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Question about a Foreign student


To summize the issue first, I had a Japanese student audition last week
(beginning of second semester). The counselor asked if I would consider
letting her in my Concert Choir (lowest choir) for a half year. Upon her
audition, she didn't seem motivated to sing that much, was at about 65% for
matching pitch, and had no mastery or even exposure to western notation.
The question asked was based on the above situation, should I admit her into

Of the 24 people that responded with a "yes" or a "no", 17 said they would
put her in choir, 7 said no. That's roughly a 70% to 30% response. Of
those responses in favor of admitting her in, three said I should change the
standards to a lower level to allow her to sing. Three said only admit her
if she met my current standards.

Three mentioned offering private lessons or having a peer helper to more
quickly master singing. Some offered the suggestion of doing a Japanese
piece. Some also said to score her accordingly during "part tests",
especially since grades don't usually transfer back to their country.

I interviewed the student after the audition and after posting and reading
some responses. It seems that although she might not add a great deal to
the choir, she will not hurt the choir. She seemed a little more excited
upon talking with her, so I told her to register. I informed her that I was
making an exception, and that she might find some things frustrating. She
seemed to be fine with this, and will be joining after this week.

I don't feel I have lowered my standard for enrollment, but felt justified
in making an exception to it. During part test time I will "conveniently"
find a way to skip her without singling her out and have her do her part
test during a lesson time.

The balance of the responses I received was positive. Some responded again
stating they hope they were not offensive. Those that did so need not
worry. I responded to the emails in question by attempting tactfully to say
that I was more interested in opinions of the situation, not in opinions of
my abilities or administrative techniques. And even most those after
communication were resolved.

I hope these results can be useful to you in some way. Thank you all for


Garrett W. Lathe

Director of Choral Activities
Staples Motley Schools
401 Centennial Lane
Staples, MN 56479
218.894.5411 (voice)
218.894.2434 (fax)

on August 12, 2004 10:00pm
I was a "foreign" student 9 years ago. Differently, I had perfect pitch. I was not intimitated by the audition at all because I had solid musical training before I came to the US. Everything about music was too easy. HOWEVER, I was very intimitated by anything else. I did not know the common practice for politeness. I couldn't understand the direction because I couldn't speak/understand English well. I felt extremely left out because American students usually don't have time to wait for you to generate one sentence with so many errors.

Guess what, now, I am a certified music teacher teaching in a wonderful school. Apparently, my students can understand me quite good :-)