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Adrianne Tomlinson

Dr. V
MUED 376
23 October 2019
Summary: Choral Cultures

Every teacher has the job of creating their own unique culture in their classroom. Culture

can be defined as a way of life that consists of language, conventions, and customs. It grows over

time and has to be shaped based on the people in the environment. Over time, the culture created

in a class can permeate into the community and create a positive climate. Culture created in a

choral classroom is based on a bridge between academic concepts and social interaction. The

academic component includes the curriculum that is taught and the music studied. The social

aspect is having an emotional connection with students and knowing who they are outside of the

classroom as well. After we understand how to co-curricularize the social interactions and

pedagogy we are able to create flow.

Another important aspect of creating choral cultures is the triangle of teacher

competency. This triangle includes three parts: teacher behaviors, rehearsal behaviors, and

musical behaviors. In simpler words this is conducting, singing, and playing. Teacher behaviors

include having microinteractions with students, maintaining eye contact, teaching respect, and

having skilled scaffolding and sequencing in lesson plans. Rehearsal behaviors are planning out

rehearsal and the individual lessons that take place in them. It also includes pedagogical

transparency so that students understand why we do things the way we do. Additionally, it is

important to teach that everything can be transferred that they learn whether it is in the music

classroom or not. The final part of the triangle are the musical behaviors. Musical behaviors
include being a good conductor, using the classroom space effectively, engaging students during

the conducting process and reflection during the rehearsal.

There are four main research topics in the choral classroom: safety, identity, transmission

and enculturation. The main elements of safety that are necessary to implement in the class are

mindfulness, interactions, using appropriate body language and tones of voice, using discernment

rather than judgement and avoiding favoritism and sarcasm. This can manifest as student self

assessment, written reflective thinking, keeping a positive tone of voice and having respect be a

core value during your teaching. The identity topic includes teaching for transfer, a reflective

assessment process, discerning rather than judging, and an abundance of feedback. Through

assessment and reflection students can reflect on who they are at a point in time and monitor

their growth. The elements of the transmission research topic are history, heritage, rituals,

celebrations, help, thankfulness, leadership and friendship.Some examples of this would be to

chronicle the journey of the choir, have class officers with leadership roles, have a mentor

system for people that are new to the choir, or having student led reflection sessions. The final

research topic is enculturation. This topic includes friendship, help, reflective practice,

belonging, celebrating success (both musical and personal), effective lesson planning, and last

but not least FLOW. The nine components of flow include anxiety, arousal, flow, control,

relaxation, boredom, apathy, and worry. It is important for these feelings to be balanced while a

student is learning; this will lead to flow moments. Flow moments can happen as a group or

individually. Music educators can cultivate flow in their classroom by creating safety for

students as learners and artists, teacher magnetism, rehearsal pacing and structure, and

instructional scaffolding. By using the proper developmental hierarchy for the academic portion
of class and having social microinteractions with students, music educators can create their own

unique choral culture and a safe environment for flow.