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A question for those running the primary school choir

(17 Posts)
appleusedtobepear Sat 28-Nov-15 08:57:50

Do you audition the children?

Without going into too much detail, if it's just a choir to represent the school at local events and not a competition, would you exclude any child who showed an interest in singing in the choir?

A school in my area has done this to some year 6 children - they were all told that the songs don't suit their voices when they auditioned and so couldn't take part in what would probably have been the highlight of their final school year (funnily enough all the popular sporty yr 6 boys were there for the first time) The choir was big enough to have absorbed their voices I think (and my specialism is voice and adult choirs).

I thought this attitude had disappeared long ago, and can imagine these children as adults being afraid to join a choir because of this teacher's decision. On a weekly basis, I work with adults who have been left feeling they can't sing their whole lives because of choirmasters like this at school.

Anyone else do this and what's your justification for doing so?

barkingtreefrog Sat 28-Nov-15 09:07:20

No, never. Choir was open to anyone who wanted to sing. If I got a child who was a groaner, and they were really obvious and I couldn't help them get in tune, then if we were doing a special event in public and they would have stuck out I tended to give them a special job to do - ie when singing carols in the local Christmas market unaccompanied they held the collection tin and went round shaking it. Or they'd play a drum instead etc. But I'd always make a big deal of needing someone to do that job and asking for volunteers who wouldn't mind not singing on that occasion. If they didn't volunteer I wouldn't choose them.
I think auditioning at Primary sends out all the wrong messages.

TheTroubleWithAngels Sat 28-Nov-15 09:37:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

appleusedtobepear Sat 28-Nov-15 10:21:41

Thanks Barking. Because voice and choral singing are my specialisms, coupled with my interest in the psychological and physical benefits of singing in a group, I wondered if I was just biased.

TheTroubleWithAngels - if transport and events putting a cap on singers weren't an issue (which they aren't for the school and events I'm talking about) would you still audition?

TheTroubleWithAngels Sat 28-Nov-15 10:38:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AuntieStella Sat 28-Nov-15 11:20:23

Our primary had an anyone-can-join choir, plus an invitation only madrigal group for the really good singers.

HumphreyCobblers Sat 28-Nov-15 11:25:13

I think there should be an 'everyone is welcome' choir in every primary school. If there is potential for a smaller more specialist choir then great, but no child should be denied the chance to sing, singing is good for people!

barkingtreefrog Sat 28-Nov-15 12:46:22

troublewithangels I was talking about very specific, infrequent occasions. All children sang in the choir every week for rehearsals, in front of the school in assemblies, in front of parents, at the cathedral, at young voices, at local events with other choirs etc etc. However. I had one boy who was very loudly out of tune, and on this occasion we were singing with a small group and there was no backing track. He would have stuck out very obviously and I didn't want to make him vulnerable to comments from the other children. I needed someone to hold the tin. I asked for volunteers from everyone. He volunteered. I don't really see what the issue is? He was a full part of the choir for every other performance.

appleusedtobepear Sat 28-Nov-15 16:34:27

troublewithangels - are you the teacher in the school I'm talking about? Because I can just imagine her using the same tone as you. Caterwaulers? Wow! Although only a few people have posted on here, it looks like you are in the minority. And thank God for that!!

Barkingtreefrog - you sound like a wonderful school choir leader smile

teacher54321 Sat 28-Nov-15 17:03:55

It has varied. In my current school choir is for everyone who wants to join, but every year group is made to sing in various school events, so even the reluctant will be singing in the Carol service or school production. I'm planning (when I have another member of staff!) to start running an auditioned chamber choir alongside my fun one so that we can learn some more challenging repertoire and possibly enter some competitions etc. However music should be inclusive, and I strongly believe that anyone who wants the opportunity to get involved, but equally I want to stretch the most able and do some 2 or 3 part songs, add descants to Christmas carols etc.

yeOldeTrout Sat 28-Nov-15 17:14:57

In my experience the children will turn nastily on another child who sings very badly, it's a kindness not to reach that point.

simpson Sat 28-Nov-15 17:22:26

Not a teacher...but my DC school have recently started a choir. Kids had to audition to get in. Then the following week, DD (7) announced that everyone got in grin

TheTroubleWithAngels Sat 28-Nov-15 17:25:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gingerhobo48 Sun 29-Nov-15 19:46:13

I can't sing but I really enjoy singing. When I was doing the P.G.C.E , I joined a choir which said it was all inclusive. It wasn't. One night the teacher in charge, came over to where me and my friend were singing and said very loudly " someone over here is singing really flat". It was us. She made us sing the scales and then said that we should find another evening class! This was 20 years ago and I can still remember how crushed I felt. I loved being part of a choir , I loved singing my heart out. It was a wonderful release from the pressures of the P.G.C.E. That feeling of not being good enough was awful.

Littlefish Sun 29-Nov-15 19:53:46

I run a primary school choir (as well as being a primary school teacher). It's completely inclusive. If there is a child who is finding it hard to sing in tune, then I make sure they are standing between two strong, tuneful singers and it generally helps to support their own tuning. I sometimes wave a hand in a general direction and encourage the children in that area to listen carefully to their tuning, but I never pick anyone out.

I sometimes ask the children if they want to sing a line on their own, just to check out who has a good sense of pitch etc. I might then choose a small group out of the inclusive choir to sing a small group verse, or higher part etc. so they have a chance to be really pushed.

I'm a trained singer and believe passionately that all children can and should sing. The physical and emotional benefits of singing, and singing in a group really can't be ignored. We have children with behavioural issues who have joined choir, and we find that although they may not be able to work in a group in the class, singing offers them a way of being with others in a group endeavour that gives them a huge boost to their self esteem.

MsColouring Mon 30-Nov-15 19:54:31

Absolutely would never audition for a place in choir at primary school. Singing is for enjoyment at this age

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 30-Nov-15 20:00:25

I'm with you op.

I did however ask if ds could play a drum or similar... he is a terrible singer but it was really important for him to join in with his friends to help him socially.

There's plenty of time to start making it a more serious activity when they're older.

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