As a general rule, Choir members are taught a song from a Deaf perspective,
first learning the beat/rhythm with the teacher mouthing the words, and without any music playing. This is what seeing
someone sing a song for the first time is like for a Deaf person, especially one who has little or no concept of sound.
with a couple of additional simple teaching and learning tools, this process is repeated a few times to give students the
feel of the song/music, before moving onto the next stage of learning and appreciating the song.
to a belief still held in some sectors of the community, the teaching and learning of sign language, when practised appropriately,
can in fact enhance the speech of a child who is deaf, while NOT diminishing its quality or quantity of use.
teaching and learning via the Choir's methods, members learn to enunciate their words, opening their mouths more effectively
when they speak, to enhance the lip-reading potential of a Deaf person. Methods to demonstrate and teach appropriate
voice volume in conversations are also employed. In addition, as there are many common written words that have no sign attached
to them, students are encouraged during lessons to find a known sign that may best describe a word. This applies also to any
word that is unfamiliar to the students, for which they must search for a written meaning. Through this process, they not
only learn appropriate enunciation of words, appropriate voice volume levels for more effective communication, but
word meanings too, enriching their vocabulary.
Singleton High School formed
the latest section of the choir in 2006, with choir practice sessions incorporated into the school’s curriculum. Two of
the members in this group were Deaf and both used a particular mode of signing. As the Choir advocates an individual's
right to choose the mode of communication that best suits their needs, and is supportive of the various modes
of Deaf communication, the rest of the group were taught the songs using the signing mode of the two
Deaf members. Within only two practice sessions, this section of the Choir prepared a special presentation
for Il Divo, which was presented to the renowned international singing group when they met with the Choir Director on the
night of their performance with Barbra Streisand at her Washington D.C concert in October 2006. Only three of the students
had previously heard of Il Divo but none were familiar with their pop/classical style of music. So within
those two practice sessions, the students were challenged to start from scratch and learn two Il Divo songs, one in Italian
and the other in French. They accepted the challenge and by the end of the sessions were ready to perform and be videoed….mission
accomplished with an enormous sense of pride!
The first of our display sample videos, is a
combination of a small section of these two items. Enjoy!