Friday, August 14, 2015

Lesson 1 of S-Cubed Level 2 is ready. Middle School Sight Singing Techniques for Beginners in the Group Setting

As I've created the Power Point this week for Lesson 1 of Level 2 of S-Cubed, I've realized that S-Cubed Level 2 is more than just Sight Singing.



It's about team work.  It's about taking the changing voice and helping them to adjust and learn to listen.

It's about continuing to help them learn in a way that is supportive and engaging.

It's about sharing what has worked for me in my real life public school classroom with true beginners and helping the teachers who teach them.

 I know it works because I continue to use this method everyday with my own beginners.   I get them in 6th grade....and I don't know about you, but I've never gotten a "little Mozart" in my room.  I had to learn to make this subject accessible to the students who walked in my room.  I had to learn to meet them where they were and help them progress.

They move on to high school after 8th grade.  When they walk out of my chorus room door for the last time, my goal is they won't walk out of it as literate, passionate, capable and inquisitive musicians.

So, I've begun to share Level 2 of S-Cubed.   The same to you my taught series 2 years ago when I begin to share. They are the ones on the videos many of you have watched over the last two years.  Now they are all grown up and ready for level 2!

Here is Lesson 1 of S-Cubed Level 2.

Click to see it!

 I can't thank all of you enough for your support as I've opened up my classroom.  All I know is that I've wanted to watch other teachers teach since I started teaching in 1989.  Thanks to modern technology, you get to do that with S-Cubed.

Please spread the word to your peers and colleagues.  I don't advertise in a traditional fashion.  It's all word of mouth and social media tagging.

Have a great school year!




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Sunday, August 9, 2015

So...You're replacing a legendary choir teacher....

If you are about to face a group of middle school or high school chorus students in the upcoming school year who have been taught by a teacher they absolutely adored, you may be feeling like you've just been hired to replace 

It is so scary.  

Can you imagine?!?

In my very first job, I was hired to replace a beloved teacher, and I remember a student saying out loud in class one day while I was teaching (bombing)... "You need to call Ms. Yokley up and ask her how to do this."

Ok...In that single moment, after having just completed 6 straight years of higher education, including obtaining a masters degree, I knew lots about theory, music history and art song, but I had no idea how to actually teach middle school children, and I've just replaced a legend. 

OMG.

Whether it is your first year or your twenty-first year teaching, it is hard to replace a legend.  

In this post, I want to share what I learned during the two times I replaced legends in the choral classroom.

Here they are:

1)  If possible, form a relationship with the teacher you are replacing. 

Schedule a meeting with the teacher before you take over the program.  Ask questions about the program, the children, the administration, the counselors, the parents and any other question you can think of.

Ask the teacher if it is ok to be in touch during the school year to ask more questions via text, email or phone call.  You are likely to have many questions once the year gets going that you could not have anticipated, so having continued contact with the teacher you replaced is very helpful.

The children often find out that you and the former teacher have been in touch, and that can really help.  It means that you value what went on before you came, and that is very important in terms of helping them accept you in this new position.

2)  Either formally or informally, as early in the year as possible, sit down with key upperclassmen to ask questions about what they've enjoyed about their time in chorus under the previous leadership.

Listen.  Learn.  

It's about respecting what went on before you arrived and showing your respect by taking the time to learn about their experience.  

I've learned so much from the two legends that I replaced.  By following suggestions #1 and #2, I learned new ways to do things, new songs to teach, new classroom management ideas and so much more.  

3)  Repeat #2 with key parents.  

Parents are the backbone of my program.  I couldn't teach my 300+ children without their support and help.  Show that you value them by taking the time to meet and listen early in the year.

4)  Respect tradition.

Some of the traditions the community has may seem completely silly to you, but in your first year there, respect as many of those traditions as you can while maintaining true to yourself and your own future vision for the program.  It can be quite a delicate balancing act.  Eventually, you will create your own traditions, but if you walk in and refuse to honor the most important ones, you will lose support.  

5)  Be humble and don't take anything personally.  

You are going to meet resistance because you are not 
Mr. or Ms. _________.  You can't change it, so just accept it during that first year.   

Your rehearsal techniques will not be the same.  They may rebel against your new ideas.  Don't take it personally.  Call the teacher you replaced and see if you can use one of her ideas instead of the one you tried today that bombed!  


6)  The students in the lowest grade level you teach are yours.  

They have no experience with the previous teacher.  While some of them may have had siblings who were taught by the previous teacher, essentially, they are yours.  Word of mouth is not the same as true experience.  The youngest students who never had the previous teacher are more pliable.  You can treat them as yours from day 1.  Enjoy your time with them because, at times, you will be very frustrated with the older children who question you, your techniques and your vision.

7)  Believe in yourself and in your long-term vision.

With each year that passes, the program becomes yours.  

When you are replacing a legend within a school community, it is going to be difficult, and there is no way around it. Parents, and even faculty and administration may also challenge your ideas. You may lose some students.  You may get phone calls.  

It is going to take time.  Be patient.  You will build your own legacy in time.

The second time I replaced a legend, I had been teaching for a long time, so it was quite difficult for me when I met resistance.  Each time, I took a deep breath, and I listened with respect.  I asked questions.  I made sure that I did not reveal what I was thinking...(i.e....."I know what I'm doing!!!  Just let me do it!").  

...And in doing so, I was able to slowly gain the support of the people with the biggest concerns.  

They don't care what you've done before.  It means very little to them in their daily experience with you as their current teacher. Mostly, they care about what you are about to do now.

Remember:  They just want the program to be great!  We should be thrilled they care enough to speak up!

Hope that helps some of you who are facing what feels daunting at the moment!  You'll be fine.  Hang in there!

Sight Singing stuff....In the next week, I will start releasing S-Cubed Level 2.  


Here are two videos of my 8th graders at their adjudication last spring.  They'd just completed Level 2 of the S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners.



From the very first day of school with my middle school choral students, I begin using S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners.   They love the game Forbidden Pattern, so it is a great way to get them hooked so they can't wait to come back to your class the next day!

When I created S-Cubed, I did it with the beginning teacher in mind, but I have been thrilled to learn that teachers of all levels and all backgrounds are finding the program helpful in their classrooms!  Some say that it's rejuvenated their daily routines, and others say it's helped them survive the transition from teaching band to teaching chorus.  Whatever the reason, I am very happy when I hear that it's helping folks!  It makes all of the work worthwhile!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!  I don't know about you, but I am going to squeeze out every last drop so I am ready when those eager middle school children walk through my door on the first day!



Monday, July 20, 2015

Puppies and Middle School Children...Some Classroom Management for Back to School!

During summer, I like to reflect on the previous school year and plan for the next one.  I reflect on what worked and what I'd like to do better.  I think about why I do things the way I do them, and how I can tweak and improve my work to make it more effective for my students.

...And somehow, I find ways to take life events and daily occurrences and pull out the lessons that might help me manage my middle school choral classroom better.

Sometimes, the comparisons are ridiculous. 

Today's...

Puppies and Middle School Classroom Management.  

In February, I unexpectedly lost this incredibly beautiful and sweet doggie, Maxie.

I will never forget him.  He was 11 years old.  Our times together were so very memorable and fun.  Here are some of the things I treasure most about that little boy:  

He was hungry.  He kept our floors perfectly clean because he licked up every morsel of food.  He loved to chase squirrels.  He loved feeling the sun on his back.  He was a great supervisor of laundry duty.

Certainly, dogs go to heaven.  If they don't, I don't know who would.

So, I mourned.  Deeply.  His sudden loss shook me to my core.

I knew that, at my age (30, of course....not), I wasn't going to wait too long for puppy love, but I knew I couldn't get one immediately. It would be irresponsible because from March to May, my world at school with my students is insane as I'm sure most of you can relate.  During that time, we have adjudicated festivals with all 300 choir members and our annual full scale musical revue happens in early May.  

So, reluctantly, I waited.  

The weekend after my spring musical revue, I drove to Waleska, GA, and I met this little boy.  

This is Beaux.


O
M
G


I'm probably biased, but he's got to be the cutest puppy ever.



Then, it gets real...

The peeing.  The pooping.  The shoe-chewing.   The biting.  The out of control jumping.  The barking.  ...And on and on.

...And then you start thinking "What have I done?  Am I ready for this?"  

It's similar to the feeling we get at about the third or fourth week of school after the "honeymoon" period has ended with our middle school children.  

That's when the rubber meets the road.  That's when our words no longer matter and it becomes about what we DO.  

Before I go any further, I want to write two disclaimers:
#1:  I am not a dog trainer.  I am making it up as I go just like I did my first year of teaching!  Thank goodness for "google".
#2:  Middle School children are not puppies...obviously!  :-)

So....how is raising a puppy similar to running a middle school classroom?!

#1)  Both puppies and middle school students need lots of 
Praise, Reward and Positive Recognition.

Where I grew up, when a puppy had an accident in your house, you were supposed to yell at him and then rub his nose in it. 

EEEEWWWWW!   

In my early years of teaching, I remember people telling me "Don't Smile Before Christmas."  

Well, both of those things sound awful to me.   

Whose bright ideas are these and why are they training puppies or teaching middle school?  Would YOU feel good about learning from somehow who rubbed your nose in poop or someone who is frowning every time you enter the classroom?

Right now, with my new puppy, I'm taking him outside several times per day.  When he pee-pees or poops outside, we have a party!  I have a treat ready in my pocket to give to him immediately upon the finishing of the deed.  After a few weeks of pee-pee and poop parties, my little puppy has now gone three days in a row with no accidents inside the house!   In fact, two times, he barked at the door to let me know it was time to take him out!  He's getting it!!  

Puppies naturally want to please, and so do our middle school children...unless we are mean to them, disrespectful to them or don't listen to them. 

Are puppies and middle school children full of energy?  Yes.  Do they need play?  Yes.  Do they do bad things sometimes?  Yes.

The question is how we respond to it.

I learned through many failures during my early years of teaching that positive reinforcement matters.  When I started teaching, I looked 14 years old, so I thought I had to be mean.  They hated me, and they made my life miserable until I figured it out.

When I catch my middle school children doing the right thing, I praise publicly.  Sometimes, I reward them by giving them a sticker.  After receiving three stickers, they get a Starburst.    

It doesn't matter how you praise, but it's important to do it.

It is so important for us, as teachers, to brainstorm about all of the ways we can publicly recognize and reward positive behaviors in our children often.  

#2:  Puppies and Middle School Children need Structure

Scenario:
You come home after a long day of teaching.  You are very excited to greet your puppy.  What do you find?  ...Shredded pieces of toilet paper, piles of poop and pee pee to clean up and chewed up shoes.  

No fun.  

You are angry and  frustrated.  Why doesn't he know better?!

Well...because we haven't set him up for success with clear boundaries and structure.

And it isn't enough to state the rules and procedures.  You have to practice them daily.

Puppies and middle school children feel your anger and frustration when they haven't pleased you, and they respond to it.   Your relationship with them will be impacted.  That's why it is best to set them up for success by providing daily rituals and routines.  

Puppies and middle school children thrive on it.

When I leave the house or when I can't watch him closely, he goes into his crate.  I never give him free reign to roam through the house because if I do, he is going to do something bad.  I'll be upset, and he will feel it.   

When he is out of the kennel, he needs structure too.  We have done our best to set him up for success by always keeping him in our sight when he is out of his crate.  We've placed barriers at open doorways to keep him close enough that we can hear him and monitor his behavior.  By being able to monitor, we can reward the good behaviors and gently correct ones we don't like when they happen.    

Does it take time to teach structure?  Absolutely...but the long-term rewards are immense.   

How do you want your students to come into your room?  Do you want them to wait at the door until you open it?  Or do they get to come in when they want?   What is the first thing you expect them to do when they sit down?  What should they bring to class each day?  How will you dismiss your children at the end of class?  Will you dismiss by rows?  What will they do with their chorus folders?  (Click the link to see a previous blog post on dealing with folders.)

These are just a few things we have to teach in the first few days.  

Our children don't know what we want unless we show them.  Our children and our puppies are not mind-readers.  They need us to patiently guide them.  

I begin teaching structure on the very first day of school.  Two years ago, I created this lesson to help teachers prepare for the first day of school.
In the power point, I've shared ideas for a game to help teachers begin forming positive relationships with their students, a copy of my syllabus, and ideas for setting up your classroom on and before the first day of school.  

#3  Puppies and Middle School Children need FUN, brief effective learning sessions.

I've been teaching Beaux how to "sit" and "stay" as well as a few other tricks.  

I get out the treats, we head to the living room, and we start the training session.  He loves the treats, and he cannot WAIT to figure out how to earn one. 

After about 5 minutes, the little boy is done.  He exhibits all the signs of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  He starts scratching or looking at the bird that just flew by the window.

The truth is that it doesn't matter whether a child has ADD or not.   Nobody wants to sit in a non-interactive, unchanging session of any kind for very long.  We get bored, and we mentally check out. 

Sometimes, my puppy just needs to run.  Sometimes, middle school children need to move.  They give us the signals!  My puppy starts growling and jumping at my feet!  My middle school children start looking at the clock.  It's up to us to learn to recognize the signals and change up the activity or the manner in which we are presenting it so we can create a more enjoyable learning experience for our students.

We have to avoid lecturing the life force out of our children.     

In a 50 minute class period, I have found that using several 10-15 minute learning sessions works well for me.  I like to think of these critical points as I prepare and present my lessons:

1)  I want to have a specific achievable arc of learning.
2)  I want to use effective and varied kinesthetic, aural and visual techniques for teaching the particular learning goals of the day. 
3)  I want at least one moment of laughter and fun!  More if possible!

Otherwise, they check out...just like my little Beaux.

In addition to the teaching ideas for the first day of school that I've shared in "Back to School! What do you MEAN I Can't Smile Before Christmas?!?", I use the game, Forbidden Pattern, with my students on the first day.  This video of the game was taken on the very first day of school with my sixth graders in 2013.

This particular game helps them learn solfege and have a good time doing it!  Forbidden Pattern is Lesson 1 in the S-Cubed series, and it reflects the philosophical and technical basis of the S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners.  It's fun, it's short and effective, and you get to use your special personality traits with your students while building your relationship with them...all while they learn!

Puppies are such a delight.  They are silly.  They are sponges for learning. They want to move.  They want some level of independence, but they aren't ready for too much of it.  

They want to please.  They are loyal.

Adopting a puppy isn't for everyone and neither is teaching middle school.  If we approach puppies and middle school children with anger and frustration, they can turn on us quickly.  When we invest the time and energy to learn and develop positive, proper, and effective teaching strategies and classroom management techniques, it brings out the very best in them.  

During my 23 years of teaching this age group in my public middle school choral classroom, I have found my students to be incredibly generous, loyal and well...silly...just like Beaux!

Look at the energy of this pup!  It beams in this picture.  He needs to run.  He wants to discover, and he wants to learn.  He wants us to notice him. 



This world is brand new to him.

He needs my guidance...My structure...My patience...so that I can teach him what I expect of him.  

He isn't born knowing.  

He is just a puppy.





Enjoy the rest of your summer, and wishing you a wonderful and rewarding new school year with your middle school children!







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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How do I use a Purchase Order on TPT to purchase S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program?

Thank you so much for your interest in S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing program!

Here are the links that will help you answer all of your questions regarding using a purchase order to purchase S-Cubed and any other product on TPT!

How do I use Purchase Orders to buy products on TPT?

Why can't I select the Purchase Order option at checkout?

How long does it take to process purchase orders?

We want to buy from TpT, but our purchasing rules require that Sellers first sign a Sole Source Affidavit. Can we still buy with TpT?


If you need me to sign a Sole Source Affidavit, please send it to me with the attachment and with the instructions in your email.  Send it to inthemiddlewithmrd@gmail.com.  I will return it promptly.

If, after reading the above links, you still have questions, please send me an email or Contact TPT directly, and we will get all of your questions answered so you can start using S-Cubed in your classroom!

Thank you!

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Middle School Chorus Teachers: What to do with Summer?

My last day of school with my middle school chorus students was Friday, May 22nd.  

I love my students, but I was one happy man when the last group left my room... 

...as were they!

We all need and deserve this moment to breathe, and we should seize it.

We need to make sure that we are happy and rejuvenated when our little darlings return to school in early August! 

It's time to....

Having just completed my 23rd year of teaching this age group, friends of mine have often said to me "I wish I had summers off!"

My immediate response is, "You can!  Become a teacher!"

They look at me with total bewilderment and often they say something along these lines: "Are you kidding?  I could never tolerate middle school children...and I need to make more money than teachers make."  

Ok!  That's fine!  

We teachers have made our decision to teach, and we are not going to feel guilty about enjoying the summer!

In face, I believe we must!

At the end of the year, I definitely feel like this:


When the school year begins, for me, it feels like I press the gas pedal all the way down to the floor and keep it there without pause until they leave on the last day.   

Thank goodness for summer!


I am so grateful that in the state of Georgia, our salary is broken up into 12 installments, and I am also thankful to be able to take the time to truly stop.  Not all teachers are fortunate enough to be able to take the time off, but if you can, I hope that you will.  At a minimum, we have to dial is back a few notches.

Here are some ideas that I plan to do in the summer to stay connected with teaching:

1)  Do online research to improve my ability to use technology in my classroom.
2)  Listen to new music for next year.
3)  Develop the outline for S-Cubed Level 2 Middle School Sight Singing Program so I can hit the ground running as I teach it to my new students in August and share it with folks who've completed the original beginning S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing System.   Level 2 will start becoming available during the second or third week of August one lesson at a time.  Keep an eye on my Facebook page, my YouTube Channel, and my TPT store to stay up to date about releases.  Also, to get all updates about S-Cubed, including the lesson-by-lesson releases of S-Cubed Level 2, make sure you subscribe to my email list.  Just send an email to inthemiddlewithmrd@gmail.com and write "Subscribe" in the subject line.  
4)  I also plan to reflect on all of the positives and negatives of last school year so I can keep the good and remove the bad.
5)  Work with our new principal to make sure I am actively advocating for my choral program.

To nourish and replenish my personal and physical well-being, I plan to:

1)  Take leisurely walks every day.
2)  Get a new puppy, go to training classes with him and get to know him.  Can't wait!

3)  Entertain my family when they visit and soak up the time with them.  Looking so forward to seeing my 77 year old father and my brother when they are here.
4)  Plug into my "hobby on steroids", Aerobic Gymnastics.  I've been involved with the sport for over 25 years, first as an athlete, coach and choreographer, and now as an International Judge.  I'll head to San Diego in July to judge an International Competition.  I went to Japan and to Canada to judge and coach the sport in April right in the middle of the production of the musical, and I have to say, I was WAY overbooked!  Since May 22, I've been exhaling for sure!
5)  Exercise vigorously a minimum of one hour daily.
6)  Spend time with my 25 year old bird.  She was a rescue who was only supposed to live 15 years, so every moment is precious.
7)  Watch movies.
8)  Work in my garden.
9)  Spend time with friends.  Perhaps I'll get crazy and stay up past 9:30!  
10)  Play with my kitty!
...and much more!

Note that the second list is twice as long as the first list.  ...On purpose!

It's what I believe we must do as teachers to help us be the best we can be when we return.  

Do what makes your heart feel great.  Do it because you love it.  

If you've got notes and cards that you received from your students about how much your teaching and your class meant to them, go back and read them.  

Soak it in. 

Remember why you teach.

Rejuvenate your spirit so you can knock it out of the park next year!









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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cell Phones Prohibited in the Middle School Choral Classroom! Seriously? It's 2015!

Times have changed.  

I'm old.  I've been teaching middle school choral music for 23 years, but I recognize that if we don't move and change with the times, we become stale and uninteresting to our students...

and...well...in many ways as harsh as it sounds...

...irrelevant.  

When I see this sign on the door of one of my colleagues...


...I know they won't be around much longer, and if they stay, they'll be so mean to the kids that they'll be bitter for most of the time they stay past their "sell by" date. 

That doesn't serve anyone well.

There are two Broadway songs that pretty much sum it up:


I'll take Spamalot for $500 please Alex!

...A culture reference that may well fly over the heads of folks under 30.

Here is how I see it...Change is constant in everything in our lives. We can move with it and continue to learn and grow, or we can constantly harken back to the 1950's when our home phones were all on "party lines".  I mean, at some point, wasn't television "new"?   My guess is that some people resisted TV too.  

Can you imagine your classroom without access to visual media like television?

I certainly cannot.





How can you use technologies in your 21st century classroom to involve and engage your middle school children?  Comment below with your ideas!  

Here are a couple of ways I've used them with my 300 non-auditioned students, and specifically, a way I use technology at the end of the school year.

#1:  

I created an Instagram page.  Here is the link.  I follow them.  They follow me.  It's professional not personal.  This is their "Facebook".  
Middle school students wanted to fly under the radar of their parents about 5 years ago, and this age group stopped doing Facebook.  It'll be something new in a couple of years, but for now, this is it. When it changes, so must we.

We do a spring musical each year.  This year, I created an HMS Musical Instagram page.  We posted rehearsal videos, and we generated excitement about the work we do...on their turf.  New kids decide they want to join chorus.  

It's a new way to recruit students!

#2:  

Now, at the end of the school year, I tell them to bring their cell phones to my room.

Why? 

So they can create their end of the year project.

After our spring musical revue, I ask them to create "musical parodies".  I teach them what a parody is.  I show them great parody artists from Saturday Night Live, and I use the internet to find examples of parodies like many of those created by the folks at Forbidden Broadway.  Then, for the next three class periods, I let them work in groups to come up with ideas to parody songs from our most recent musical revue.

They use their phones to videotape.  The most advanced kids use their phones to edit.  The less technologically advanced kids take it home to edit on their laptops.  

They absolutely love doing this project.  

For the students who aren't as comfortable with technology or who don't have smartphones, I allow them to present "live" so everyone is engaged.  

We discuss how tricky comedy can be, and how I want them to dig deep to find "smart humor".  They need role models, so I came up with two ideas.  I asked if they know who David Letterman is and most just stared at me...even with his pending retirement and the media blitz that is happening right now.    Then, I asked if they knew who Jon Stewart was, and their hands flew up in the air. With his retirement planned for August, that will change too...

I also encourage students who aren't comfortable using iMovie or other editing apps to explore other options for the parody that utilize both their personal talents and current technologies that are available.  

I ask questions like this:  

Do you draw?  Can you make a cartoon online?  

Let your brain go even further as you offer your children opportunities to share their personal talents while using technology.

Technology is moving so fast that each year I do the project with the students, I have to be flexible enough to be open to new ways of allowing them to present it.

The biggest goal is to engage at the end of the year and to allow them to develop and share their own individual talents and unique sense of humor.

Everyone loves to laugh!

I learn.  They help me stay current, and the best part...they get to have fun using the latest technologies about which they are passionate.  

That's why I created S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners.  Sight Singing books are a dime a dozen. I've bought them and used them.  They helped a bit, but now, we have more modern means available.  We can actually WATCH a teacher in a real public school classroom teaching the curriculum.
We can actually watch video teaching tips for specific lessons so we might have a chance to be more successful as we teach the new material for the first time.

It's a new day.  It's good to move with it. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Notes that Nourish the Spirit of the Middle School Choir Teacher

I found this note in my inbox this morning from a parent...four days after our spring musical revue.  Made my day.  We don't get paid huge salaries.  We give our hearts to our endeavors in our classrooms.  So, when we receive a letter like this one after pouring ourselves into the production of a musical revue for 300 children...well...the timing is perfect.

Dear Mr. Duncan,

I suppose you may get a lot of notes like this but I hope you don’t mind
one more.  

You are awesome.  You bring out the best in every life you touch.  Your
students love you.  That is apparent by the dedication they have to the

Chorus program at Henderson Middle School.  You inspire young people on
and off stage to persevere through the often-awkward first years as
teens.  Their minds are expanded through more challenging curriculum,
their bodies are challenged through growth spurts and releases of
hormones, and their hearts are captivated by a man who shares his passion
for music with them.

My daughter, Joy, played trumpet for a bit at Briarlake (both of her
uncles and both grandfathers and her great-grandfather played or continue
to play trumpet—no pressure, huh?).  She was patient with us as we
nudged her and tried to nurture her talent.  My wife and I (and all our
family) LOVE to sing.  That is how we met—in a bar where she worked and
I played.  I eventually played upright bass in a bluegrass band and I was
in a production of Cotton Patch Gospel by Harry Chapin and Tom Key with
the Theatrical Outfit in 1999 at the Rialto in Atlanta.  For Joy, singing
won out over trumpet when it came time to choose which track to pursue at
HMS.  BEST DECISION EVER!

I credit her participation in chorus with preserving her interest in
school over all.  When asked about her day, she skips over the core
classes and goes into excited, extended explanations of what is going on
with Chorus and more specifically the Musical. 

You and the students, along with those who assisted with choreography and
directing, put on a great show again this year.  It was thoroughly
impressive and enjoyable.  You exposed me to some new favorites that I
can’t stop humming (Superboy and the Invisible Girl, Crazier than You,
and Revolting Children) and reminded me of some old favorites that moved
me to tears.  The way each song was staged and executed demonstrated a
level of professionalism that is rare even among paid performers.  The
solos, duets, trios and the chorus transformed the HMS gym into a musical
wonderland that I did not want to end.

Please, take a moment to let it go to your head.  You deserve it.  OK,
now back to reality.  Have a great summer!
~~Paul
-- 
Paul Carpenter (Joy's dad)

And one more:



Kim Speece 
Fri 5/8/2015 9:56 PM
Inbox
To:

Dale Duncan (Henderson Middle);
DALE S. DUNCAN ;

Thank you for what we believe was the best show yet! The talent you are able to pull out of these kids each year is amazing. Please keep doing what you are doing because you are making a huge impact on these kids' lives - an impact that goes way beyond the stage. You have taught them the importance of hard work, dedication, team work and pure grit. All of these are lessons that typically don't come from a classroom unless that classroom has Dale Duncan as the teacher.
Tonight, Kenley said she wanted to do the show one more time just because she does not want the whole experience to be over. As a parent, I thank you.

Sent from my iPhone

Middle School Choral Teachers...keep going.  Keep giving your hearts to the kids and sharing your passions.  Keep organizing parents to support you and help you so that it isn't all up to you. Ask administrators for the support you need.  When they say no, ask again 6 months later.  Be tenacious.  Be positive.  Look for solutions.  Keep striving to create the program you've envisioned in your heart and brain so that every day, you are working toward its ultimate birth.

It all pays off.


Here are some pictures from out spring show.



















Go to "YouTube" to see our rendition of "You Can't Stop the Beat".
Link to "Carry the Banner" opener 2015.



Check out my blog!
Creator of the S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners

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