Calling mothers of choristers (boys)(11 Posts)
DS, aged 3.9, loves singing and has a really good sense of pitch and rhythm. Recently he's become interested in "little boys singing" aka cathedral choirs on the TV/radio etc.
I do NOT want to be a pushy parent, but as it happens we live in a place where, if he wanted to, there are a large number and range of opportunities to sing as a chorister (including weekly boarding choir schools) if his interests continue.
So I want to encourage his interest. But Despite having been a professional instrumentalist and semi-pro singer myself, I have no idea what kind of play, tuition or training (gentle, informal, formal) he should do if he wants to be a chorister - and crucially when he should start. I'm already sad that as a July baby he'll have to start school aged just 4 and don't want to force him into anything too young. But he does love music, and I do want to encourage him to pursue what he loves.
Any suggestions on when and how we should start him off from parents who've been there before would be welcome. At the moment all he does is music sessions at nursery, church, and singing with mummy at bedtime
Anything that lets him enjoy and explore music would be good. At that age DS started doing sessions with our local music school which did Saturday classes for young children - their youngest classes were a mix of things, with singing, clapping games, percussion, all sorts. Then from about 7 they had the chance to do more specific things - lessons in an instrument, and a separate singing group.
He certainly doesn't need anything formal until the starting age for whatever choirs you have in your areas (likely 8ish) although it might be useful for him to get practice at the kinds of things they might ask him to do at 'audition' - things like picking out the highest or lowest of some notes played together, repeating a rythm, that kind of thing. Just games really.
And, generally, playing him a range of music will always be a good thing to encourage a musical child!
Do you have anything like this in your area?
IME they usually audition around 7yrs, and in general cathedrals are looking for musical aptitude rather than proficiency. So I'd say anything that gets him singing would be good - sounds like he's already doing a fair bit. Choristers also have to be very organised and self-reliant, as well as academically up to speed so they can fit in their school work alongside their other commitments. But it's a wonderful opportunity, if it works out for your DS.
DS2 11 is a chorister, at a Cathedral without its own school attached. They look for musical aptitude and potential, and also reading ability.
DS auditioned when he was in Y4 aged 9, he had to read a passage out loud from the bible. I can't remember exactly what the aural test included but it included clapping rhythms back and singing some notes back. DS already played 3 instruments though, so the Master of the Music was exploring his knowledge as well. DS could already read music, but it was by no means expected for a probationer.
It is an amazing experience for the right child. Bramshott is right about being organised and self-reliant. DS is learning to be organised! It is a huge commitment for the whole family, especially when the school isn't attached. I have to be able to transfer DS at 3.45 twice a week from school to Cathedral, and obviously most weekends are gone. As is Christmas and Easter, we are approaching one of the busiest weeks in the year.
Ds1 will be a chorister in September. We didn't push him in that direction - it pretty much came out of the blue in January this year - he is currently in Y3.
He started a preschool music class when he was 3 at a local Saturday school, then joined the infant class, then started his first instrument in y1 and second in y2. We didn't do anything to prepare except have a child who likes music. We did no preparation for his voice trial except some practice for his instrumental audition but ds likes singing and has a good sense of pitch.
What age they start - most do voice trials in y3 for y4 start. I think St Paul's may accept kids a year earlier. Some of the choir schools accept kids from y3 to y6 - look at the choir schools association webpage for which does what.
DS was a chorister. He started age 9 .
We are a pretty musical family I guess and he already sang in the parish church choir. He played 3 instruments and was academically able - read very well and read music fairly well ( he started recorder and piano at 7, brass at 8yrs - cornet first) .
No choir school though. Interestingly we steered him to a voice trial when he was being bullied as a "boffin" and, well it was the making if him and found him boys like him who had the same interests.
He's 18 now and still singing in a great local adult choir, with a hope for a choral scholarship when he goes to uni.
For the right child it's an amazing thing to do- but it'll either take you over as a family if there isn't a choir school - or dare I say, take your child away to an extent if you choose a boarding option (and think onto what happens after for boys ).
Holidays will never be yours either...
My lot are all choristers and love it, it is a bit commitment but is also a fantastic experience & education.
My son loves singing and he sings in a parish Royal School of Church Music choir. It is still quite a commitment but nowhere as such as a commitiment as singing in a cathedral choir. He is developing his singing following the RSCM ribbon scheme.
I don't think that I could had coped with the thought of sending my little boy to boarding school at the age of seven or eight. It simply would not had been right for him. I also think you need to think what happens after your son's voice breaks and he has to change school. It can be really hard transferring from a private school to state school. My uncle was in a cathedral choir and had to transfer to a secondary modern at 13. He was badly bullied for being "posh".
Yy, we are lucky in that there is no boarding!
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