In a choral TPRS reading class, the teacher is like the conductor of an orchestra. Three things occur:
1. No players (readers) can have side conversations when the music is being played in rehearsal, no more than a couple of cellists in the back row of an orchestra can get away with talking while the music is being rehearsed. The musicians owe it to the conductor and to the orchestra to not do that. Why should it be any different in a choral TPRS reading class?
2. The stronger players (readers) carry the weaker players, much like the first chair violinist pulls the weaker players behind her through the more difficult passages in the music. Those weaker players, anyone who has ever played in an orchestra will tell you, are beholden to the section leader, and must be good followers of her lead, so that the section sounds good. This is as it has always been in learning – the weaker performers learn from and are carried by the stronger ones.
3. The conductor stops the music (the reading) from time to time to explain certain things, but the rehearsal time is spent mostly playing the music. This analogy vividly points out the huge differences that exist between teaching reading chorally and teaching grammar – if the conductor allowed music theory (grammar) to be discussed instead of the orchestra actually using the rehearsal time to actually play the music, then no music (language) would ever happen. Conductors would be fired because their orchestra, though capable of maybe explaining the dynamics, key signature and other theoretical aspects of the piece, wouldn’t actually be able to play it.