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Mid-year doldrums

I have become pretty good at starting out the year with good momentum, and this naturally follows through to the holiday concert season with our various caroling opportunities, etc. But I've noticed that during the lull after winter break, some of my students seem to be a little burned out on choir, and the overall level of enthusiasm wanes until our spring trip, and the preparations for the year-end pops concert start to pick up steam. Ultimately, I have learned how to lead my students to an emotionally powerful conclusion of their year in choir. Our final concert is always a river of tears! But I'm not sure how to keep the fire burning through the middle part of the year. And that's problematic for me because that is when they turn in their elective choices for the following year. We're doing pretty well about retaining and recruiting students, and the program has grown every year I've been here. But I always do lose a small number of valuable students in the winter, who often end up changing their minds at the end of the year when they decide that they just can't do without being in choir. Sometimes their original decision not to enroll in choir again is based on all of the senior friends who are graduating. I can't do much about that, but I can't help but wonder if January and February were as fun and as rewarding as December or May, they wouldn't think of taking a different elective.
So, long story short, I'm wondering if the level of interest and energy of your students also tends to wane in the middle part of the year. And if so, what do you do about it to keep them motivated and excited to be in choir during these times?
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on December 17, 2013 10:29am
I LOVE all of the above ideas. In fact, I am going to use some of those in my classroom. I also do a lot of "Ice Breaker" activities because I am really big on my students being a "community" while in choir. Another idea is to maybe plan a concert in late February or early March. That way the kids have a short term goal to work for and then another short term goal to work towards for the May performance(or whenever you have your spring concert.) This gives them quite a bit of repoertoire to work on that way, they don't get board by going over the same pieces for months on end. Maybe plan a trip, either a big trip or small trip, that will get the kids out and performing and something to look forward to. On top of my performances in the Spring, I have about three or four trips planned so that my kids don't have time to get bored. Maybe once every two months or so, have a day where the kids don't rehearse. Just chill and talk about other things. Discuss their favorite types of music. Have a karaoke day or a singalong day every once in a while. 
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