Submitted by Pamela Rezach, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Idea posted January 3, 2002

My students know that talent isn't the only thing that gets them the part. I tend to focus upon stage presentation rather than full-fledged talent. Here's what I do to prevent those who might have a bit too much confidence to think no one else has a chance.

I write any solo singing part on the board. Then, I have each child who is interested sing a solo (usually a phrase from one of the songs or a song of their choice). For what am I searching? Good, uplifting body language; personality; nice singing, but not necessarily the best singing. I also take into consideration whether the student has shown responsibility throughout the school year(s).

I assign each student a number and then write each number on a piece of paper. After each student sings his/her tryout, I put an X over his/her name if s/he fails to meet the expectations. Then, I cut out all the numbers that don't have an X over them, place them in a box, and we begin drawing the numbers. The first number that is pulled gets the first part written on the board, the second person gets the second part, etc. This has been a very positive way to try out students. Everyone knows that they must be willing to try and that if s/he gets a part, it's partly based upon chance.

In the 14 years I've taught elementary music, I've never had one angry parent or insulted student because of the fact that tryouts are based upon the willingness to try and a chance of the draw. By the way, I don't put every number in the box, but no one knows whose number gets pulled. That's between me and God. And it's strange, because the students have never questioned that.