own hardest part. This was a surprise. Students chose parts to read out loud that I would not
have predicted would be hard for them. As a consequence, I questioned them, and they
summarized and clarified why they were hard. Diane said that the line she chose, “A ay lulee ay
da lushenkee lee!” was difficult because it was the one line that was not in English. Several other
students confirmed that they had difficulty with this text as well.
Next, we connected the melody to the text. Singers were directed to audiate the melody,
but to sing aloud what they thought was the hardest part. As a pre-step, they were asked to scan
the music and predict which line that would be. Students did not share their answers at this time
with me or with the rest of the choir. Instead, they were asked to confirm or summarize what
they found after the exercise was completed. The instructions continued, “If the whole piece is
hard, then sing the whole thing. If none of it is hard, then you won’t sing at all. But sing as fast
as you can. Then find a buddy near you and sing to your buddy the hardest part. After, switch,
and your buddy will sing his or her hardest part to you.” A discussion followed to clarify and to
summarize what the hardest parts were as there was no consensus. I asked, “What makes the
part hard?” Again, there was no consensus.
I then asked what strategy we should use to make “A ay lulee ay da lushenkee lee”
perfect. Travis suggested that not everyone was pronouncing the words the same. He predicted
that identical pronunciation would be the solution. I decided that it should be ayee not eye.
I asked the singers to take a pencil and circle the hardest dynamic. This required students
to make connections and value judgments. I asked for clarification, “Is there anything anyone
needs to hear, if so Ryan [the accompanist] will play it.” Again, it was “Ay loo lee.”
Questioning followed. What makes that hard? What is the difficult interval? Rickey offered that
the intervals of a second were challenging. The choir sang from the beginning and missed the