Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Are We Singing This?

Is a question I hear a lot. I know many of you are very curious, so let me explain how I pick music.

First, I pick the theme. I usually have a few songs in mind if I pick a theme- I don't decide "let's have a concert about the moon" unless I can think of a few songs about the moon to begin with, and am confident I can come up with 6 or 7 total for the concert.

Next, I find as many songs as I can that go with the theme. I usually ask you guys for ideas and suggestions to help in this process.

Then I think about each song. For any song,I ask myself:
1. Do I like this song?
2. Will my students like this song?
3. Will it be educational- that is, will we learn something new by singing it?
4. Have we sung this song or one by the same composer too recently? I like to mix it up and give you as wide a variety of music as possible.
5. Will it balance the other songs in the set? (4 very fast, upbeat songs, or 4 sad slow, songs, is boring for the audience.)
6. Does it balance the difficulty level of the set? (4 really hard songs, or 4 really easy songs, is frustrating for you, the choir.)

Things you think about when I hand you new music: Do I like this song?

If you've never heard the song before, chances are that your first answer will be "No, I don't like it."

But in my experience, once you know the song, most of you will like it. People like familiar things. That's why they play the same stuff over and over on the radio. Learning music is hard, knowing music is fun. But to know music... well, you get the picture, right?

As to what else we'll sing this semester, I don't tell you because I don't know. The faster we learn songs, the more we'll sing, but I don't want to say 'we'll learn these 6 songs' and then have you furious because we only get to 5 of them. Rest assured that I put great care into every song we sing- I obsess over it like a crazy person- and that I always have more songs selected than we get to. And that I'm always planning ahead. Emmie asked for a broadway theme her first semester as a 6th grader. It took 3 years, but I did indeed plan one.
Ms. A

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