A couple weeks ago, I gave a singing test in choir; these days, technology makes it easy. I simply have my kids sing together and record themselves on smart phones. A quick email to me, and I can grade them at my own leisure.
I have a new girl this semester. She's a senior, and has never been in a choir before--ever. From day one, it was obvious that she needs a little more clarification than others, and to everyone's credit, they've accepted her with kindness and a helpful spirit. She worries about getting this singing thing just right.
When I graded that first singing test, I was delighted to find that she'd started to find some confidence in her voice in the short couple of weeks we'd been in session. She's by no means my strongest singer; I have kids who have been singing for years and know exactly what they're doing. But she is working hard, and it's showing in a lot of ways. She's on the pitch. She has the rhythms. She's getting the hang of breathing and supporting and singing with good tone.
The next day, I pulled her aside at the end of class, and asked her to come into my office. She followed me in, looking nervous. I told her, "I was listening to the singing tests yesterday."
A slightly panicked look crossed her face. "Oh..."
"I was really impressed with how far you're coming along. It sounded really good, hon. I can tell you're working hard, and I'm proud of you."
I'll never forget her smile. She beamed at me. "Thank you!!"
"You're welcome!" The bell rang, and she left for lunch, and I know she felt really good because of one comment.