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The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Stick Time: How Will You Choose to Listen?

The first of ACDA’s seven divisional conferences takes place next week.  For those fortunate enough to be able to attend, those events will provide a rich opportunity to listen, learn, and grow.
But here’s a question:  HOW will you choose to listen to the concerts?  No, not “hear” the concerts . . . LISTEN.  Remember, friends, hearing is passive, listening is active.  We are professional conductors; part of why we get paid is to listen.
The possibilities for listening are limitless.  Your listening may be influenced by countless factors, such as your training, the sort of choirs you work with, the musical challenges you are facing, or your own musical taste.
One wonders how fellow choral conductors at conferences (or any concert for that matter) listen.  Are you listening just simply in the hunt for repertoire? Are you analyzing the overall sound with with thought of achieving a similar performance opportunity?  Are you aiming toward improving some tightly defined area of your own choral product and are thus listening to that element in the performance?
Let’s practice listening, shall we?  The accompanying conference performance is a reasonable example of the sort of sounds you will hear at an ACDA event.  Play the recording and LISTEN with one focus firmly in mind.  It could be blend, vowel color & unification, tuning, articulation of text, the tone of a single section, releases, or any one of a hundred other things. What do you hear? What did you learn? How will it make your next rehearsal better?
Now . . . prepare to attend that conference.  And LISTEN.