AIBU to tell ds head teacher that I am shocked only girls are in the choir ???

(72 Posts)
aldiconvert Fri 29-Nov-13 21:26:17

My ds1 age 7 joined choir at the start of the year and loved it .... He is not a great singer but enjoyed it and I was so glad he was joining in as it is good for his confidence etc .... However, after a term of 'ribbing ' for being the only boy, he has now had enough and dropped out .... I am proud that he lasted so long and went even though none of his friends did , but I am also disappointed that he has dropped out just before Xmas concert Etc ... However , why on earth was he the only boy in the choir ???? A I b u to tell the head that I am shocked that no boys are in the choir and the ones who were are not being retained ???? Surely a choir should be full of boys and girls these days ???!!!!! Raging !

You are shocked and raging?

Rightly so, you should be shocked and raging, with the bullying attitude in the school! How come they dont tackle issues such as diversity, "you are all valid and valuable whatever your gender and your interests"?

The choir seem a good place to start!

How come they are not bigging up the choir and actively trying to recruit boys?

Iknowitseemsabragbutitsnot Sat 30-Nov-13 09:51:09

Snort at it being a gender thing. Rubbish. It is true that ds1 was the only boy in the choir in y6 in his primary school. However he is in the sixth form of an all boys comprehensive and has been in choir since he started. Choir in his school is very popular and if you are a member it is obligatory to give up a lot of break times, after school, evenings and sometimes weekends.

At our school the choir is massive. I've just received a memo from the music teacher and about 3/4 of my class will be out for a carol rehearsal next week. I would say at least 1/3 boys in the whole school are in it. Schools need to make choirs fun and inclusive. The music teacher is brilliant so the kids all want to be involved in everything she does.

SatinSandals Sat 30-Nov-13 09:58:44

I knew someone would say it wasn't a gender problem, it will never be addressed if people deny it is a problem. I bet he wouldn't be in the choir at a mixed one.

My ds was the only boy in his primary choir. He was not bullied though, or even ribbed about it. The choir was happy he was there, and he felt happy there.

He is now in secondary, and choir is compulsory for every child. He still enjoys the choir.

curlew Sat 30-Nov-13 10:12:58

"Snort at it being a gender thing. Rubbish. It is true that ds1 was the only boy in the choir in y6 in his primary school. However he is in the sixth form of an all boys comprehensive and has been in choir since he started. Choir in his school is very popular and if you are a member it is obligatory to give up a lot of break times, after school, evenings and sometimes weekends."
Hmm. Doesn't that rather reinforce the point that it is a gender thing? The significant point there is all boys comprehensive. As I said earlier, there is a very active musical scene at the all boys school my dd is at too. There isn't in the co-ed school my ds attends.

redskyatnight Sat 30-Nov-13 10:36:21

The DC's junior school choir is extremely popular - almost a third of the school are members.

but ... it is very predominantly girls (about 10 to 1). In Y3 the ratio is about 5:1, but there are no Y5 or Y6 boys at all.

My DS loved the choir in Y3, carried on into Y4 and then gave up. no one was taunting him, there were other boys (albeit not so many). The choir was seen as cool. He simply said he didn't want to spend so much time in such a girl heavy environment. DD gave up football for the opposite reason (too many boys), until the school started a girls' only football club, when she got interested again.

I absolutely agree your DS shouldn't have felt pressurised to stop - but there are more subtle pressures than being teased. How the school encourages more boys to get involved is another question I guess (espeically as I guess running the choir is a voluntary activity?)

ForalltheSaints Sat 30-Nov-13 10:47:48

Try and approach it in a positive way, about how can the school encourage boys to want to sing?

aldiconvert Sat 30-Nov-13 12:41:44

Would a letter be best or popping in to see the head do you think ????

A mention to the Head might be good, actually, as a bright "oh, it's a shame that DS is the only boy in the choir when you must have so many great singers amongst the lads. Wonder why that is?"
I used to run school choirs. Almost without exception, they were a lunchtime activity that was on at the same time as football. Most of the boys dropped out because they had to choose. The school refused to allow me to change the time of rehearsals. The two choirs I was allowed to run at other times had a pretty balanced intake and retention.
Could be something like this.

MmmmWhiteWine Sat 30-Nov-13 13:01:07

So other boys don't want to be in the choir and somehow that's the school's fault? confused

I'm sure the head teacher will be delighted with your constructive suggestions and will look forward to all future interactions with you....

curlew Sat 30-Nov-13 14:36:32

Obviously it's not the school's fault.
But the school is in a position to try to
do something about it, so why
not try?

aldiconvert Sat 30-Nov-13 15:26:05

Well I don't want to be know as 'that mum' at school and upset them but at the same time, I strongly feel that the school is in a strong position to do a lot more than they currently do to encourage boys to sing .... It is an outstanding school but I feel that actually if ofsted had a tick box on this specific issue it would be a big fat unsatisfactory fail ! Whilst it will always be a challenge, just reading above threads that have success due to brilliant, dynamic, modern thinking music teachers, supportive heads and thoughtful careful time tabling .... We can do better than we currently are in this particular school .... I think it could be changed if tackled in the right way ..,can only try ....

aldiconvert Sat 30-Nov-13 15:27:47

Above posts not threads sorry

Theas18 Sat 30-Nov-13 15:36:07

DH, when he taught in a mixed primary had reasonably well mixed choirs in the lower years and less up the school..he was thinking of a senior boys choir for years 5&6 but the politics of that we're huge... ( he now teaches boys only). Sing up! Was great for the kids there.

My kids sing and have done all along. Mostly in a single sex singing or school setting though. They didn't joint the primary choir - it was badly lead and "shouty" sadly. Engaging kids in singing is something that is so beneficial education wise.

Do say something in a constructive way. Good luck!

polgar Sat 30-Nov-13 15:39:42

The boys in the school should be given a mandatory subscription to the MN feminism boards.

aldiconvert Sat 30-Nov-13 15:41:05

Thank you everyone who has posted wise words .... I will update once managed to speak to the busy head !!!

DeWe Sat 30-Nov-13 15:53:47

But not as many boys want to join choir.
At infant level they have a choir, open to all, year after year it's all barring about 2-3 girls, and about 2-3 boys do it sometimes. The teacher does actively encourage the boys, I've seen her. With my ds he likes the idea, but when faced with a lunchtime of football with his friendsor singing, he'll go for the football every time.

Junior level there are three choirs currently. Audition choir-generally about 29 girls, 1 boy. Then there's the main choir, anyone can join. That's round about 100 children. never more than 5-6 boys, usually not even that. She regularly appeals for more boys, and has recruited a very charismatic male teacher-still no boys come forward.
Then there is the boys choir. About 20 boys in that. However, one of the great appeals to the boys is that it's over assembly one day, I would say a good proportion (having talked to parents) do it because they would like to miss assembly rather than because they want to do choir.

The wanting to do it is a big thing. To put a comparison with something similar. I was chaperoning recently for a amateur production of Sound of music. I did the auditions (Doh a deer sang 100+ times!!)and there were well over 100 girls for 8 parts, 7 boys for 4 (2 teams).

If you compare it to judo, for example, that dd2 does. Most of the time she's been 1 of 2-3 girls out of about 30. There's no exclusion-in fact a girl often would be given priority over a boy for a waiting list space, just simply that more boys want to do it.

Madmammy83 Sat 30-Nov-13 15:56:35

I'd be more inclined to approach the head teacher about your son being "ribbed" for a whole term because he enjoyed something his peers deemed uncool. Do not stand by and let your son be bullied out of something he wanted to do.

RedHelenB Sat 30-Nov-13 16:18:09

Boys choir is probably the way to go!

SatinSandals Sat 30-Nov-13 18:11:46

The only thing that will really make it work is making it attractive to boys so that they really want to join.

SE13Mummy Sun 01-Dec-13 00:15:32

As others have said, it's not so much the fact that your DS was the only boy in choir that matters, it's that he was constantly teased for it that is the issue that is worth bringing up with the school.

If the school is outstanding perhaps it has the capacity to organise a separate choir for boys, or maybe to reschedule choir to happen during lesson time instead of lunchtime. There are lots of different ways to promote membership of the choir if the school is willing to try, and if the broader curriculum is sufficiently valued by parents - it won't work if parents will complain that X has to miss maths/science/whatever for 30 minutes a week and that those subjects are more important than music.

When I've run school choirs I've found that lunchtime rehearsals result in somewhat sporadic attendance and that children who want to play football do drop out (especially if their football day clashes with choir - it's not unreasonable). I ended up running a choir whilst the rest of KS2 had singing assembly. It meant that children could choose to sing as a key stage or to sing as part of a choir. In terms of recruiting boys it was great as there was no loss of face given that it was singing time for everyone. It also worked well for children who were unable to stay for after school clubs or whose organisational skills were such that they'd miss lunchtime choir because they'd forget!

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