The weekly Friday Concert determined by the educational calendar, which used to be called Media Friday, has its unique place among the author creative programs of the EduComplex. Years ago, it had a different purpose: a group of students, teachers presented their achievements in the media world: new programs learned, materials created with these programs, educational packages, etc.
In the course of time, Media Friday was transformed, changed its image and became a concert of the EduComplex, a weekly holiday. In accordance with the requirements of the educational calendar, the annual program of Friday Concerts is drawn up, and responsible persons are appointed. Those responsible for Friday Concerts are different: music or dance groups, groups of teachers and students, guest musicians, actors, etc. The calendar is compiled in such a way that every school in the educational complex becomes responsible for its organization at least twice a year. Here you are faced with the most difficult pedagogical problem: how to make all the students of the largest and, based on the age of the students, the most stubborn Middle School of the educational complex, participate in that concert?
There are 665 girls and boys aged 11 to 14 in middle school. 665 students who are different, unique, original, with their own taste, their own interests, their own daily life, and it is difficult to draw their attention to one common idea, to unite them with one common behavior. To find ways to overcome that difficulty, we look for different approaches, use various pedagogical tricks and methods. Sometimes these approaches work, sometimes they fail. We cannot impose and we do not want to impose, otherwise it would be the biggest failure.
To solve the problem, we had long discussions with the organizers, music and dance teachers. It was necessary to find such a program and format that would make almost everyone participate with enthusiasm. The song list and dance list were not to be deviated too much from the program approaches and requirements, but the preferences and wishes of the students had to be taken into account as well.
And the way out was found. It was decided to organize the Friday Concert in the format of a large general education choir. It is clear that it was not an easy task, it is clear that the organization required effort and energy, but after two or three joint attempts it became clear that we were on the right track. The big choir format allows everyone to be fully involved, not to be constrained, not to be embarrassed.
And the inferiority complexes also vanish because when you see everyone singing, you join in too. You become everyone, everyone unites and sings and dances as one person.
We have been using this successful experience for two years. I must mention that the preparation stage is no less exciting and difficult than the concert itself. Deciding on clothes, deciding on places to stand in the Marble Hall, deciding on the list of songs. According to tradition, the list of songs includes Armenian ritual songs, Armenian pop songs, and songs in foreign languages.
The whole process of teaching singing becomes an educational activity. Foreign language teachers teach these songs in their classes, students learn the words of the song, their meaning, explanations. The content of Armenian songs is discussed in native language classes. In the repertoire of the general education choir, there are also joint oral readings of poems, which is also a result of educational activities. Dance songs and national dances are also included.
Rehearsing is an important stage in preparing for the Friday Concert. It requires a special effort, because it is necessary that we should organize properly so that at the scheduled time all the students quickly gather in the Marble Hall, stand in their places, be quiet, disciplined, and involved in the process.
Thanks to the organizers and musicians, everything is organized quickly. Convenient hours and days for the rehearsals are determined. These hours and days are entered in the calendar, and the students are informed in advance. First, all 6th graders, then all 7th graders, then all 8th graders participate in the rehearsals. When everyone gets to know their places and positions, they know who will stand next to whom, and they know all the songs and reading materials by heart, it’s time for joint rehearsals. I must mention that enthusiasm is great and the result is already visible even during rehearsals. From the first sounds, everyone gets serious, involves in the process, understands their importance.
Such organization of Friday Concerts gives the whole school the opportunity to participate. Even those students who, for various reasons, cannot participate in the performance on that day, are included in the rehearsals, and learn the songs and dances together with everyone else. Preparing for the Friday Concert becomes a common idea, a common task.
Translator: Yura Ganjalyan