Back with the little boys yesterday: a 5-year old with ants in his pants, 4 sixers, a 7, and a nice, calm 9 year old. They told me they were having a BLAST, XAN! not a good thing with kindergarten boys.
So the made-up Nutcracker number is "Royal Soldiers," just an invented number specifically to keep the boys all in one place, and it uses the Toy Soldiers music. So we're an army unit; hate to do that to children but they seem to be responding-- tennnnnnnn HUT! makes them stop and stand at attention (well, all but the 5 year old. A 2 by 4 upside the head would not get that child's attention). Saluting also seems to make them stand still, who knows why.
I asked them what the main thing was that a soldier does, to universal confusion.
They have no idea what a soldier does. huh.
I think this is a good thing. In my generation, you ask any 6 year old boy what a soldier does, and he would know: Shoots guns! Kills the bad guys! Wears a uniform! Marches! Nope. These kids had absolutely no idea. So, this generation of parents-- good on ya. A vague idea of heroes and uniforms, and saluting, but that was all they could think of.
Well, on the other hand, I sez to myself sez I, here's an opportunity. So I told them, "well, a soldier follows orders! Whatever the general says, he has to do. And I'm the general."
This worked brilliantly. Suddenly it was a game--follow orders.
They ran through the entire number several more times, and each time it tightened up a little more, until the final run-through was smooth, relatively mistake-free, and on the music.