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The ML Wood Song School at Cathedral Isle of Man: open for business ‘unusual’

While a good number of colleagues have been furloughed and are unable to continue with chorister education, Cathedral Isle of Man Director of Music, Dr Peter Litman, has devised a way of continuing chorister development.

Through the use of digital technology, document sharing and video conferencing systems, Dr Litman teaches 3 sessions a week for choristers working towards their Light Blue, Dark Blue and Red RSCM Ribbons. These sessions consist of vocal work, rhythm exercises, interval recognition and sight singing examples, with bespoke material created each week based on the continuing assessment of the individual choristers in each level group. The pedagogy sessions end with study of the same piece of music across all ribbon levels, so that when the choir meet again after the lockdown, they have a base of new repertoire they can sing together.

In addition choristers can opt to attend a weekly ‘drop in’ social half hour conference where they can chat with each other under supervised conditions, aiding wellbeing and continuing a general esprit de corps. The choristers are voluntary, and attendance at the classes also is voluntary. Happily Dr Litman reports that he has seen 62.5% take up of the total choristers attending. Depending on the length of time the lockdown continues, Dr Litman hopes to develop an additional session for probationer training to ensure the recruitment of new children for the future. So, whilst the Cathedral doors might be closed, the choristers continue to sing on…