This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Terry Barham, editor email@example.com or tbarham@sunﬂower.com
Welcome to ACDA’s online magazine for choral director/music educators who are searching for answers and need fresh ideas or techniques to meet practical needs. The articles below have been gleaned from state and division ACDA newsletters around the United States and submissions from seasoned choral directors with topics germane to the profession. ChorTeach, our name, is derived from the German word for chorus, chor. It is pronounced, as most of you know, like the word, core. I hope ChorTeach’s articles will be a breath of fresh air for you, provide you with a few ideas or techniques that give you a lift and help your singers reach the goals you and they have set. ChorTeach is designed for those of you who work with amateur singers at all levels. What’s in this issue? 1) Preparing High School Musicals—A Beginning by Jacob Narverud 2) Educating Contemporary Audiences—Times Have Changed by Scott Buchanan 3) Preparing High School Singers for College/University Auditions by MB Krueger 4) Using Tuning Forks to Empower Your Church Choir—Excellence at the Basics by Julie Ford 5) To Jazz or Not to Jazz by James McCullough
The following ideas can help you get started. ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 Using all available resources. and stay organized. Choreographer. Stage Crew. Stage Manager (local college student?) • Set Builder. music ﬁts student abilities • Lead roles and music difﬁculty.. Will the drama department at the school be involved? Collaboration can be a good thing—very helpful to you. work to understand culturally what was happening in the particular culture and the world at that time. tessituras of lines • Have students in mind as leads • Can the singers act and the actors sing • Community members sing in the chorus Research Research the musical thoroughly. varsity sports. University of Missouri-Kansas City (Used with permission of the author) Directing a musical in high school can be rewarding. etc. Music Director/Conductor. every other year • Appropriate show for your students—content. consult the other people involved in the production. Develop an artistic vision for the show.acda. you can successfully direct a high school musical. Know your budget. the Music Director.Preparing High School Musicals—A Beginning by Jacob Narverud. plan carefully.The ﬁnished product is worth the enormous energy and work required. Budget • Work with the school administration months ahead of time • Each school district has its own procedures for requesting money for projects • Choose a show that ﬁts your budget • Do not assume that ticket sales will be part of the overall budget • Student/parent fundraising to help support the show? Staff Needs • Accompanist. Sound Designer.Your students will beneﬁt and grow from their participation in all phases of the production. Costume Designer. academic classes. ﬁnd out how other directors and high schools have staged your choice and. if the show is a period piece. Choosing the Show • How often are performances—every year. Check for availability and order the materials well in advance of ﬁrst rehearsals. Lighting Director. Props manager • Hair and Makeup. if you begin thinking about the show many months ahead of time. do your research. Plan how you would stage the production. however. Navigating students' schedules. can be highly stressful.org/publications . Director www. If it’s your ﬁrst musical. and frustrating all at the same time. you may feel overwhelmed. language. challenging.
other staff • Consult the principal often as the show progresses Rehearsal Space • Get permission from appropriate teachers/administrators • Tape or spike the ﬂoor with stage dimensions and outline of sets • music room • gym • commons area • community center Rehearsals • When to rehearse • How often • After school: 3–6 pm evenings: 6:30–9:30 pm • How many days a week • Six. the ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 stage manager can prompt them as needed. Friday afternoons are best! • Dealing with divas and parents Performance Space • Get to know the janitors • Auditorium • Cafetorium • Gym • Community center www. Auditions • Approach the process professionally and with a positive attitude • Sign-up sheet should include what’s required • Email or send letters announcing auditions to parents • Get the word out. Actors should be “off book” after three weeks of rehearsal.org/publications . not just those musically involved. community members.ChorTeach page 2 Collaboration • School administration should know about your plans from the earliest stages of planning • Consider becoming the Producer if you have the time and skills • Ask for help from students. however. booster club. Rehearsal schedules must include days off. Check the school calendar for other possible conﬂicts. I believe even high school actors need to know their lines by this time.to eight-week time span—total time on show • Music rehearsals once a week? Create a six-eight week rehearsal schedule.acda. are welcome to audition • Open or closed auditions • Prepared monologues? • Prepared musical piece or one song from the show • Have students bring a headshot and résumé to practice for future auditions • 16 bars or a complete song • Dancing included in audition • Who will accompany auditions • Callbacks: duets. leads. All students. costumes ﬁttings and tech rehearsals and take into account other activities and homework load of the students in the production. parents. If actors need prompting at this time. song selections • Posting the cast list—leave the place quickly.
shop class. • Transposing scores—learn transposing instruments • Read orchestra parts—mark phrasing. bass) • Distribute scores and a list of all orchestra “cuts and notes” weeks before the ﬁrst rehearsal • How often to rehearse • Efﬁcient use of rehearsal time. Don’t waste it. • Dialogue cues • Style and interpretation—listen to other shows by the composer—study the libretto thoroughly • Have a daily schedule for studying the score months ahead of time Orchestrations and Arrangements • Water down some parts? 8-part harmony to 2. drama department. Make sure the schedule is set well in advance • When to pay the musicians—opening night is typical • Contracts for professionals—$25 an hour is the standard rate in Kansas City area as of 2011 Studying the Score • Instrumentation and availability of parts—know this before picking the show • Traditional or “modern” orchestra • Assigning vocal parts before or during rehearsal—“water down” vocal parts? • Tempos and fermatas—practice your conducting gestures • Highlighting/color coding—bring the score to life red = forte. etc. transpose music.ChorTeach page 3 Designing and Building Sets • Keep them simple • Less is more • Involve staff. audition • Local college students—paid musicians or for class credit or internship • Hire professionals? Most important is the rhythm section (piano.acda. changes • Photo-copying scores Costumes • Making costumes? Who does this huge job—timeline for completion • Renting/borrowing/purchasing • Contact colleagues who have directed shows for advice months ahead of time ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 www. etc. drums. light blue = piano.org/publications .or 3-part harmony—what is important musically? • Become familiar with either Sibelius or Finale software to rewrite parts. • Know exactly what you want musically before the ﬁrst rehearsal • Communication is the key. parents • Rent the set and a few backdrops? • Get cast members and set crew involved • Build camaraderie and develop a sense of ownership and accomplishment • Have a schedule • Have fun in the process • Provide surprise treats Pit Orchestra • Use piano if orchestra isn’t possible • High school students—top notch players only.
Be ﬁrm about deadlines and possible consequences if people don't follow through. budget requirements • Number of performances—young voices have limits • Matinee—young voices have limits ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 www. including off-book dates • Conﬂicts and scheduling—Stage Manager handles? • Dealing with absent students/re-casting issues—clear with principal ﬁrst • Times for rehearsals—wareness of sports and organization conﬂicts • Music rehearsals • Use of time/efﬁciency in rehearsals—only call who needs to be there • Be as speciﬁc as possible during rehearsals—don’t wait to ﬁx things later • Sitzprobe—cast sings through score with orchestra • Blocking/staging—know exact staging/blocking in advance • Which approach: educational (a learning process) or professional or both • Explain stage terms—stage left. upstage. local newspapers. its importance • Pass out production calendar and scene/character breakdown—explain in detail • Share list of learning/listening resources for cast: websites. local radio and/or TV stations.org/publications . seating (numbered?). arts council • Have cast and crew T-shirts Programs • Cover design – a crew member. videos. at the door—both • Cost per person. how much? Appropriate for show? What happened to the strong singing with which we started! Give the cast notes after each rehearsal. DVD. Members should write them down.ChorTeach page 4 First Read-through with Cast • Ice breaker and improvisation games • Read script in a circle—talk about character development • Find the natural ﬂow and feeling of the cast • Help students “act” by relating their character to themselves and their personal experiences • Sing a few musical numbers or play Broadway cast recording • Explain expectations and policies • Talk about commitment. art class • Cast and crew bios/pictures • Director’s notes about the show • Business sponsors • Professional look Ticket Sales • In advance. Cover speciﬁc items that need work for the next rehearsal. Advertising • Use a variety of means: posters. teasers for nursing homes.acda. stage right. CD recordings Rehearsal Process • Production calendar—very speciﬁc. schools. downstage • Explain how to mark musical terms and blocking in scores and scripts • Choreography when.
and sponsors/supporters Suggested Resources Music Theatre International http://www. 2009.com Broadway Junior http://www. They will be superb in this performance.miracleor2. must help • Have a party for cast and crew after the strike – clear it with the principal • Erase all music marks in all scores • Mail scores back to the company ASAP • Write thank you notes or letters to administration. Students need to hear from you. get over them. props.com Balk. 1977. move on • Pizza and pop make everyone happy • Explain what “call time” means—allow plenty of time for makeup and warm-ups • If you have a competent stage manager. Theatre Games: A New Approach to Drama Training. let her take over during techs • Rehearse what needs rehearsing—run what is already in good shape • Everyone must have adequate sleep/rest to function well—never forget that musicals are an extracurricular activity • Stop on time • Have high expectations but don’t overwhelm the students Dress Rehearsals/Full Run-throughs • Get out of the way—let the show happen • Fix only what needs ﬁxing • Focus on the orchestra and the big picture • Practice the routine of the show—costuming. Barker. etc. but too many moms are not good for the production Use dress rehearsals to make costume adjustments. vocal warm-ups.broadwayjr. H. London: A. dialogue. make corrections. They are ready for this moment.. After choreographers and directors leave a show in professional theatre. Opening Night Deliver an opening night speech to your cast an hour before show time. parents. It's your time to ﬁx things before the show opens. Strike • Everyone. & C. Clive.ChorTeach page 5 Tech Rehearsals • Know your place—stay calm • Help students remain calm • Be as efﬁcient as possible—know exactly what you want to accomplish • Some things are going to go wrong—be ready.mtishows.acda. Ltd.org/publications . The Music Director takes care of the musical aspects. www. Black Publishers. cast and crew.They need reassurance. You are proud of the work they have done. costumes. staff. The Stage Manager maintains everything else: blocking. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. physical and group warm-ups • Makeup considerations—students purchase kits or provide their own general makeup • Backstage helpers—moms love to help.com Miracle or 2 Productions http://www. the stage manager and music director “maintain” the show. the director. Wesley. fully integrate props into the production and make needed changes ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 in blocking or sets. Dress rehearsal is for getting the timing of your production just right. The Complete Singer-Actor:Training for Music Theater.
list of rules concerning appropriate behavior at school concerts. Cell phones were going off. Men wore. People ing Night. New York: Watson-Guptill ACDA concerts were special. They were respectful. Taylor. David. As usual. by but not cerebral. simply have not learned proper concert etiquette. I had the opportunity to visit there while conton: Allyn and Bacon. Little kids were screaming and yelling while running up and down the bleachers. tions. 2004. but not raucous. Play Directing: Analysis. my ensembles to achieve the excellence that lies within them. but not stuffy.ChorTeach page 6 Hodge. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers. 1958. experienced. 3 Spring 2011) Here is a short list of things I believe we choral conductors can do to help educate our audiences and make everyone’s concert experience more pleasant. rural town. My ﬁrst teaching position was at a large high school in Florida. there was something else nagging at me the entire Communication and Style. Guide to Arts Management. BosEarlier this year. Practical. and Fun on highway 63… On went the light bulb and I had my answer. I —Anonymous am acutely aware that some aspects of this problem are cultural. put my ﬁnger on what was bugging me. How to Run a Theatre: A Witty. 2005. It doesn’t matter the size of the school or its location. Bruce D. Vol 34 No. At the same time. were noisily walking in late. Directing The Play: From Selection to Openconcert. during the entire event. on my way back from yet of these ideas and have discovered that my students are asked another outstanding ACDA national conference. The Arts Equation: Forming a Vital Link between Beyond their artistic and aesthetic beauty. educational. Welker. For a few hours. regardless of location. New York: Watson-Guptill Publica. Boston: Pierson Education. drive home. I was also impelled to work harder and challenge Educating Contemporary Audiences— Times Have Changed ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 www. I struggled to Publications. fun. Francis. a variety of cowboy hats and baseball caps. however. I continue to use several I was driving home from Chicago. You cannot discover new oceans unless you lose sight Scenes like this have been happening too often in my experiof the shore ence. but I also know that many people. Jim. I was not comfortable standing in front of Scott Buchanan audiences at the beginning of each concert reciting a laundry Indiana State University (Used with permission of Central Division's Resound. kind.org/publications . Theatrical Direction:The Basic Techniques.. John Wray. I felt sorry for the students who were on stage because it seemed that very few in the audience were actually paying attention. and appreciative. polite. 1999. I vividly remember how taken aback I was on the night of the Young. I knew early on that folks who attended our programs were not accustomed to the atmosphere we were trying to create: sophisticated. speciﬁcally with the behavior of the audience. 1971. Inc. Parents and siblings were yelling at their family members on the risers as if they were at a rock concert. I was good questions about our programs by their family and friends upbeat and inspired by the fantastic musical performances I had at post-concert gatherings. ducting a choral festival hosted by the high school. and Michael McLain. the Chicago Performing Artists and Educators. Then…a road sign… Volz. That highway sign indicated an exit for a small.acda.It was the audiences.
or the Idol’s agent or recording engineer.org/publications . tight harmonies or rhythmic licks the audience could listen for. have an audience participation event. For example. • Listing composers’ names with birth/death dates is good. but others will accept the challenge and have fun as long as they don’t feel threatened or embarrassed. dress. Turn up the house lights and use the call-and-response approach to sing with solfege. or dressy pants. In order to make a good ﬁrst impression. Spring 2011) Where to go to college or university If you have a student who has decided to major in music. Men and women should ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 www. I am sure your creativity and imagination will lead you to other ways to educate your audience. but if you. host an informal session for audience members where you discuss the repertoire. men could wear a coat. Like anything else. You want your listeners to be informed and active rather than uncaring and passive. Politely state that if young children become noisy. The singer who wants to be the next American Idol. the more they can appreciate it. and a tie. if possible. having your students demonstrate important melodies. Women might wear a skirt. or better yet your students. it is a good idea for the student to be dressed appropriately. Teach people the Curwen hand signs and challenge them to sight sing a simple melody from your signing. He will likely pursue a Bachelor of Music degree. and/or music business. help her deﬁne her goals and choose a program that will help her reach those goals. Denver. must we change the foot? —Gloria Steinem Preparing High School Singers for College/University Auditions by MB Krueger Metropolitan State College. What to expect from a typical audition Most auditions begin with introductions between the faculty panel and the student. recording technology. parents are encouraged to take them to the auditorium lobby or any other place that is appropriate.You might even include information on the National Standards for music and how each work relates to the musicianship skills you are teaching. people might be more inclined to listen carefully when you program a Bach fugue. should look for a Bachelor of Arts program specializing in commercial music. 2. and other electronic devices. the more your audience knows about the basics of the music. No. Colorado (Reprinted with permission of Colorado's RE:View. • During a concert.ChorTeach page 7 • Somewhere on the printed program. She will most likely pursue a Bachelor of Music Education degree. If the shoe doesn't ﬁt. a student wanting to become a high school choir director should look for a college or university with a strong music education program. Teach a canon. Vol 28.This could include translations of foreign language texts. or explaining why you chose a certain work. pagers. The budding opera singer or composer will be drawn to a program with excellent studio teachers and performing opportunities in his area of interest. Some will resist. • Create program notes that are educational in nature and which provide something speciﬁc to listen for in each work.acda. ask listeners to turn off cell phones. demonstrate the basics of a fugue for an audience. • 15-30 minutes before the concert begins. And your efforts to teach appropriate audience behavior will be rewarded.
Other schools may require the student to furnish her own accompanist. may be allowed. Just do it.org/publications . No faculty member is comfortable hearing a 17-year-old attempt Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria. Most audition committees would rather hear something simple and well-prepared rather than complicated but sloppily presented.The faculty wants the singer to sight read while standing on one foot? Why not? Faculty panels have speciﬁc reasons for their requests. rather than live accompaniment. A student seeking a degree in musical theatre should sing music from the musical theatre repertoire. additional questions and information. recordings of the music. and even take a written test. vocal exercises and/or aural testing. So the panel wishes to hear a siren on an [i] vowel? Sure. Accompanists Some colleges and universities provide an accompanist for auditions and expect the student to bring a second copy of the music. sight singing. Remind your students to read the college’s audition guidelines carefully weeks before the audition date. identify intervals if asked. my skin crawls when a bright young singer comes to an audition and proudly states: “I learned this song yesterday. For instance. no matter how unusual the request. It is in the student’s best interest to do what is asked. but this situation is rare. In general. respectful and able to introduce himself and articulate what he hopes to study is generally more interesting to the panel. Remind your students that slow and steady wins the race when sight singing. it is consistent learning and reinforcing of basic musicianship skills that will be on display in an audition setting. Using a pitch reading system such as solfege. but the effect is to make the panel they did not take the audition seriously enough to prepare thoroughly.They need your guidance.” Students may think the faculty panel will be impressed with the fact that their musical skills are so strong they can learn a new work overnight. and possibly a theory placement test.acda. auditions may include—not necessarily in this order—performance of a prepared song. Following the introductions. Students should be prepared to sight sing. A student who is friendly.The best help you. Some will require it. as their teacher. Although tutoring and cramming before an audition can be of help. not ability to fake a song. In some cases. I would prefer hearing something the student has sung for months because I want to hear musicianship. Entering the audition room with an excuse is not a good idea. Choosing appropriate repertoire Many talented students have not studied voice privately and have little experience choosing repertoire for an audition. Sight Reading skills Most college auditions require auditionees to exhibit their current knowledge and practice of music theory in some form or other. singing rhythms ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 correctly and choosing a steady tempo at which the student is able to accurately read the rhythms are of primary importance. I believe the ability to identify key signatures is vital. thereby displaywww. numbers. An operatic aria may be a good choice for a music performance audition but not if it is beyond the student’s vocal maturity—as much operatic literature is.To perform one of the 26 Italian arias would not be an appropriate choice. or intervals shows the panel that there is a degree of understanding behind a student’s sight singing attempts. Encourage your students to be conﬁdent and accurate in their memorization. A jazz standard or pop tune is not appropriate for a music education degree seeker but would be a good choice for a commercial music audition. Maintaining a positive attitude Encourage your students to try whatever is asked of them.ChorTeach page 8 wear dress shoes that are comfortable for standing and singing without affecting posture. Being prepared Most college music programs suggest that audition repertoire be memorized. can give is to continually reinforce musical skills in your classes and ensembles. Tailoring the choice of repertoire to the audition situation is extremely important.
I designated about one of every ﬁve people—some men. Each interval should become as familiar as an old friend so we can create and recognize ﬁnely-tuned musical moments and strive for this ideal at every opportunity. all the while checking what was sung against the pitch.g. With the pitch established and sustained. is fond of saying ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 that all musicians should pursue excellence in the basics. Saint Mary's College Lafayette and Moraga. What follows is the basic structure of an approach that has worked well in my situation and continues to offer substantial beneﬁts. one interval at a time. A few years ago. don't turn around and give up. and wishing to place responsibility for tuning squarely on my singers’ shoulders. When singers arrived at the desired interval. “A.org/publications . Knowing that Dr. a basic skill. Warren had employed tuning forks in rehearsal at American River College. We returned to the tonic pitch after each interval was sung. You don’t have to be a music major to sing in all college choirs Share this message with all singers who plan to attend college but who will not be music majors. The transformative experience of choral singing does not and should not fade into the past for your college-bound singers.ChorTeach page 9 ing what the committee might be looking for in a prospective student.acda. Tuning. We sang each interval of the chromatic scale on cue. They would sing an “A” (actual pitch and one octave below) for the entire exercise. I grew increasingly impatient with my nonauditioned church choir’s inability to stay in tune. I directed the remaining singers to begin on “A” also in whichever register was most comfortable.. Facing a wide variety of skill levels in sight-reading and little rehearsal time—two hours a week. some women—as the tonic singers. After explaining how to use a tuning fork. I began with every person sounding his or her A440 and then singing and sustaining that pitch on the syllable “oo. —Michael Jordan Using Tuning Forks to Empower Your Church Choir— Excellence at the Basics by Julie Ford Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church. a master choral director and teacher who guided me and so many other conductors. renewing the pitch when they ran out of air and staggering breaths so that the pitch remained constant. Most all college music programs in this country have both auditioned and non-auditioned choirs open to any student on campus. one that would be non-threatening and engage both non-readers and readers alike. a minor second is sung with the word “minor” on the tonic pitch and the word “second” a half-step above. Figure out how to climb it. go through it. not just to music majors. I purchased A440 tuning forks and set out to determine how to integrate their use within a church choir setting. e. California (Reprinted with permission of California’s Cantate.” Once the pitch was well established. I cued everyone to return softly www. My solution was to introduce exercises which focused on learning to identify intervals entirely by ear.” which was sustained by the “tonic singers” and also by the sounding tuning forks in each person’s hand. Once the tuning locked in. or work your way around it. No. Vol 23. Singers would perform the interval using its name. I cued them to sing “oo” and tune that vowel against the tonic singers’ pedal tone. needs life-long attention. I needed to ﬁnd a way to address this issue. Spring 2011) Perla Warren. If you run into a wall. 3.
. I endeavored to guide the singers’ awareness of how balance affects tuning by directing them not to sing louder than the few singers who remained on the tonic.” This process was repeated for each new interval. and “third. they are tuning linearly. 3 Spring 2010) Why don’t more of us choral directors offer our students a jazz choir/jazz ensemble experience? Here are a few suggestions for directors who want to explore and. we learned the minor 2nd. In the spring.ChorTeach page 10 and carefully to the tonic—still on “oo. We have continued with this exercise each week. O Nata Lux from Lux Aeterna by Lauridsen. Each singer must develop the ability to do these exercises both independently and as a member of the choir. four different intervals were added. from September through November. the basic skill of tuning needs life-long attention in order to achieve excellence. Illinois (Used with permission of Central's Division's Resound. Once these concepts were understood. Singers also may make visual connections to the score as a second step. I have added increasingly advanced exercises including work with the modes. They are building a strong understanding of how to listen and then adjust blend and balance to improve ensemble tuning. the singers have become quite adept at identifying melodic and harmonic intervals by name and then making corrections when the tuning falters. e. our choir is quicker and more accurate with these exercises which we use routinely at every rehearsal. No one can avoid learning these skills. and ends of phrases to see if their tuning has faltered. hopefully. The ﬁrst year I introduced these exercises. or briefcases and steal moments to practice on their own. Vol. As the choir sang words like “major. Four years into this process. i.. Our singers take an entire program year to get through the octave. As singers tune each interval. I ask all singers to carry their tuning forks with them every day in purses. adopt www. middle.org/publications . and if so. Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle —Thomas Jefferson To Jazz or Not to Jazz by James McCullough St. I tackled only a small part of the chromatic scale. Empowered with these skills.g. Charles East High School St. Their musical ears have been sharpened. as part of a two-note chord. Pursuing and achieving well-tuned performances on a regular basis has helped all of our singers gain conﬁdence in and ownership of their singing a wide range of repertoire. With the advanced choir. The choir is able to apply these skills quite well. and major 3rd intervals. Everyone is gratiﬁed by the results. As we all know.” I insisted on carefully puriﬁed or modiﬁed vowels. Such skill has become intuitive for them. major 2nd. Their diagnostic ability has improved dramatically.” “minor”. 33 No. For example. regardless of their very limited understanding of underlying principles of theory and/or the written score. thus helping the singers understand the connection between vowel unity and tuning. Charles. and ask ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 that they refer to their tuning forks at the beginning. I routinely choose at least one a cappella work in A or D major. backpacks. and vertically. the tonic pitch—“A ” in this case—should be ever-present in one’s mind and always be the inner guidepost for tuning. they—and I—appreciate the heightened sense of musical development.” The other gratifying result of this work is that in the context of a musical work. as part of a melody. My personal musicianship has beneﬁtted from leading similar exercises with all my choirs—children and college-level. I also reiterated the importance of pitch retention. all of which are built on the pitch “A. they became common reference points when we sang repertoire.acda.e. minor 3rd. to identify when and where the pitch has slipped.
The choral director’s enthusiasm. exemplary ensemble. near perfect tuning and dissonance/resolution. The important elements are there to be discovered. I believe the number one reason we should offer a vocal jazz experience in our programs is to nurture our country’s heritage. harmony. Take a moment to search for vocal jazz on Amazon. Harmony and balance Jazz offers a plethora of opportunities to teach harmonic progression as well as chord colors that ring when sung in tune and with perfectly matched vowels balanced between all parts. Other great groups to put on your listening list include the Real Group. Pandora is free. you will grow by hearing different approaches to style. Ensemble and Rhythm Whether the group consists of one on a part with four to six singers or a larger choir of 16. Go to www. nuance. Jazz will continue to inﬂuence various developments in current music. focus on the rhythm section. and applied: supported tone. Why? It is fulﬁlling. on iTunes.ChorTeach page 11 this dynamic art form in their schools.com and type in any one of those names. bass. stretch students’ ears and require an ability to think/sing intervallically a wide range of intervals. a technique jazz musicians have employed for decades. With each group. etc.” Keep your sound ideal intact and move the singers towards it with patience and praise. Here are several elements which will move your students to new levels of understanding and performance: Pitch accuracy and ear training Many jazz melodies. and colors into your ear. block out all disturbances. The second reason to teach this indigenous art is that kids love singing jazz. One of my friends in Washington once said. “Jazz is better caught than taught. I believe. Here are some possible questions you might ask your singers as you rehearse. motivation and education they desire.com. Don’t listen to an arrangement just once. One can look for vocal jazz performances on CDs at the library. lock the door and actively listen to one arrangement by the New York Voices. you get the complete package. I like this phrase: “If we can hear it. In the aural tradition of jazz. expressiveness. the more I hear harmonic and rhythmic connections to jazz. Many listening and learning resources are available to the teacher who wants to learn more.pandora. rhythm.Take 6. Students grow immensely as they learn their parts and what is happening in the music. and the Four Freshmen. jazz is better learned by listening and internalization rather than reading and talking. mined. I invite you to sit down. How does the ninth on a major 7/9 chord interact with the third which is a step away? Which is more important to bring out? Which should be sung softer? Who sings the third of the chord? You should expand on the idea of engaging your singers in a dialogue about the music. the students’ sense of enwww. up or down a major or minor third. Visit Western Michigan University Gold Company’s web site as well as that of Millikin University and Edmonds Community College’s top ensemble. sound. Jazz originated here and has ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 spawned everything from Elvis to rap. even augmented fourths and minor or major sevenths. heart. a director and his students will ﬁnd nearly all of the inspiration. challenging and rewarding. knowledge and ability to swing—get into the music’s groove—are important ingredients for success. Another big reason to include vocal jazz in choral programs is the development of musicianship skills in your singers. articulation. balanced chords. turn off your cell phone. Jazz is America’s music. Students’ aesthetic response is on a par with the best choral literature appropriate for their age and experience. Hi-Lo’s. Soundsation. we will ﬁnd a way to verbalize it. Share the recordings and your ideas about them with your students in rehearsal. The more I hear my 15. How do the piano. A greater challenge presents itself when a harmony line shifts and may go up or down a major or minor second. textures. and certainly the harmonies. In New York Voices. On a second listening. Pandora and other web sites. rhythms.org/publications .” In other words.acda. swinging lines. You will also be teaching teamwork and music theory in a performance context.and 19-year-old daughters’ pop music choices. Internalize and lock these sounds. and drums interact with and complement the singers? Let recordings be your teacher.
Everyone sings one tune. Knights of Columbus. it may mean getting out of a well-worn comfort zone and expanding ones musicianship. “If it is to be. city gatherings. Western Michigan University (March).org/publications . For many. I believe I could retire ﬁve years early! These performances. After each performance. build support for the music program and create excitement for our students. a choir program at any high school will beneﬁt greatly from offering vocal jazz. We sing for a wide array of organizations—Rotary. If you live in Illinois or Michigan. At each regular choral concert.” This phrase is my mantra for kids singing jazz. rewarding. More students have auditioned each year based on this important recruiting tool. To “jazz or not to jazz” is a choice for all choral directors.acda. Go alone or take a few choir ofﬁcers/leaders. Students are randomly assigned to quartets. or portion of a tune. It is also great for our students and for our music programs. What better way to know what your singers are learning than to note what they say after listening to their peers? I ﬁnd myself adjusting my teaching based on these solo Friday performances in choir. This type of responsibility can be daunting as students begin the school year. How about giving vocal jazz a try at your school? www. one of the jazz choirs sings an unaccompanied arrangement to expose the younger singers and parents to this important American art form. sings around our community and for our schools. basketball games. Only a few choir kids may attend jazz concerts. but they grow quickly. it is up to me.ChorTeach page 12 semble and rhythmic and melodic accuracy grow tremendously because there is nowhere to hide when one compares singing in a jazz ensemble with singing in a 32-44 voice concert choir. These students are great ambassadors. If I had a dollar for every Kirby Shaw jazz arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner our Jazz singers have performed in the past 25 years. students and the director offer compliments ﬁrst and then constructive ideas for improvement. Friday is small ensemble day at our school. regardless of the type of audience. creative. meet the challenge. We offer four regular choral and four separate jazz choir concerts every year. Kiwanis. Summary In my way of thinking. Take your video camera. Jazz. Let’s face it. or whatever the arrangement requires. Vocal jazz is fun. ChorTeach Volume 4 • Issue 1 I recommend you attend a jazz festival at Millikin University (February). for the choir. Our auditioned ensemble. and worth your investment of time. and soccer matches—whenever the students’ schedules allow it. and thrive on the experience. or Niles North High School—north shore Chicago (April). so we take this musical style to them. quintets. You will be surprised by the excellence and excitement coming from the stage.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.