Our musical instrument is formed by people, adults or children. If we conduct a children's choir we should know what they are able to do, how do they think, what do they expect. I believe that children love challenge. They like to be challenged and prove that they can do better than they did before. Challenge is the best motivation. When rehearsing a song, make three of them sing in front of the others, and then ask the others how did their companions do. By doing this we are working on their artistic courage when they have to defend their work in front of the choir. We also help to develop their sense of critic when their team-mates have to speak about what they listened, and to do it properly, based on positive comments.
I also believe children deserve to be informed. This means that when we need to repeat a music fragment we should tell them why are we making them sing it again. Tell them what has to be improved. We also should tell them why do we want to sing this or that song. For example: "we will learn this because is written in another language and is good and interesting for choirs to sing in different languages", or "we will sing this song because the message is beautiful" or "....because it has a complex rythm that I am sure we can accomplish this with success"or "....it belongs to a folk theme of another country" or " ....beacuse themusical language is totally different from what we have done", etc. This practice will also help us to choose a repertoire because will make us think in the purpose of our selections.
Finally, in my writings of today, I would like to add that I believe children love to laugh. Let´s make them enjoy the rehearsal with some surprising comments that could make them happy, some improvised jokes about something that happened in the moment. Local funny comments that can make them be aware of the things that are going on in the rehearsal so they lose if they don't follow up.This is not only to make them happy but also to be attentive.Remember that the conductor should be creative and if working with children, also needs to be quick minded. So, surprise them with an unexpected comment that can help catch their attention in those moments where some would be distracted. They will trust in you a lot more if you get to understand their humor.