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Singing School!

I taught my singing school today, and it was fabulous! The chorus director just barely managed to escape from a luncheon so she could get to the rehearsal on time, but I had already corralled some of the singers to help me set the chairs up in a hollow square. The setup intrigued them, which was a good first start. We got everyone seated fairly quickly, the choral director introduced me, and the rest of the class period was mine.

I wish I'd had more than fifty minutes, but we got so much done. I gave a lecture about the history of Sacred Harp and of singing schools, and everyone paid attention. (This impressed the choral director -- apparently they're not so well behaved for her.) Then I told them about the shaped notes, and we got to sing. I taught them a tune called "The Promised Land," which was the first shape-note tune I ever learned. They got it pretty well, though I think I might have chosen something shorter if I had it to do over again. Unfortunately, class was up by then. I invited anyone who wanted to stay after a break for more singing. Most people left for other classes, but a small group stayed behind, and we learned two more tunes, "Invocation (First)," and "Russia."

Several people came to me after the main lesson was over to say how much they enjoyed it. I was so pumped. The choral director was happy, I was ecstatic that my very first singing school had gone over well, and it was a grand day in general. We're even discussing doing it again next year. I might take a day to travel back from Chicago and lead another singing school, maybe in the fall.

Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
dawtheminstrel
Apr. 28th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
This sounds like fun, Pony. It's nice when the stuff we study still gives us moments of pleasure and excitement.
dot_o_choillmor
Apr. 28th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
Would that be Eilian or Valian? :-)
(no subject) - dawtheminstrel - Apr. 28th, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dot_o_choillmor - Apr. 28th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dawtheminstrel - Apr. 28th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dot_o_choillmor - Apr. 28th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dawtheminstrel - Apr. 28th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dot_o_choillmor - Apr. 29th, 2006 09:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bodkin_ra - Apr. 29th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bodkin_ra - Apr. 29th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
frenchpony
Apr. 28th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
It was fun. I like having little tastes of teaching before I start doing it for real in a couple of years. I've taught fencing classes, I've taught a singing school. . . I think I could learn to handle an undergraduate class.

And I see you've finally decided to join the rest of us in our multi-faced-ness!
(no subject) - dawtheminstrel - Apr. 28th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Apr. 28th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - perelleth - Apr. 29th, 2006 08:47 am (UTC) - Expand
dot_o_choillmor
Apr. 28th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
Hurrah! That’s great. I’m glad you had a good time – and what a bonus that you impressed the heck out of the choral director! You may have only got to do one song with most of them but from listening to it, it sounds like a good one. I think I like “Russia” the most, though I suspect that with my unmusical ear I’m not getting from them what I should… It sounds like everyone had a great time anyway – you must have been thrilled when people came up to you to let you know how much they enjoyed it! How come you can't have another one before the end of the academic year?
frenchpony
Apr. 28th, 2006 11:00 pm (UTC)
"Russia" is a great tune, and I love it dearly. But there were two reasons that I started with "The Promised Land." First of all, it's a plainsong in the camp meeting style, and those are much easier to sing than fuging tunes like "Russia," especially for basses who might not be confident enough to lead in on the fugue. And second, I usually sing tenor, and I know the tenor lines to all of these tunes like the back of my hand. But I had to learn the other three parts so I could teach them here, and I'm better at the treble, alto, and bass of "The Promised Land" than at the parts in "Russia."
(no subject) - dot_o_choillmor - Apr. 28th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Apr. 28th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bodkin_ra - Apr. 29th, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Apr. 29th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bodkin_ra - Apr. 29th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frenchpony - Apr. 29th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
elliska
Apr. 28th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
Congrats, FP! I knew people would love the class because students always love learning from someone who loves what they're teaching and you clearly love your subject. Great job!
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC)
I think, also, that it was something different, not just the usual everyday chorus rehearsal. I think they really enjoyed singing "Chester," and the chorus director was clearly excited about having me there, and that made the singers decide that I was worth listening to. And then, of course, my singing school was just soooo fascinating. . .
bodkin_ra
Apr. 29th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
You sound as if it was a real high, Pony. And invited back! A real seal of approval. FP done good.
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC)
It was a high. The more so because there was not one second where I didn't feel like I was in control of myself, and i always knew what I was doing. You can't really speak from notes at a singing school, but I managed to remember all the information I wanted to tell them, in the proper order, with all the dates correct. And then [Sally Field voice] they liked me! They really liked me! [/Sally Field voice]
meggins
Apr. 29th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
Teachers who are energized by their classes. Who might actually cause their students to be enthusiastic. Damn, we need that. Good for you and Daw.
frenchpony
Apr. 30th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
Well, I'm still a newbie not-quite-teacher. What's great is that Daw is still that enthusiastic after teaching as long as she has. I hope I'm still hopping up and down when I'm a full tenured professor.
fafojoy
Apr. 29th, 2006 11:58 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you were good and had a great time! I felt like that the first time I taught. The students were so excited to have something practical after so much theory. I walked on clouds for a while. :D

I hope you get the chance to go back and do it again.
frenchpony
Apr. 30th, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
What were you teaching?

I hope we can organize another singing school again in the fall. It'll be a bit more work, since I'll be in Chicago, but it'd still be do-able.
bodkin_ra
May. 4th, 2006 11:59 am (UTC)
Hi FP. I am currently nominating stories for MEFAs and I wanted to nominate the Nan Elmoth Apprentice - but you're not on their author list, are you? And I think I need to give them an e-mail address so your author liaison would be able to contact you. Would you mind being nominated? You could e-mail me via SoA if you want to respond off-screen!
frenchpony
May. 4th, 2006 12:05 pm (UTC)
I'm flattered, and I'm glad that you liked the story that much, but I'd prefer that you didn't nominate it. I don't like the idea of fanfiction awards, and I prefer not to participate in any of them.

But I do appreciate that you asked first, before you nominated. That was nice of you.
(no subject) - bodkin_ra - May. 4th, 2006 12:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )