We went to see our friends performing in the "Young Musicians of Virginia" choir concert on Tuesday night. So what can a child learn from watching other kids perform?
YMV is a homeschooling co-op that meets at the Kempsville Baptist Church. They meet two days a week for a full day of classes, and while they began as a way for homeschooled kids to participate in music ensembles like band and choir, they also have academic classes like algebra and Spanish and whatnot. You can visit their web site here.
Benny's friend Zoe sings in the K-2 choir, and her concert was on Tuesday night. We went to see her sing, to show our support, and to enjoy the music.
I think experiences like this are great practice for kids who are learning to sit still and pay attention to performances. It's long enough to challenge the wiggles, but short enough to avoid total wiggle outbreaks. It's also well populated with children, so if any wiggleage does erupt, there aren't horrific consequences, unlike the shouting of "I HAVE A BOOGER" during the adagio movement of some significant symphony at Chrysler Hall. We do take Benny to Chrysler Hall, but I also welcome the opportunity for him to sit still in less strenuous situations.
Also he loves Zoe and so do I, and his friendship with her is very important and wonderful for him, and he genuinely loved seeing her perform and cheering for her. It was very sweet to see them together after the performance, walking around hand in hand, with Zoe introducing him to her friends, and Benny congratulating the performers on their good job.
YMV is an amazing organization. I thought for a while that Benny could maybe be in one of their orchestras, which would give him more opportunities to play the violin in a group setting, but they don't start strings until the kids are 9 years old, and Benny's already started... it just wouldn't be a good fit. I suspected that it would be not a good fit in other ways, and that suspicion was confirmed on Tuesday.
All of those children in the K-2 choir, that is, children between five and seven years old, were silent and still for the entire 60 minute performance, as they sat on the risers at the front of the stage. Not one talked. Not one poked another one. Not one fell off the back. During their songs, they stood and sang obediently, everyone singing together, and then sat back down. Nobody started humming a different song, or twirling, or glaring open-mouthed at the spotlight. They were *SCARILY* perfect. I know I will thoroughly drive home my point to the moms in the audience when I say there was *no nose-picking*. I was so completely impressed with the teachers of this group of children. I can't imagine what kind of work and wonder goes into creating that kind of uniformly excellent behavior. I do know that Benny, in that environment, would be the giant glaring red alarm light in the middle of a thousand perfectly twinkling white bulbs.
I respect and admire the people at YMV, but I think I made the right decision not to try and make it work for us. We loved the concert though! Benny especially got into the carol sing at the end. It was wonderful watching Zoe perform, too. I'm so thankful that he is able to have such a good, close friend and that they can share so much together as they grow up.