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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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“It is most important that when the faithful assist at the sacred ceremonies … they should sing alternately with the clergy or the choir, as it is prescribed.”
— Pope Pius XI, "Divini Cultus" (20 Dec 1928) §9

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Bertalot's 5 Wheels (Part 2 of 2)
published 19 March 2015 by Lucas Tappan

LMT choristers N PART 1 OF 2 of this post, I covered the first 3 of Bertalot’s 5 Wheels to Successful Sight-Singing. In this post I cover the last 2 wheels.

Wheel Four Theory & Practice
Bertalot writes: “Every theoretical point must be made practical and vice versa. Sing what that see, see what they sing.” In the very first rehearsal when you draw a staff and treble clef on the board to explain what they mean, you must then make it practical by putting music in front of the choristers and asking them to explain it. When you draw the first note on the board and teach them that it is a G, you must then have them sing it. Then put a piece of music in front of them and ask them how many Gs they can find. This must happen with every concept you teach them.

Wheel Five Steer the Car
As Bertalot points out, the most important wheel on a car is the steering wheel, and the choir director needs to have a firm grip on that wheel. A lot of this deals with discipline in the choir room. If you have good discipline in the classroom, teaching your choristers will be much easier. Bertalot says “The children must learn quickly to respond to what I say. They must realize that I mean everything I tell them. Children need boundaries within which they can work. If they learn that you don’t really mean what you say, they won’t know where they are, and they’ll call the shots. From the children’s very first practice on, they need to know that the boundaries are there to help them achieve the great things that I have in store for them.” Go out and Steer the car!