The Choir Parents' Handbook

which he is to work. Our instructors, therefore, are aware of the various ways in which Boy Choir has been related to music through the centuries.

It is good to establish a maximum challenge to the chorister that he may have something towards which to work, and it is good to impress upon him the importance of maintaining high standards in all phases of his work and his daily life. A brief explanation is given our boys as to what is expected of them in matters of discipline and of accomplishing the assigned work. We feel that the choirboy's initial impression of his work is a lasting one, and, therefore, we must not fall short in setting his sights high.

The boy is introduced to vocal exercises, since these are a means of immediate maximum participation vocally. It also establishes the impression of the necessary skills to be accomplished. Vocal exercises range from the scale-wise type to the more elaborate ones which may be found in books pertaining to vocal technique. Strangely enough, vocal exercises are among the choirboys favorite form of vocal recreation. They do not become bored by them as many educators fear, but, rather, they find them stimulating and exciting. Exactness in the exercises such as attacks, releases, lack of slurring, proper phrasing, is always stressed.

Considerable time is given to the matter of rhythm and the various means of indicating same. It is necessary, of course, that rhythm not become a drudgery to the students, but rather, that it constantly be a challenge to their abilities to respond adequately.

Once vocal exercises and rhythm are under way, the scale is explained and studied, and Italian solfege terms are introduced and memorized. Sight reading then follows, reading first rhythmically, next by solfege, and finally on some syllable such as "1oo", loh", or "1ah".

Important time is spent in the study of the various sounds found in English and the difference and importance of the quality in these sounds. Therefore, the composition previously used for rhythmic and syllable readings are sung verbally. In so singing a composition, stress of musical notation and signs is held to first importance. It is considered a good practice to have words out of the way (memorized) when interpreting the dynamics of music for the first time.

Some emphasis is also placed at this point upon the life of the composer and his contributions to the field of music. This is never done until after the child

 

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