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Viola! Taunggyi’s Got Talent

The staging of the Annual Singing Contest was today, August 25, 2017; the venue was ILBC Taunggyi branch’s multi-purpose area. This festive event took place from 9AM to 11:45PM – two hours and forty-five
minutes of vocal excellence and superb entertainment.The Singing Contest was coordinated by the dynamic new music teacher at ILBC Taunggyi, Ms Naw Lah May Paw. In her brief tenure here (3 months) Ms Paw has impressed everyone: students and her teaching colleagues’ alike, with her tireless energy and high caliber musical talent. She has an effervescent demeanor and is a work-aholic. Ms Paw has been ably assisted by her co-teacher Mr Khun Yo Say. Both
volunteered many extra hours on top of their full teaching schedule to assist, rehearse and guide the fifty students who participated in this logistically elaborate talent show. Yes, fifty students! That’s nearly
half of the entire student population at the Taunggyi branch; an amazingly high percentage of young learners were performers. Darn talented performers. They ranged from kindergarteners (5 year olds) to
Secondary 4 (16 years old). The songfest was divided into three sections: the Lower Primary group
of young vocalists who each sang solo, the Middle Primary group which gave spirited solo renditions of contemporary show-tunes and the Upper Primary/Secondary group which all sang duets. The material covered a wide spectrum of tunes and styles: everything from traditional ditties based of nursery rhymes (I’m A Little Teapot) to modern-day hit Pop songs (One Direction’s Drag Me Down and Katy Perry’s Roar). This event was significant in a number of ways, not merely as showcase for the students to strut-their-stuff. Another aspect that is significant educationally is that the act of singing is a highly effective method to hone the students’ pronunciation and improve their
speaking skills. One difficulty I’ve noticed in the six countries I’ve taught in over the last 35 years is that non-native English speakers have trouble with the cadences of English. The rather lethargic nature of English’s spoken rhythms appear tricky to get hold of. My experience is that non-native speakers usually pronounce the
individual words OK, but have problems stringing them together in native speaker cadences. What happens is that when conversing in sentences the English words are given a local language spin: the
rhythms take on the more staccato beat of the local language. Viola! Singing rectifies that cadence issue in a fun way. The act of vocalizing the English language songs pretty much forces the student performers to maintain the tempo inherent in the phrasing. Ergo, acquiring native speaker rhythms in the phrasing which
ultimately helps them incorporate those elusive cadences into their spoken communication, resulting in enhanced spoken facility. Additionally this songfest was the muse that instilled self confidence and poise in the participants. Those little troopers displayed ample self assurance performing in front of the audience of peers, teachers and parents. They overcame the inevitable “butterflies-in-stomach” stage fright and gave polished interpretations of their material. ILBC doesn’t merely guide the students academically but also
psychologically; implanting a sense of self worth in the young learners. Bravo to the talented students and the dedicated teacher guides!
Taunggyi’s Got Talent!!!!