Why do we do things differently now?
In the past, sopranos had to stand on the left; now they stand on the right. In the past, repetitions began at seven o’clock; now they begin at seven-thirty. In the past, you could get a drink before you sang; now you can only get one afterwards. These are all changes that seem easy for adults to make: you make a new arrangement, you stick to it and everything runs like clockwork. But this is not so simple for children and youngsters. The areas of the brain that are activated when they are asked to show flexibility still have to be developed or do not yet work together perfectly. This explains why children and youngsters understand the need for change and can even approve of it, but are not always able to deal with it in practice. This causes adult to raise their eyebrows in puzzlement and sometimes even to lose their patience. ‘If you know what’s needed, why don’t you do it?’ they ask. All the young members in the choir stand at a different point in their physical and psychological development. Our desire for greater flexibility therefore implicitly includes an understanding that our young singers will need time to learn this flexibility. This means that they need to be allowed to get things wrong once in a while, even when you thought they had finally mastered it. Taking small steps forward, and occasionally a step or two backwards, is an inherent part of growth and development.