The bitter cold did not deter my return to the schola. I loved seeing the Little Lamb Choir and their smiles, sparkling eyes and enthusiasm implied that they too, like the return to routines and making music.
I must first briefly comment on Nine Lessons and Carols. While some of us coughed our way through the service, I was very proud of the way they all rose to the occasion. They watched me, were focussed and appropriately delivered in an animated way their hymn. Certainly the amplification aided our numbers allowing their angelic voices to soar!
As is always the case we got off to a running start on January 9th. January is always a very interesting time. The added maturity that happens over these breaks makes them more ready to take some big steps. We are holding more and more music in our hands - not just one page handouts but octavos as well. This requires following along pointing to every rhythm, word/syllable, or musical note depending on what our focus may be. For the more intrinsically motivated readers, they quickly realize how much easier and faster the learning of music is. For those who are progressing at their own pace, small stepping gets them to also realize quickly that with practice those things that are at first challenging become easier. Already there was a marked difference between our first and second class. This stage of our music learning - making more sense of the musical score - requires time, patience, asking questions when you need help and being open to making mistakes. Once this new behavior is more established, I think that everyone will see that overall reading will improve - a win-win situation for all. Becoming excited about the wonderful world of reading is magical, indeed. However, I am ever mindful of the concerns, challenges and resulting confidence issues that may arise with some. I truly nurture this new skill as it relates to music in a gentle way.
As I have periodically mentioned, the music that will benefit most from your ‘at home’ work will be placed each class towards the front of your child’s binder. Reading to your child while they point to the words with give them even more added confidence in class. You will also note that our Tenebrae hymn is 4 verses - our longest one yet. However, the patterns and repetition make it very manageable. There will be a melodic ostinato in the second verse and small group solos in the third. With the Little Lambs doing it this year will mean that all choirs will have done it. It was first done by the Juniors in my first year at the schola and then repeated by the Seniors the following year. After a one year hiatus, it is returning. All of the octavos for the Year End Concert will be in your child’s binder by the end of January. Additionally, all of the Little Lambs may benefit from doing some SOLFA practice at home. Each week let them be your teacher for one of their songs. Very quickly your repertoire will grow. As you know, this is not meant to be a daunting task. Even five minutes per day will pay dividends. So, have some fun making music with your child.
Wishing you a blessed Happy New Year as well as a return to health. I know that it was a particularly unusual season for lingering winter time coughs, sniffles and such.
Katheryne Perri Edwards
Katheryne Perri Edwards, a singer and music educator comes to St. John Choir Schola with the following credentials. She graduated from the U of A with distinction with a B.Ed (Music Education) and from the U of C with a M.Ed (Specialization in Early Childhood Music). She taught music for 37 years. The first 13 years were with the Calgary Separate School Board where she received an Excellence in Teaching Award and her last 24 years with the Youth Singers of Calgary where she was the Program Director/Teacher of the Kids & Music Program. This was a four-level music education/preparatory choir experience for Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Grade I and Grade 2 Students.