Friday, November 04, 2011


What was remarkable about today? I listened to fifth graders sing today, in groups of two or three. These are the fifth graders in my fifth and sixth grade choir, and singing for me was part of the term's assessment. It's always a learning experience to work with small groups of children on singing. Here's some of what I learned and wondered about today: Why do they sing so timidly? Their voices barely get past their noses. On the other hand, the sound they make is pleasant, light, inoffensive. It's better for the teacher not to watch too closely when asking children to do funny vocal exercises. It's hard to sing "Pepe le Pew" if catching the teacher's eye makes you start giggling. Singing takes work, physical and mental effort, and some children are more willing to work at it than others. But with some work they can all do better. And there are always a few who surprise you. Sixth graders next week. They're so much older . . . .

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