Choir vs Band issues
Date: November 13, 2010
I teach at a wonderful 7-9 Junior High with a great band teacher - that isn't the problem. The problem is at the district level.
When I began teaching at my school, 7th graders were not allowed to take choir. This decision was made by the district curriculum person who was a strings player. There was supposedly all of this information about why this was so bad for 7th grade changing voices, etc....yada, yada, yada Students who wanted music could take orchestra in 6th, band in 7th, and choir in 8th.
This year, 7th grade choir was allowed. I currently have 2 sections of 7th grade mixed choir (mainly treble choirs with about 2 changing voices) I have some of the most beautiful boy soprano voices you have ever heard! No teasing by the girls or anything, just beautiful sound! I have an 8th grade boys choir, and 8th grade girls choir, 9th large mixed, and 9th select mixed. In total about 300 students in choir. It's awesome! I see the potential for great recruitment into my boys choir in 8th grade because of the excitement of 7th grade choir.
The problem? At my recent district meeting, there was a recommendation that 7th grade choir be discontinued. Why? A couple of disgruntled band teachers are worried that the addition of choir will take their numbers. They, unfortunately, have the ear of the current district person.
Supposedly there is a bunch of research about why singing in 7th grade is very bad. Has anyone heard of this? I am of the belief that if you are taught to sing properly, with consideration for the ever changing ranges of your boy trebles, you can have great success singing. I also believe that if I lose my new program that some of that excitement the 6th grade boys have of joining choir dissipates when they are only allowed to take other electives. They find different interests because they were denied the one they were initially interested in. My boys are so thrilled with 7th grade choir, that the counselors have told me that many boys are joining for second semester because their friends love it so much. That will make about 50 boys joining this year. Which means a great sized boys choir in 8th grade next year.
How do I fight the nonsense brought on by other schools? Where is the research I can bring to the table? Have you heard of any of the so-called research about singing being bad for 7th grade voices? All the help you can give me will benefit all of the junior high choral programs in my district.
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