|Mr. Finn directs the choir from his piano bench!|
At South Hamilton High, fifth hour is the lunch period. This means 5th "hour" is actually 90 minutes long--with each student given 30 minutes in that time frame for lunch and a bit of a break. No break for Mr. Finn, however. Instead, he uses the unique structure of the period to maximize his choir's rehearsal potential: men's choir meets while women enjoy lunch, then women rehearse while the men eat, and finally the mixed choir converges to finish the time frame. Much is accomplished during this 90 minutes, and it begins immediately with the ringing of the bell.
|Students use hand signs to |
help build site reading skills
If you think a choir student only learns music, you are wrong. In this one class period, students learned some of the science of sound and how we produce music with air and vocal chords. Students also gained knowledge in how to correctly breathe to support singing, the importance of correct diction, and some nifty tricks to assist the learning. At one point students mimicked the throwing of a dart to help them execute the timing and pronunciation of a phrase. The variety and fast pace of instruction keep these young musicians on their toes, for they must watch and listen carefully or they will quickly be left behind. It is hard work. No slacking.
|Mr. Finn moves around the |
classroom as students sing
"If we work hard, I know we are," replies Mr. Finn.
The student quietly smiles. Motivating our students is important, and our secondary music staff of Mr. Finn, Ms. Alexa Gibbs (high school band), and Ms. Kaily McDonald (middle school band) do a great job of investigating and presenting opportunities in which our students can perform. These three young educators do an amazing job and work incredibly hard teaching students, demanding quality work, even organizing fund raisers to boost the program. As they watch their young musicians blossom and grow, they know all the time and effort are worth it.
Just before the ending bell, Mr. Finn has one more song for his choir to perform. It is an African spiritual, and soon his students are swaying and clapping and stomping and smiling...it's clear they are having fun! The students are still singing and tapping their toes as they walk out and on to 6th period. "The goal is to have them leave singing, ready to practice again tomorrow," says Mr. Finn. Mission accomplished.