I sing in a woman’s choir. Every other Monday night I ride my bike down to the community centre to join about 35 other women who also love to sing. There is no auditioning for this choir. The only pre-requisite to membership is a desire to sing, an ability to (at least) try to stay on key and enough adventure in musical skill to harmonize with the rest of the group. I learn a lot about music by being a member of the choir.
I listen carefully to the other people surrounding me so I fit myself in harmonically. That takes careful listening skills. It’s about listening with an open heart. No judgement. I just want to fill in where everybody is.
In June we had our end of the year performance. Our choir had 7 selections that our choir leader, Gillian had chosen. It was the first time we had two nights of performance instead of one. And both nights were completely sold out!
My husband, Paul, loves to come to see me perform in the choir. He says I beam up there on the stage. I’m not sure what he means by that! He says it looks like I’m having such a good time. I do have such a good time. And I feel glowing and energetic with the other women on stage. It reminds me a little of Canada geese. Their flying formation suggests the perfect support system. They fly in a V formation and rotate leadership simply by sharing the responsibilities of the front flyers.
Singing is like that too. I maintain my pace based on the energy and skill of my co singers. We have an amazing group of singers!
This year I reflected on the performance process. I was thinking about my connection to the audience, and, before the second night of performance I asked Gillian
“Should I be looking at the audience to connect with them? Or should I be reading my music, neatly piled in my black binder? Or should I be watching you?”
“All of them,” she replied,” If you want to maximize performance possibilities.”
I got it, I thought. It is just like learning! The best learning happens when we are able to help our students connect 1) to themselves, 2) to their immediate world, and 3) to the content we share with them.
Welcome back to school 2010-2011