January is a new beginning for you as a choral director! If you need to gain more discipline in your choir, try this. I’ve used this technique for years with my middle school choirs to get them more focused. It works every time!
This is a podcast, click HERE to listen!
The focused hallway technique
- Start by greeting your students in the hallway as they arrive. (Do not let them in the room.)
- Have them arrange themselves from tallest to shortest as a whole choir, or in their voice parts, without speaking to each other. Backs should be to the wall. Use as much of the hallway as needed.
- Put on some music and have them file into the room silently, hands behind their backs and smiling. Get them used to entering the room in an orderly fashion and respecting your space.
- Put them in rows/chairs based on the number of students. This doesn’t have to be permanent. Just show you have a plan.
- If anyone doesn’t comply THE WHOLE CLASS must go back out to the hall and do it again.
- Once settled begin warm-ups but accept NOTHING LESS than the ambient noise of the fan in the room when you’re not singing. This may be painful for you, but it works.
- Praise them by thanking them aloud for their cooperation ONLY if the rehearsal goes smoothly. Middle school kids crave structure!
- Announcements can be pre-written on the board, discussed at the end, or distributed electronically.
Start each rehearsal with the choir focused and accept nothing less. You’re doing their little anxious brains a favor.
You can always do this if you need to “hit the reset button” on discipline in the classroom.
Pro tip: Don’t single out a student in front of their peers. Just politely say “I’d like to speak with you after class.”