Submitted by Carol Cantrell, North Carolina

Idea posted May 21, 2004

This isn't pretty, but it works like a charm. Every two or three numbers, I have the kids sit down. Sometimes it's after every number, depending on the program and the number of speaking parts. The chorus sits down for virtually every speaking part or small group. Just the break of sitting down and getting back up gives vulnerable kids a chance to regroup and get the blood flowing again. (Of course, there's the problem of getting the mouths flowing again, as well but we usually manage to hold it together fairly well. The music teacher stands there and glares at the offending members!) I have not had a child faint or get sick in years.

I talk to the class about standing up as if they are suspended from a cord through the top of their heads. When rising it MUST be HEAD FIRST or it will look awful. I discuss how they have to position themselves so they can use their powerful quadriceps (upper leg muscles!) to R-I-S-E smoothly. Then, I turn sideways and mime standing up rear end first. I stick my rear out as far as possible, and I rare back with my rear and then groan my way into a standing position. When they have recovered themselves, I say, "Now, was that anything YOU wanted to see???" (NO!) "Well, it looks just as good on me as it does on YOU. So, KINDLY, do whatEVER YOU have to do to stand up HEAD FIRST. Any questions?" (NO!)

Then we practice standing and sitting (silently) several times. I critique each time until the group looks good. Tasteful? Not hardly. Successful? Surprisingly so!