Patience, Patience, Patience

Several weeks I stood in front of 14 probationers (yes, that is too large a group, but more about that in another post) during our weekly rehearsal.  This lively bunch of 8 boys and 6 girls had been working hard, but knew they were nearing break time (the rehearsal is 2 hours long with a 10 minute break in the middle), and of course, there were a couple of boys who were getting restless (what boy wouldn’t in an after school rehearsal like this, right!).  I decided to take a moment to teach a lesson as well as impart some culture before the really important stuff–like snack time–began.  I started recounting a story from Hillaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children (If you have never read these stories, go to and read them with your children TONIGHT!  They make for great, very politically INCORRECT bed time reading) about a boy named Jim and the importance of listening to those in authority.  I barely had time to tell them about “Jim, who ran away from his nurse” when a little girl got so excited that she stammered, “and, and…and he was eaten by a lion.”  No sooner had I told her that she was correct than another little boy shouted out “Hey, there’s a great story in there about a girl who burns to death.”  At this point, almost all of the boys began acting as if they were on fire and the girls had as much fun laughing as the boys did making them laugh.  I had lost all control–time for break!  True, my plan didn’t work, but hey, they knew about Hillaire Belloc.  I guess that Catholic culture is not completely dead!

     I bring this up because before you ever begin working with children you must realize that while it is fun, it can be overwhelming at times.  I have known people who began teaching music in the class room and within a couple of years decided they would rather work for a bank.  So, I tell you Patience, Patience, Patience in Adversity.  You will make it in the end!
     Lastly, as I begin blogging at The Art of the Chorister, I would like to fill in the reader on how I plan to post.  Monday and Thursday will be reserved for the main articles, Monday dealing with the practical aspects of children’s choirs and choir schools in general, and Thursday dealing with the practical aspects of sight-singing and ear training.  Tuesday will be a wild card day (my choice), Wednesday will be dedicated to listening to different choirs and Friday will finish the week with information on various choir schools.  Saturday and Sunday are for my family (you will have to wait until Monday).  I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I enjoy writing them.

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