I had a lovely little choir rehearsal tonight.
Looking at the schedule, I realized that we really don't have much to learn between now and Lent, and, (if I wanted to,) I could surely run the rehearsal in 35 minutes each week. That not really being an option (since my pay isn't based on hours,) I have been thinking I need something more to do with the choir. So, I decided to have them work on a little polyphonic 4-part piece. At the very least, even if they never sing it at Mass, I could use it to teach some notes and how to read rhythms.
I decided I would do a lot of "everyone singing the same part" thing, so that people wouldn't get bored, and teach them to "count-sing." (Eg, 1+2+3+4+ for every measure.)
We had started that last week on a mostly quarter note song, and it was going well, so I figured that jumping into the eighth note song would be perfect. I quickly realized that they had less of a grasp on the actual note values than I was thinking, so I set about explaining how "1+2" or whatever fits into which notes exactly, and writing it on the white board. They were very interested, with only mild complaining about the difficulty. So, we had a great rehearsal, got through a bit of the piece, and I'm looking forward to helping them to really learn it solidly, with a complete understanding of the notes over the next few weeks.
However, my day was made (and my heart aches,) when, at the end of rehearsal, I was erasing the white board, and someone said, "Oh, you're erasing that! I was going to use it!" And then they started asking me to re-write it and hand it out! They said, "No one has ever taught us this before!... I failed music when I was in school... I've been singing in choirs for years!"
Wow. So, this will be an interesting experiment at the worst, or, way to change their lives (musically at least,) at the best. I will definitely write out a sheet for them, and even include some rhythm exercises that they can practice counting on their own! This should be fun.
And...this is why I love my job. :-)