The second week of morning sectionals - the girls are taking their first individual test singing Au Joli Jeu Soprano 1 m15-22. I count m14, they have to count themselves into m15 (they count beats 1-2-3, then sing on beat 4). I listened to half the choir this morning - they sound good. Just for this singing test - notes and rhythms are solid, just a few tuning issues at the phrase entrance. While they wait, the other girls are re-doing solfege for the Soprano 2 of the same piece. I made a mistake in 4 measures when I recreated the piece on Finale. At the end of sectional, we have 10 minutes to spare and they sing through the Soprano 2 part.
During class time, Marsha Robinson and Sally McGowan came to run a 3 part sectional. We worked on Gia il sole dal Gange. It was a rotating sectional - each voice part received 10 min with each instructor. Sally reviewed m7-20, checking for rhythm & pitch accuracy. Marsha taught m21-34 and I taught m35-48. My policy is for students to derive pitches and stay away from the piano. The altered pitches are the only exception. The girls feel better about the beginnning after working with Sally, they loved Marsha, and the part I taught.....well, it's scary for Soprano 2's and Altos. Moving eighth notes and intervallic leaps in order to support the Soprano 1 melody line. Marsha has some good ideas - sing fun words on intervals that are difficult, like chocolate and yummy. Who wouldn't love a difficult interval if you can sing the word chocolate on it?
One of the things that I talked to the girls about yesterday is accepting constructive criticism. At this point, they will have a lot of people talking to them about musical concepts - they need to be ready for correction and apply it to improving their own skill. Middle school girls have lots of emotions to wrangle but learning a work ethic requires thick skin and quite a bit of determination. I'm very honest with the girls - I do not lie b/c a wrong pitch is a wrong pitch. Nobody wants to hear wrong pitches. We can't make this journey successful if I am the only one instructing and encouraging the learning process. Momma Riser is not the only opinion that matters. Musicians help musicians. That is how we improve our skills.