Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Sing: Part 1, background

It's been a week since the Spring Sing so I figure I am long overdue for a review. Before I can go into all of the details of the actual event though, I want to share some of the background because I think it is relevant. All of the following things are bits of info I've been able to piece together from what people were willing to share with me in the staff room.

For several years prior to this year, our school has had our Spring Sing in a big formal concert hall. We had a staff connection and were able to rent the hall for almost nothing. In this big formal concert hall, the story goes that families wore their Sunday best, children came on their best behavior, and there was standing room only by the time all 500 kids plus their extended families arrived.

However, the hall came at a price. People had to pay for parking. It was an administrative nightmare. Teachers were pulling their hair out trying to coordinate kids onstage. Transitions in between grade level performances took as long as ten minutes and the entire concert lasted as long as three hours. Performing at the concert hall was really cool, but many secretly hated it.

This year we no longer had the staff contact available to get us the concert hall for cheap. And with budgets being the way they are, paying anything extra for an already extravagant music program was out of the question. Our performance was scheduled to take place at the local high school in an outside amphitheater before I even interviewed for the position. It turns out this is where the school used to perform before the discovered "formal concert hall" anyways. It also turns out that everyone had something to say about the new location but me.

Another thing to keep in mind as you read about the Spring Sing is that I replaced "Mrs. Old Teacher" who was the music teacher at our school for many, many years. She was not a credentialed teacher but that didn't stop her from being an amazing music teacher. I knew big university buzz words like differentiation and assessment but she had decades of teaching experience and a choral background suited for teaching kids to sing. However, as she was 30 or 40 years older than me, she had a different style and chose different songs. She also had fallen into the pattern of doing some of the same lessons and songs every year.

The two most controversial things about the Spring Sing this year were its location (I had nothing to do with that) and the song choices (all me). I wish I could go back in time and tell my past self that so I would not have fretted about everything else. In the end, I could have saved myself a lot of grief. be continued.

Read Part 2 here

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