A SELF-DETERMINED LEARNING JOURNEY: Harmonizing Voices
My mother taught my sister and I to keep a box of memorabilia. They used to be shoe box sized but over the years, it has morphed into a huge plastic container. Among the items kept was a birthday gift made by close high school friends. It contained printed photos of myself and friends at school and events. Among those photos were pictures of my school choir days. It’s very rare to find such photos as I was always working in the background.
High school is always an awkward phase for most and I’m not exempted. I wished to find like-minded persons who love music and that cause me to join the school choir in Form 2. We had a vocal coach who came in to train us for the school district competition. From being a choir member, I also became the choir pianist. There were other members who could play but I guess I was chosen due to my piano grades and probably one of the few who’d dare to sight read. I recall feeling embarrassed during our first competition because we performed pitched lip rolling and wore only school uniform. The other school teams were well prepared and decked in beautiful costumes. I believed we won somewhere in the top 5 anyway.
Due to my fuzzy memory, I believed I was asked to be the student coach for the school choir in Form 4. I learned to recruit fellow school mates and organized auditions. I would paste up announcements on the school choir’s notice board and it felt like a very important duty. Many of my friends from different classes joined in and it was fun! We would meet once or twice a week after school to learn voice warm-ups and sing songs in harmony. It came to the point where I also learned to conduct the choir. I remember searching on the internet on how to conduct in specific time signatures. I even printed the resources so that I could revise. Back then it was dial up, so I can’t linger on the internet for too long. Since I can’t play piano and conduct at the same time, I enlisted one of my friends, Xian to learn conducting. Both of us worked very well and led the choir together. The teacher advisor also trusted us very much and allowed us to organize the choir on our own.
School choir was also an excuse to skip classes so that we could practice for important school events and the district school competition. Naughty intentions aside, the choir was a very committed bunch and we always did our best for each performance. It was tough learning to do everything on our own and that included me learning to arrange music and voice parts for the choir. Next Monday I will share about that. I hope you like the articles I wrote so far. Do you have similar experiences of commitment in the past? Share your comments if any.
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