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