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Keeping all of choir on task all the time

I teach choirs at both the middle school level and the high school level.  I need to know what all of you do with the rest of your choir while you are working with a particular section.  When I am working with a section, the students either talk quietly or play on their electronics.  However, with new classroom expectations, I'm not sure that will float with my administration.  How do you handle this situation?  I would appreciate any ideas you can give me.
 
 
Replies (3): Threaded | Chronological
on February 7, 2013 10:01am
Christina:

Everything on Austen's list is great.  Here are some additional.
-- Have the other sections use the time to write translations of foreign language pieces into their scores (have them up on the board or as a handout).
-- Tell them that there will be a "quiz" on something that happened with the other section.  Make it aural, ask one student, have a reward or points for the student who can answer correctly.  Make sure to follow through if you say that there's going to be a quiz.
 
As for the electronics, here's my suggestion.  As students enter your classroom, have a designated place that they must put their backpacks (phones in the bags). They should only have their music, pencil and a water bottle in their seats during rehearsal.  Nothing else.  No phones, no beauty products, no other books or homework, nothing.  If they have fewer distractions, they'll begin to learn from each other as well as from you.
 
Good luck.
Tammi
on February 7, 2013 11:43am
I have an adult choir, and they can be just as chatty as teenagers. The most effective thing is having everyone sing the part being rehearsed in a comfortable octave. It is good for their own reading skill development, both pitch and rhythmic, and makes them aware of other parts.  Sopranos especially need this experience.  Sometimes I will have a section sing a passage and ask the others to critique it-- especially when it is musicianship issues.  what do they hear?  What do they suggest?   My group is a very open  one where suggestions from the members are encouraged.
It gives them a sense of ownership in the result.   
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