the really important stuff—like snack time—began. I started recounting a story from Hillaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children 1 about a boy named Jim and the importance of listening to those in authority. I barely had time to tell them about “Jim, who ran away from his nurse” when a little girl got so excited that she stammered, “and, and…and he was eaten by a lion.” Right afterward a boy mentioned another story he knew out of the same book and now all the kids were talking and laughing. It wasn’t long before I had lost all control—time for break! True, my plan didn’t work, but at least they knew about Hillaire Belloc; I guess Catholic culture isn’t completely dead!

I bring this up because before you ever begin working with children you must realize that while it is fun, it can be overwhelming at times. I have known people who began teaching music in the class room and within a couple of years decided they would rather work for a bank. So, I tell you Patience, Patience, Patience in Adversity. You will make it in the end!

Lastly, as I begin blogging here, I have decided to make two weekly posts: one around Monday that will deal with the practical aspects of children’s choirs and choir schools in general; and one around Thursday dealing with the practical aspects of sight-singing and ear training. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.



NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   If you have never read these stories, read them with your children TONIGHT! They make for great, very politically incorrect bed time reading