Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grade School Musicals

I used to be ashamed to admit that I found it very hard to sit through the musicals put up by kids of any grade at J's school. It is an ordeal with few peers specially when being expected as a parent to cheer the kids for their efforts. Be it a kindergarten performance or one by the fifth graders, the results are always below par. Even with J performing, I find it impossible to work up any enthusiasm about the whole thing and long to get it over with and head home. I have shared with much trepidation how I felt about these things with other parents. Most have pointed out that I should scale down my expectations because this is no professional performance - the kids and the music instructor do the best they can given the time and resources they have available. Interestingly enough talent is not mentioned at all.

While I am not expecting a Broadway Kids experience, I would love for the children to be able to hold a tune, keep beat and show some signs of life while on stage. Clearly, that is quite a ways away from a 'professional performance" and yet it is too much to ask for. Reading this
old article published in Washington Post about this topic gave me some new insights. I don't know anything about the quality of music produced by high-schoolers and am willing to believe that it is a lot better than what I have seen at the elementary school across the street.

The author is absolutely right about the blandness of the music the kids sing and play. I have tried to look up that stuff on You Tube and never found it. In this day and age, that is quite a feat for a piece of published music. The schools must scrape the bottom of the barrel with great deliberation to select these compositions. Maybe that also explains the lackluster attitude of the performers - it is just not the kind of music that they enjoy performing.

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