I am in my third year of teaching and teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade chorus. I have 160 students in my combined 7th and 8th grade chorus and 72 in my 6th grade chorus. I see them in small groups over a three day rotation and we meet full group once a week (if we’re lucky) for a half hour at the end of the school day. Our concerts are the first week of May and with PSSAs we won’t have the opportunity to meet full group for the next three weeks. (Which leaves two days before the concert).
I find that before concert time I tend to become very strict with my students which can lead to stressful, not so fun, classes for all of us. I know it is a necessary evil in order to shape them up and become performance ready but I don’t want the drill/practice along with my ‘nagging’ to kill the fun and enjoyment of being a chorus member before concert time.
I am looking for advice on how to buckle down without killing the mood. How do I get students to be serious about memorizing their songs and practicing for performance (performance quality) without losing all of the fun/positive vibes? Any good practices out there? What do you like to do?