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Singers sitting out of rehearsals

Through the cold and flu season, I have been experiencing too many of my (high school) choir students taking it upon themselves to sit out of rehearsals because they "aren't feeling well."  In response, I instituted a "everybody sings unless you have a note from home" policy.  After all, students are so sleep deprived these days as is, if I allowed every tired student to sit out I just wouldn't have a choir!  This rule seemed to help for a while, but I realized that I just couldn't force a student to sing when they obviously had a severe throat or chest cold, and I didn't want them getting the others sick.  Most of the time, I realize that the students who make the request really aren't in a condition to sing,  and aren't abusing my trust.  But there are definitely times when some of them are, and of course these are the students who tend to be a distraction when they're sitting out.  
How do you handle this problem for your choirs?  What is your policy for allowing students to sit out of rehearsals?  And what do you have the students do when they are sitting out?
Replies (15): Threaded | Chronological
on October 30, 2011 1:46pm
Hi Bruce,
I have my singers (high school kids) do a "rehearsal critique" when they cannot sing. It's relatively structured, they must write quite a bit, and it keeps them in the music even though they may have a sore throat. My kids get 5 points per day for "rehearsal etiquette" the rehearsal critique form gives them a way to earn their points if they cannot sing.
Often I will tell a student to just try singing warm ups, usually that will get the kids who are perhaps exaggerating a wee bit to sing, if they try the first few warm ups and aren't comfortable then they pull a Pink Sheet (that's what my kids call the rehearsal critiques since I copy them on pink paper) out of their folders sit down on the risers and take notes. Its worked well for me for years.
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