The Student News Site of Marion High School

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The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

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An unexpected evaluation for singers

Kasi Rupert @kasibellerupert [Staff Writer]

In most classes, students are tested on information from lessons they learned in class over time. Choir or music classes are usually not known as one of the many in this category. Many people look at choir as an “easy A,” or just a silly elective. However, Jonathan Dyrland, vocal music teacher and director at Marion High School, always aims to change this old stereotype.

Usually, Dyrland grades students based on their attendance and effort. He doesn’t really like this method. “I think music class should be about what you know, not just attendance in class and at concerts,” Dyrland voiced. Also, with 135 students in class daily, it’s difficult to keep track of everyone. Dyrland claimed, “There’s only one of me, so the student-teacher ratio is bad, and it’s difficult because of the wide range of abilities in the group.” He does appreciate that so many students wanted to be in choir, though. “It’s great that more students want a musical education, and we can do music we couldn’t do before,” Dyrland beamed.

One way that Dyrland has tried to assess the students is through individual lessons with him during the school day. Students have the opportunity to sign up for these lessons at any time outside of his office. They used to be required, but after so many students weren’t doing them, he had to take back this requirement. Lessons also aren’t ideal for instruction. Dyrland explained, “There’s really not enough time. You can’t fit in much quality instruction in fifteen minutes.” Additionally, many students have problems with doing lessons. “They’re usually worried about missing class, or nervous about what I will say. Singing is a very personal thing,” expressed Dyrland.

His solution to the grading and evaluation portion of choir is forming small groups and having them sing songs that they rehearsed for a few weeks in choir in front of him. There are ups and downs to this method. “It takes too much time, and with 135 people, they would have to sing for about 1 minute each. And even then, it would take the entire block, and then I’d have to input grades,” Dyrland mentioned. Although, this idea would benefit the choir as a whole. “Lessons are not as effective. I’m not going to ask people to sing solos at a concert, and most people just don’t have the confidence to sing by themselves,” he defended.

Dyrland has had big plans for the choir since he started working at Marion High. This teaching method is just one of the things he intends to follow through with. He believes choir is a fun class to be in. “Choir is a place where, on a daily basis, you get creative. You get the opportunity to create art with other people that enjoy doing it too! I think every student needs a creative outlet in their day,” Dyrland advocated.

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  • F

    FergDec 12, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Kasi – well-developed and well-written piece. Good topic choice – a good look at the class that is Choir, a class that has many misconceptions about it that you discuss.

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