Have you seen it?
Alright, maybe I am showing how young I am, but I have become one of the millions that is now watching the new Fox show Glee. If you have not seen it, tune in and you will be entertained. It is about a Spanish teacher, a former glee club singer, who organizes a glee club in the school where he is currently teaching. Each episode is filled with the troubles of high school and being in the glee club. However, I am not writing to get you to watch the show. I am writing because when I watch it I see energy and a passion that at times I don’t see in my own music class and sometimes choirs.
So where does it come from? Is it the music? Is it the movement? Is it the teacher and the singers?
I think that it is a combination of all of them. A few years ago in one of the teaching journals, there was an article written about popular music and how too often we as teachers don’t use it because it is “not classical.” However, it is part of our culture and if you look hard enough, there is some wonderful material in them!
I think that sometimes we see where we want to end, instead of where we need to begin. Not in technical teaching, but in interest. You would never take a person who has only listened to punk rock all of their lives and sit him down to listen to a Bach Cantata. No, instead you would find something that would be a step in the classical direction and appeal to that person.
So why do we pick music that singers would not sing outside of choir? Why not begin with things they enjoy and then work them into a new world of music.
Now let’s look at the issue of movement. So, should we all become a show choir or glee club? No! However, we need to teach our singers how to use their body to show expression and to feel the music. When you watch a small child listens to a piece of music, or better, sing a song. He or she moves. Not choreographed movement, but their body is not riggid and their head does not bob back and forth. Instead you see the music in them. Why not our choirs? Why not help them keep that natural feeling of music. Instead out society takes it out. Go watch people at a pop, rock, or country singer’s concert. The audience is not seated listening. Instead they are moving and feeling the music. So how to we get our singers to feel the msuic?
And then there is the teacher and the singers. Last night I was talking with the choir and I said we do what we do to share our love and our passion. We do this to perform! Otherwise, why work so hard for so many hours. Yes, the learning is great, but the thrill of singing in front of the audience is… well…”priceless!” So, we need to keep that alive in ourselves and our students.
After reading this, I see I have posed more questions than answers, but that is why we are here! To share our thoughts and ideas!
Here’s to a new conversation.
P.S. Go watch Glee season two and we will see you at the IMEA convention!