Reply To: Help – kids treat choir as a social club!
I totally understand – my choir is grades 2-5 and the youngers are so awfully chatty. My choir is about 30 kids. This is my third year having a choir; every year it has increased by at least 10 kids. (One of my mentors used to say ” You build it, they will come.”) I have parent volunteers who circulate around the room during rehearsal – or go where I point to talking kids – and quiet students.
My rehearsals are one hour long and start about 5 minutes after the school day ends. Kids trickle into the room during the 10 minutes of dismissal; they talk at this time. I end about 10 minutes before the hour is up and let kids dance (Radio Disney “Move It” CD) and have snack (usually crackers and juice). So there are times when they are allowed to talk. If there are problems with talking during rehearsal, I threaten to take away minutes from snack / dancing time. Your chatty students might really enjoy something like this – and if you threaten to take away the time, they might self-police (quiet the other kids who are talking).
You might also try making assigned seating for choir rehearsals. Have the students and their parents sign a Choir Contract which indicates required cooperative behavior expectations, what the choir is about (learning about proper breathing, posture and annunciation, performing, improving singing skills). Indicate at the end that not following these rules will result in dismissal from the group.
I understand that you don’t want to loose kids. So first try speakign to parents about the behavior, making times when kids ARE allowed to talk / socialize and create a reward at the end of rehearsal. Like anyone else, kids need a time to let their hair down.