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to think selection isn't really necessary for a primary age school choir?

(27 Posts)
toopoliteforwords Mon 31-Aug-15 14:41:52

This happened before the holidays and DC2 has just mentioned it again.
For a start DC1 and 2 have both been 'over looked' children. They have never been chosen to read (except one line as part of a group) or be more than in the chorus at a plays etc. The same children always get chosen (you know in advance who is going to do the reading in assemblies for parents or be the 'stars' in the plays) - whilst I can see why teachers would chose these children, I don't actually think it fair as it doesn't give the less confident children (if they wish) a chance to become more confident...to show what they can do...I do think they should try and spread it out a bit more - but I have never said this/made any comment to my DCs)
DC1 couldn't care less - had no interest in the attention - so no problem.
DC2 for some reason is much more aware - has noticed and mentioned it in the past. (Why does X always get chosen? kind of way). They seem to want the attention, to want to perform! (but not in a pushy way - they are well behaved in class, not the class clown or anything). My advice was to always try your best, behave and to volunteer if asked - put yourself forward...and if you are lucky you might be. If you aren't it doesn't matter....there is always next time.
From YR1 to Yr3 the choir is made up of all the children, now entering YR4 they had to 'audition'.
DC2 was really really keen - actually likes singing, don't think is terrible (I am, so maybe not the best judge!).
The choir just sing at assemblies etc and do one joint 'all the schools in the area' type of thing once a year -not a competition. I thought the audition bit was just about checking they were keen...would enjoy being in it.
Anyway apparently it is isn't. DC2 was one of 2 children in their class who chose to audition not chosen. When they told me they were obviously upset, putting on a brave face. (A little bit of my heart broke blush) Now they have just asked if I think they will get another chance....when the next auditions will be?

So AIBU to think that at that age for something like this being keen should count just as much as ability? And actually this is a bit shit...

(The teacher who does the choir is known to have favourites in the classroom - initially DC1 was one - was in the choir after being encouraged to audition, but maybe fell out of favour a bit ... do wonder if that influenced this decision too..sad.)

manicinsomniac Mon 31-Aug-15 14:45:46

I think it depends.

In your school's situation - YANBU. And to only leave out 2 is terrible!

In situations where the choir is going to be entering a competition or singing in a lot of concerts, or when there are many more children that want to be in the choir than the teacher could cope with I think it is right to hold auditions.

CurlyBlueberry Mon 31-Aug-15 14:48:35

YANBU. At a similar age I was the only girl not allowed to be in the choir and I remember it. OK, so I couldn't sing, but the music teacher could have put me in the back and allowed the voices of the others to mask mine. The other girls were very kind to me about it, as were the boys (most of whom didn't want to be in the choir) but it still smarted to be so obviously excluded.

The upside was that, along with the majority of the boys, we had Latin and Greek lessons instead and I ended up doing both for A-level and getting a first-class degree with classics modules.

My parents sympathised with me but didn't go and speak to the school (and nor did I want them to) so I suppose this taught me that you don't always get everything in life and to make the best of what you do get. It is totally awful of the school to exclude such a small number though. Different if you were just picking one or two.

VenusRising Mon 31-Aug-15 14:50:56

not meaning to be blunt, but maybe your kids have wooden ears- are tone deaf.

Try and get them piano lessons outside of school or something like stage school for themselves if their interest lies there. Don't depend on the school to help them there if there are more able students to choose from. No teacher wants a lemon on the choir/ show as it makes them look bad, and the show sucks.

Fwiw I loathe hearing tone deaf kids sing. I have a very good sense of pitch, and every choir I was in was audition only. It's just cringefull to hear people "making an effort" "doing their best" and failing to sing in tune. I may be very intolerant of this I appreciate, but I absolutely cannot bear it. I'd leave the room if someone was off key.
Maybe the teachers are the same.

There are other skills your dcs have, help them to shine at what they're good at and stop concentrating on their weaknesses.

Suddengeekgirl Mon 31-Aug-15 14:58:26

I was like your dcs. I always auditioned for the primary school choir. Every term. I was always rejected. sad
Every Friday afternoon it was me, the Muslim kids and the naughty boys left in the classroom while everyone went to choir. hmm

I have zero confidence in my singing and even struggled to sing at baby groups FFS!

Mrs S was a mean old cow and it still smarts now! blush

summerainbow Mon 31-Aug-15 15:02:10

I think you need to pay for drama classes so you DC2 gets a chance to perform . Try church's for choirs .

toopoliteforwords Mon 31-Aug-15 15:50:33

DC1 can sing. Like I said was persuaded to be in the choir and also selected for (and turned down without telling me before) extra music lessons because they have a 'natural ability'. (Think part of the reason they fell out of favour with that teacher was because they weren't interested in music...)
DC2 I don't think is terrible !!! but like I said I'm not a good judge... and they do do an after school activity that gives them a chance to perform...just really can't see why they have to be fussy about a primary age choir...
The teachers are listening to ALL abilities before then ...and very young children ...they must have stronger ears than some!
After reading all these stories about being constantly turned down for choir ...I think I might spare them and encourage them to not audition again. sad

BlueBlueSea Mon 31-Aug-15 16:10:37

They let any child who wanted to join the choir at my DD's primary school.

I was amazed when she told me she was in the choir, I asked what she had to do to get in, 'put my hand up'. She is an awful singer. When we went to see the group of school choirs all perform at Xmas it was embarassing how awful our schools was. I think they do need to have some standards.

I went to the same school and had not been allowed in the choir because I too am awful.

borisgudanov Mon 31-Aug-15 16:31:00

YANBU. If they were King's or something they would select 2 and most people would get the bum's rush. If they are letting in all but 2 it would only make sense if these 2 were actually disruptive or something - or of course if therecis discrimination going on. I would be round there requiring a pretty excellent excuse explanation.

MrsGentlyBenevolent Mon 31-Aug-15 16:44:07

Hmmm, I grew up in Wales, and we took choir very seriously. Only the best were selected for anything beyond general school assembly or Sunday school sing-along. My English partner was very suprised and thought it was a bit 'mean', but I have to agree. If singing isn't your thing, best to find some other talent early on, than waste time mumbling along in a choir, right? There's nothing worse than an 'all in' choir, ends up sounding awful (Gareth Malone (sp?), I'm looking at you angry).

Helpmeoutofthemaze Mon 31-Aug-15 16:44:38

I think you should contact the teacher responsible and ask where your dc went wrong in the audition and whether the teacher thinks it could be corrected with work.

On our school, anyone can go in the choir until about age 9/10 when certain children will be "encouraged" to go in it iyswim. There isn't any selection and I'm sure they would try and work with a keen child who wasn't quite as good at singing as the teacher would like.

lemoncordial Mon 31-Aug-15 16:57:32

Yanbu. I'll never forget not getting into the choir at primary school. It really knocked my confidence.

kitnkaboodle Mon 31-Aug-15 16:59:19

I actually run a primary school choir and this is a very tricky one. YANBU if there is no opportunity at all for your child to sing in a group at school. Our choir sings at quite a prestigious competitive festival and I do audition for that. It is always a tough one though, and I have found it very hard sometimes to turn away keen ones who sing badly. However ... I run other choir sessions/performances through the other terms which are open to everyone smile and let even the musically challenged ones perform in public.
Selection can be painful, but if you're going to enter competitions then I think you need to do it and be serious about it. It always irks me a bit that people accept selection for sports teams quite stoically, but often kick up a fuss if their child is not selected for plays/concerts/shows.
I would talk to the teacher, though. When parents have challenged me about non-selection for the festival (thanks, guys) I usually explain that a musical ear/pitch is something that quite often develops with age. Y6s are usually better at it than your average Y3/4! If a child wants to develop their ear, they need to listen to music and maybe try an instrument as much as possible. It will help their ability to pitch a note and hold a part, which is what they are being auditioned on.
Have you ever watched any of the Eisteddfods on S4C?? Those kids have most definitely been selected, no doubt to some other kids' disappointment - but wow, the end result is GOOD!
But your teacher is BU if he/she makes EVERY singing activity in school selective.

MrsGentlyBenevolent Mon 31-Aug-15 17:09:41

Have you ever watched any of the Eisteddfods on S4C?? Those kids have most definitely been selected, no doubt to some other kids' disappointment - but wow, the end result is GOOD!

'Steddfod kids are specially selected, believe me. Then the amount of practise you do when you get in, it's tough enough if you very good and totally commited, not to talk about playing 'catch up'. With the greatest of respect, this is why Welsh choirs are always just that bit better - it's like you said kit, in sport only the best take part. It should be the same with music, as in a group you're only as good as your weakest link. I believe there should be oppertunities for all kids, but it emerges pretty quickly who has a natural talent/and ear for music, and those who do not. Same with art, or creative writing - it's just not in all of us, we're better off focusing on areas where we can excel.

Witchend Mon 31-Aug-15 17:12:53

My dc's junior has 3 choirs, everyone, audition and boys.
The audition isn't terribly selective, but it is nice and they tend to do the competitions, the everyone does events but not as many, and those where a large choir is okay (100+) and the boys is just for fun and they have a lot of laughs.
I like that anyone can, but they also have a good choir that wins things and is invited to prestigious events.

I auditioned every year for choir in my primary (year 4 upwards) and only got in in year 6. I had an okay voice but was very quiet, and didn't get on on that. Yes I was upset when I didn't, but there were others better than me. It happens.

Having been to competitions/events where school choirs are singing I have heard choirs who are lovely except for one loud droner-it does spoil the choir. Plus children are not known for their tact, and I'm sure someone will say something unkind at some point, which may be far more confidence knocking than not getting in in the first place.

Suggesting they let them in and put them at the back to sing quietly doesn't work if they are determined to sing loudly. How do you suggest the teacher approaches that one? Can't think of any way they can effectively tell them to mime without upsetting them.

AuntyMag10 Mon 31-Aug-15 17:14:36

Surely it should be viewed as a sport where the best are selected for the team? Not everyone makes the cut but that's just how it is. Maybe try the music as an extracurricular activity instead, where you will be certain that your dc will be selected.

MrsNippyCat Mon 31-Aug-15 17:16:18

YANBU. I was the only kid in my class to fail the choir audition. I was mortified and I have never sung in front of anyone since, not even my DH.

I get what people are saying about competitions - fair point. In my case though, the choir only sang at assemblies and school services at the church.

mrsseed Mon 31-Aug-15 17:28:32

I find the comparison with sports teams interesting, I have seen a number of threads with complaints about Primary School sports teams and how they should be all inclusive. I'm all for clubs for sports and music being all inclusive and then having a selection/audition for competition or shows. Unfortunately that all depends on teacher/volunteer numbers.

toopoliteforwords Mon 31-Aug-15 17:39:35

I will have a word with the teacher I think - not make an appt -just when I see her and ask for 'feedback'. If DC2 is tone deaf - fair enough but if it was just they were a little quiet/not confident enough maybe they can work on that ...worth auditioning again.
The school choir don't do competitions etc - that I would totally understand - this is just singing in assemblies etc.
As it is we have to listen to the younger non-selective choir .....and the recorders hmm ...and sometimes children who have instrument lessons outside school (some are good...some ... er ...less so...wink - nothing like a good cringe to make a school assembly!)

Doyouthinktheysaurus Mon 31-Aug-15 17:42:45

Yanbu, I think singing in a choir is great for children and at primary age it should be inclusive.

My dses have loved the school choir and both have gained confidence from it.

I'm 41 but still remember failing the school choir audition in primaryblush

toopoliteforwords Mon 31-Aug-15 17:46:38

And the sports team thing - this school do seem to be inclusive on that.
I know one parent who confessed they were really shocked that their DD (not the most coordinated, skilled player) was picked for the girl's football team - and they weren't just short on numbers and they did actually get to play ...
Everyone who was keen and regularly turned up to practise got picked for at least a couple of games...

NewLife4Me Mon 31-Aug-15 17:46:44

They couldn't get kids to join my dds school choir, it was cra anyway as teacher doesn't know ass from elbow in music.

I don't understand the audition idea tbh there's no reason why all the dc who want to sing can't join the choir.
It's not like the school is different to any other is it?

SanityClause Mon 31-Aug-15 17:47:28

At DS's school when he was in infants, they had to audition in year 2 (I.e. 6 and 7 year olds). However, they were a bit disorganised. So, while he didn't get into the choir, he just went along, anyway, and he got to sing in all the performances, including a local music festival.

He changed for juniors, and they have a year 3&4 choir, and a year 5&6 choir, that anyone can join. They perform for parents at informal concerts. There is also an audition only choir for year 5&6 that do any competitions, and perform at more formal concerts. They can also audition to join another, even more advanced choir.

I think that's a really good balance, as they can sing if they want to, but there is opportunity to sing more advanced pieces for the more talented. (Just like a child might get extension work in maths.)

If your DC really wants to sing in the choir, they should practise singing in tune. They need to start by copying single notes, and then simple phrases. Even better if they can then learn to do this in harmony with another voice or instrument, without losing their own note. Choral singing doesn't require a beautiful voice; it requires being able to sing in tune, and at a reasonable volume.

(DS didn't get into the audition only choir on his first attempt, but did on the second, a year later.)

GoblinLittleOwl Mon 31-Aug-15 18:06:21

Oh dear, I do think that is bad. I would mention it at school, but as it is an extra activity the teacher's word is probably law. When my children were at Infant school, quite a few children were excluded from the Christmas Nativity play, until a parents' protest group insisted that they all took part; the same thing happened in the Junior school to a few children who had been ill, and this time they refused point blank. Very unkind.

kitnkaboodle Mon 31-Aug-15 18:19:43

Yes, sanity and OP, auditions for choirs will focus on the ability to pitch and copy phrases that they hear (well they ought to in some part.) not just the tone of their voice. That is a skill that can be developed and that grows with age anyway. Talk to the teacher and see if that's the issue. If it is and if your dc is still keen to try next time, then they may well get in another time after a bit of practice. I've had kids (parents) in the past who have gone off in a huff after not being selected for the festival and never come back to sing again and try to develop their ability hmm. Others have improved greatly over the years. To my mind, the lesson is to accept that sometimes you'll fail, but (if it's something you enjoy) to make an effort to get better rather than shrug and walk away

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