Saturday, March 1, 2014

Nothing that is worth anything is going to be easy...Sight Singing!

...but I promise I don't mean that in a depressing way at all...quite the opposite.

I'm talking about the fruits of dedicated, consistent hard work that pays off in ways we never imagined. It can be through gradual, permanent lifestyle changes when we combine a slight moderation in our diet and exercise that results in a weight loss of 1 or 2 pounds per week. It can be saving for retirement from the first day we start our professional work life until the day we retire that affords us the opportunity to enjoy the 3rd Act of our lives.

Planning and doing the work are big parts of my philosophy of life. I mean...I guess I could be wrong about that. I suppose I could plan on winning the lottery?!

I need to stop blogging and go buy a ticket. I think it's like $400 million right now!

Joking aside... 7 months ago, the 55 6th grade students that you hear on my YouTube channel walked into my classroom for the first time. They were excited and nervous about middle school. They were mostly musically illiterate. I mean...some could identify a quarter note or whole note, for example, but that was about it. Because of the excellent elementary feeder programs I have, they'd been exposed to the Kodaly Hand Signs, and that helps a lot. They sang as sharp as can be. They could not sing a major scale to save their lives without going at least a 1/2 sharp on the ascent and 1/2 flat on the descent. Some liked to yell when they sang. It is always like that each year.

 This week, they sight sang in tune a Two-Part, a capella, eight measure example that included dotted-quarter syncopated rhythms and difficult skips they had only seen a few minutes before for the first time nearly flawlessly.  Here it is:

Two-Part Sight Singing Success!!!

Last August, I started my own gradual labor of love when I started sharing my Sight Singing work online.  It's taken enormous amounts of time and energy.  Not being a technology superstar, I had to overcome numerous frustrating obstacles to figure out how to share my materials.  Hours upon hours of work preparing materials...learning how to promote them using technology...  I remember last October saying to a friend, "Why the heck am I doing this?  I want to do a show!"  I like to perform in theater in the Atlanta area, but between my teaching job and this endeavor, there was no time.  I'll get back to that, though!

Then, in November, one night, someone purchased every lesson I'd created all in one purchase.  I thought....ok...this could end up helping lots of music teachers and also create some extra income if I keep going!

Then, it January and February, it really began to pay off at a new level, and I am thrilled to be on this journey.

That is exactly how anything that is worth anything works!

I am sure that my students have felt frustrations along the way as I've helped them on their journey to becoming literate musicians, but boy were all of us thrilled when they succeeded at their Two-Part Sight Singing this week!  Woohoo!

Consistent, hard work pays off for sure!

I knew it would because I created and have taught S-Cubed to my students now for several years.  It is like training for a marathon.  It builds.  It's careful.  It's respectful.  It's fun.  It's frustrating....but when you cross that finish line after all of the work you've put in, the feeling is like no other!

....Not that winning the lottery wouldn't feel amazing too.....  :)

But, when you work for something really hard, there is nothing like the feeling you have when that work pays off!

I've laid it all out in S-Cubed as thoroughly as I know how to do and revealed every secret I've learned along the way so that other teachers can have that awesome feeling and enjoy the benefits of that work in all areas of their choral music programs!  I think the benefits of S-Cubed will benefit the programs of teachers far more than being able to read a 2-part 8 measure example flawlessly.  I hope lots of teachers find it and use it!  I wish I'd had it when I started teaching!  It would have saved me some seriously frustrating moments in the classroom!

I've just posted Lesson 25-TWO-PARTS!  Woohoo!

Link to Lesson 25 TWO-PARTS!


My own students go to their adjudicated festival on March 11th.  I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.  I'll be uploading the lessons I teach to finalize their preparation right up until that day.  After that, I will create some more two-part sight singing examples that will help keep their skills developing, but the lessons will stop...at least until I decide to create S-Cubed Series 2, and I can tell you know, that it won't be anytime soon!

Right now, I am just going to enjoy the feeling of having almost finished following through with my long-time wish to share my Sight Singing program for beginning middle school students with other teachers who may find the subject frustrating and well...irritating to teach....And I hope I've helped you add lots of success and fun into that process!





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