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School musical rehearsals - reasonable or not?

(30 Posts)
webwiz Mon 03-Dec-12 23:11:35

I understand that the music teacher wants DCs to make a commitment and stick to it but I'm losing patience with this already and the stupid thing isn't till July yes bloody July. Every Tuesday for ages after school and the only accepted reason for non attendance is that you were too ill to be in school that day.

DS got into trouble for not going last week and was told that "nothing is more important than rehearsals". The reason DS didn't go was that he was in the french department trying to catch up some of the preparation work for an upcoming controlled assessment that he's missed while he was ill. The french teacher could only stay late on a tuesday. DS did explain why he wasn't at the rehearsal but he still got roundly told off. Normally year 11's who have shown commitment and reliability in previous productions are cut a bit of slack when actual GCSE work has to be completed but obviously not with this teacher. And what is happening in these rehearsals that must never be missed? Watching the songs on youtube because the words haven't arrived yet hmm

Rant over!

noblegiraffe Tue 04-Dec-12 08:06:31

If the production isn't till July, and DS is in Y11, then surely DS won't be in school for final rehearsals and the production?

As a teacher I get very pissed off with my GCSE classes being disrupted with kids being taken out for extra curricular activities. Some students' work do also suffer as a result. The kids are also knackered. I don't think it's appropriate to be making such a commitment in such an important year.

Visualarts Tue 04-Dec-12 08:14:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

radicalsubstitution Tue 04-Dec-12 08:24:19

As a teacher I get very pissed off with my GCSE classes being disrupted with kids being taken out for extra curricular activities

Same here. As a teacher at a school with a 'strong musical tradition' I get really frustrated that, at certain times of year (like now), virtually the whole school grinds to a halt for rehearsals.

On pain of death we are not allowed to schedule anything important during two lunch breaks a week. Controlled assessments end up having to be extended, rescheduled and then extended again due to absentees 'missing out'.

It's worse than ever now as GCSE and A level assessments are so rigidly controlled. As a part-time teacher in a department with real timetable and rooming issues, it is sometimes damn near impossible for me to schedule in A level assessments at a time that suits everyone.

The kids get most pissed off about it as well - particularly the sixth formers who are put under incredible pressure by the music department to put their subject before everything.

webwiz Tue 04-Dec-12 09:00:03

DS is staying on in the school sixth form and will come back in for rehearsals/ performance after exams in the summer. Usually there will be year 11s, 12s and 13s. DD2 was in the school musical in year 11 with quite a big part and it wasn't a problem at all. I don't remember anything like this it was a different teacher though.

Usually the musical is a joint venture between the music and drama department but the current drama teacher is leaving in January and so isn't involved at the moment. DS really wants to do it and is hoping that things will get better when the new drama teacher arrives - he does drama GCSE and has met her already.

I'm annoyed at the pressure being put on DS and I agree that there will be valid reasons why he can't go to rehearsals over the next 7 months. DS has just decided to take the teachers moaning on the chin but GCSEs will come first whatever.

Katisha Tue 04-Dec-12 09:21:04

Sympathy for both sides. WHen I was a music teacher we didnt have such things as controlled assessments.

However the thing about musical performances is that they are a team effort and if people start prioritising other things over rehearsals then the whole show suffers. I think it's probably a good idea to foster the ethic that you turn up to ALL rehearsals from the word go, and that rehearsals are not optional.

However I would also say that on occasion something DOES have to take priority and the music teacher will just have to put up with it, as long as the person commits fully to all other rehearsals.

People learn a lot about teamwork and so forth from doing productions and its a heck of a lot of work for the music/drama staff. I did find that certain other teachers seemed to think it could all be put together in a couple of weeks...(NOt saying that is anyone on here...)

Preferthedogtothekids Tue 04-Dec-12 16:13:30

My almost 14 DD (3rd year Secondary in Scotland) has a minor role in the school musical for next May. Since late September she has had to be in rehearsal until 5.15 on Tues, Wed and Thurs every week. We are rural so she misses the school bus and would have to get a public bus home in the dark (which I don't let her do), so I have to do pickups 3 days a week. This show had better be fabulous!

NaturallyGullible Tue 04-Dec-12 17:34:25

Apologies to all music teachers, but IME, they do naturally take a hard line with attendance. You can understand why as any song is a team effort and if there is always someone missing, it is very hard to rehearse.

However, they should be able to rehearse groups of children at a time, and only require the full cast nearer the end.

My feeling is that if you sign up to be in the performance, that needs to be your priority. If you can't stand the heat, etc etc.

RedHelenB Tue 04-Dec-12 18:13:46

Surely a nearly 14 year old can get a public bus!!?:?

EvilTwins Tue 04-Dec-12 18:17:16

It's a tricky one. I'm in the midst of rehearsals for our production (on in February) and it's both frustrating and disruptive if kids don't turn up for rehearsals. I find the best thing to do is:
1. Create a rehearsal schedule and stick to it. I give cast members a schedule every week so they know when they are needed. I rarely call the whole cast- there 's nothing more likely to put a child off than sitting in a rehearsal when they're not needed.
2. Accept that however much the show is your own priority, the kids will be being pulled in different directions and flexibility is the best way to keep everyone happy.

I don't know why other schools don't do it like I do (smug emoticon) Today, for example, I had called the 4 leads for rehearsal after school, but 3 of them are yr11 and needed to go to an extra English session. We have rescheduled the rehearsal.

What IS annoying though is colleagues who think they can use "I'll get Mrs ET to kick you out of the play if you don't behave/finish your homework etc etc"

Communication is the key- I tell kids that they need to tell me in advance if they can't make a rehearsal so that I can adjust the schedule if necessary. We had one rehearsal last week where several failed to turn up. I didn't need to do any telling off though- the other kids did it for me!

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 04-Dec-12 18:22:54

I think if a child commits to a production then they need to attend all rehearsals otherwise don't be part of it

Dd was in a show (not school out if school) in September and following the audition in feb and the recalls in April she attended every single rehearsal including all through the sumner holidays.

If we/she had not been able to commit to that then she shouldn't have auditioned.

However like someone else upthread schedules were given at the first rehearsal, we had to sign to say she would not take on Snything else that clashed and we travelled 30 miles every week to get her there.

Was so worth it to see her on stage!

Preferthedogtothekids Tue 04-Dec-12 18:26:27


She's not yet 14 and it involves a walk from school on the outskirts of the town into the bus station and then on. I'm not comfortable yet with my 13yr old daughter doing it, if I was I would allow it. Best not to make judgments when there are many factors at play.

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Tue 04-Dec-12 18:27:40

It's when the goal posts are moved that hacks me off at this time of year. So you think everything is almost just about under control with all the different concerts and rehearsals going on, then you find out that the school have scheduled in another concert that takes the whole afternoon to rehearse and one of our very few evenings that are left to do the blasted thing and with less than 2 weeks notice. Poor dh is getting frazzled (there are no buses round here that are in the slightest bit helpful) and dd is getting exhausted.

ihearsounds Tue 04-Dec-12 18:40:20

My dd's school has had to take a hard stance. She has been in every performance since year 7. They do a few a year in school plus with joint outside agencies. Last year quiet a few of the performers missed the lessons repeatedly, and a lot of time was wasted telling them what they had missed, which in turn was making the rehearsals fall behind schedule. So, a few of them where cut and the committed pupils took over their parts. It was ridiculous and a several of the performers ended up with 3 or so parts. This year you are not commitment then don't bother. For the ones that have never done these shows the older performers explain in depth what is required, and after school they belong to the performance because everything else is second.
There has to be a very good level of commitment. The rehearsals cover a lot, not just learning lines, but how to get the different emotions across, where to stand, body language, etc. Then of course rehearsing for any songs. Working on scenery, making changes to any lines. The bigger the performance the more to arrange.

EvilTwins Tue 04-Dec-12 18:42:00

MerryKitten- presumably your DD doesn't HAVE to take part? Pity the poor teachers having to organise the bloody things hmm

Or you could do what parents of some of the kids at my school do- wait til the day before then send the child in with the message "Mum says you have to take me home after". That happened to me recently with something our local theatre had organised and we had been rehearsing for months. All the parents had signed a form, months previously, to say that they would collect their DC from the theatre afterwards. The day before though- far too late to sub a different DC in, and terrible for the DC to miss out when she'd worked so hard. I also have one talented student (yr 9 girl) who I know can only be in stuff if I can arrange a lift home for her. Again, shame for her to miss out.

RedHelenB Tue 04-Dec-12 18:47:34

Fair enough, I suppose that is the price you pay for being far from the school!!

webwiz Tue 04-Dec-12 19:01:24

EvilTwins yours is the approach that I'm used to - if year 11s are encouraged to take part then a bit of flexibility is occasionally needed so that they can still concentrate on their GCSEs.

Last week DS missed lolling around in the music block and watching a version of the musical on a tv. Some progress this week though - they actually sang a song (only 5 weeks of rehearsals needed to get to this point hmm).

EvilTwins Tue 04-Dec-12 19:17:37

webwiz - what's the show (nosy)?

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Tue 04-Dec-12 20:33:47

Eviltwins, no she doesn't have to take part but she would like to and we like to support her and the school. The school could make that easier for us by a little more notice.

EvilTwins Tue 04-Dec-12 20:54:21

Yes, I understand that. The school may not have has much notice though- I was asked yesterday to organise something for the local Deaf Association Christmas do which is next Tuesday!

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Tue 04-Dec-12 20:59:31

That's bonkers eviltwins! Good luck!

webwiz Tue 04-Dec-12 21:10:53

EvilTwins the musical is "Our House" - they haven't allocated the main parts yet as the new drama teacher will be involved in that in the new year.

EvilTwins Tue 04-Dec-12 21:33:30

webwiz - seems bonkers... I do think that drama teachers can take these things too seriously. We're doing "We Will Rock You" this year - started rehearsing just after October half term and will perform in February. Last year we did "High School Musical" in November, having started done a couple of full days in the summer holidays, then after school rehearsals from September. I have no idea why any drama/music teacher would want to run a production over so many months - it's way too time consuming. My students are well practised at pulling off a show in a few months... My fault really - when I was at university, we used to do a Weekend Show every year, where we started rehearsing on a Friday evening and performed on the Sunday. I'm firmly of the opinion that there is absolutely no point in taking more than 4 or 5 months to put a show on in a school.

webwiz Tue 04-Dec-12 21:43:38

Well I have no idea why they have started rehearsing now, normally they start after the feb half term and then they don't need everyone every week. I think this teacher will have lost half his cast by July if he keeps this up!

EvilTwins Tue 04-Dec-12 21:59:08

Yes he will. Nothing kills a school production like kids not enjoying themselves.

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