Simon and the Sparrows

by DaniGirl on November 29, 2010 · 15 comments

in Mothering without a licence

I‘d heard through the parent council that the boys’ school had a special music instructor, but I didn’t know much about it other than he was in the school each Friday, and that he spent time with each of the classes. The boys talked about the tick-marks they got for good behaviour, and some of the instructor’s antics that kept their attention. I’d figured it was similar to the music programs I remembered from my own school days — jingle bells, rhythm sticks with ridges, sand blocks and folk songs.

Then one day a few weeks ago at dinner, the boys started comparing notes (ha! pardon the pun) about their experiences. I was impressed when they started talking about works by “Mr Beethoven” and was gobsmacked when Tristan opined that while he liked the first and second movements of Moonlight Sonata, he definitely favoured the third. I nearly fell off my chair when Simon asked if we could put “Mr Beethoven’s” Rage Over a Lost Penny on his MP3 player. My six-year old wants Beethoven on his music player?!

And then they burst into a harmonic version of Jubilata Deo. They have beautiful, soft singing voices and while they were not perfectly in tune, the spontaneous burst of sacred music at my otherwise chaotic dinner table shocked me into fat, proud tears. What wormhole has opened up and deposited me into an alternate universe?

Simon came home a few days later with a permission slip that said he has passed the audition to the Sparrows choir, an extension of the music program. He could find his place in a sheet of music (no small feat for a Grade 1 who can barely read a handful of words) and could differentiate between whole, half and quarter notes and rests. I was delighted until I found out that the choir practice was outside of school hours. Simon already has skating one night a week, and another evening of rushed dinners and hustling out into the dark evening did not appeal to me. However, Simon was keen and so I said we would try it for a month.

The first practice was this past week, and I was enchanted. The maestro, Uwe Lieflander, from the Sacred Music Society, seemed to place equal import on music and discipline. The children were made to queue up outside while the parents settled in the library, and then they filed quietly in and sat down around the piano in a semi-circle. When the maestro waved his arm, they rose quietly to their feet. The maestro wasn’t quite satisfied, and they did it all over again. He then played a few bars of music and paused, and 30 excited hands shot up begging to be given the chance to name the music. I don’t know if I was more surprised by their enthusiasm or the fact that a gaggle of six and seven year olds could differentiate between Mozart and Chopin.

And then they sang. High, sweet voices, a little ragged and out of time, perhaps, but simply beautiful nonetheless. I could detect an audible improvement by the end of the first session, too.

Simon loves it, and I’m still in awe that my kids have a program like this in their school. And, to be honest, given the choice between a cold bench in a dank ice rink and a warm library full of singing children, I’ll take choir practice over skating lessons any day!


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 l November 29, 2010 at 8:35 am

Sounds like a fantastic program. Wonder what would have happened if I had something similar when I was in school.

2 smothermother November 29, 2010 at 8:52 am

i got chills just imagining hearing the soft signing voices of children. i always get teary when i see christmas concerts. what a wonderful opportunity for the boys. i can only hope the jellybean’s school has something half as good!

3 valerie November 29, 2010 at 9:20 am

awesome! How wonderful to have a gifted music teacher in your school!

4 Anonymous November 29, 2010 at 9:27 am

Music – a gift! They (and you) are so lucky to have a great teacher.

I so agree with you on the library v. rink. Hoping and praying for kids who like arts and indoor (heated) sports!

5 Liisa November 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

Oops – sticky fingers – last comment was from me.

6 Finola November 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Wow. I just love this post and the idea of this choir program too. I can’t get over their enthusiasm!

7 Chantal November 29, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Oh how wonderful! I wish they had a program like that at our school!

8 Coco November 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Sounds like a fantastic programme…music is as important as math as it does soothe the soul.

9 Paula November 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Love the title of this post and love the story that followed. It’s wonderful that your sons are taking to the music program. Kudos to the school for offering it and to the teachers that are inspiring your boys.

10 Michelle November 29, 2010 at 8:40 pm

It’s wonderful to hear how much your boys are getting out of this program! You might want to consider printing this out and giving it to the teacher and/or the principal- I’m sure that they’d love it.

11 Amber November 29, 2010 at 11:59 pm

That sounds AMAZING. I am a little jealous of that school, to be honest.

12 Theresa November 30, 2010 at 12:33 am

In complete awe…would you consider giving a copy of this to the Maestro?? I was thinking it would be fitting for a parents magazine too…just the idea of young children being able to go so far with both music appreciation and self-discipline is amazing…not to mention the dedication of the Maestro himself!!

Thanks for sharing this story Dani!!

13 Shan @ The Fairy Blogmother December 1, 2010 at 12:56 am

My girls sing in our junior choir at church. The sound of their little voices… turns me into a puddle each and every time.

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