Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Hello Mahler 8 Parents!

I just wanted to update you on this transformative project your kid has embarked on. We’ve had two high-power rehearsals already and are right on track.

Why Mahler Matters (for our kids)
This piece is enormous.  Not only will it be 90 minutes of musical intensity in the May concerts, but our rehearsals are 60 minutes of non-stop focus on lots of words (in Latin and German), lots of notes (both tuneful and “weird”), and lots of big ideas (both philosophical and theological.)  They are already practicing the patience is takes to learn something this vast and complex—the kind of patience I think will serve them well the rest of their lives.

When I took on this project, I knew I wanted it to be more than “learn your notes and then sit quietly and wait for your cue.”  I want them to engage with the whole piece—not just their excerpts—and I want them to engage with the layers of meaning and complex musical textures and ideas.  I want them to not just mimic the sounds of Latin and German, but actually understand the words they’re singing.  Most of all, I want them to have a deep understanding (as deep as kids their age can go, which is often surprising) of what Mahler was trying to say in this massive, enigmatic work.

Five Ways You Can Help
We’ll be providing excerpted recordings of the 10 “chunks” that the kids sing.  Encourage them to listen. The first two minutes is super exciting—you can always play that from any YouTube version.  It’s also great “wake-up” music in the morning.  ;) 

Make sure they’re seated on time.  No earlier than 6:15, but seated by 6:25. Remind them to check in with our rehearsal parent first, and use the bathroom.  They absolutely must have a sharp pencil.

Please be there at 7:30pm to pick them up.  We will finish promptly.

Help them take good care of their music packet.  It needs to stay in good shape until May.  Double check that it’s being treated with care, the staples aren’t pulling out, and the 3-ring holes are not ripping out.  Thanks for this.

Ask them questions.  They can already tell you a lot about this piece (and they are now proudly  among the 1% of Americans who can pronounce the name “Goethe.”).  Every week I have a little curriculum that helps them understand something new about either Part One (based on the medieval Latin text “Veni, Creator Spiritus”) or Part Two (the final scene from Goethe’sFaust.).  Having to explain something will help them understand it (or make them more curious themselves).

I’ll be sharing some notes along the way.  If you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts, email me any time!  

Thanks for your big commitment to this.  Your singer may not be expressing it now, but someday they’ll realize what you are giving them, by making it possible to be part of this amazing experience.

Randy Swiggum

P.S. The wifi password at MCC is Guest@MCC. (Thanks for reading to the end!)