Conference Morsel: Choral Sight-singing
Date: May 10, 2014
(An excerpt from the interest session “Sightsinging in the Choral Classroom,” presented by James Bowyer during the 2014 ACDA North Central Division Conference)
When selecting superb sightsinging materials, there are several things to keep in mind. First, all materials that we select for the chorus must, in the end, develop fundamental musicianship skills in our singers. Second, material within the curriculum must highly sequenced and presented in a fashion that is musically intuitive (i.e. moving from known to unknown through increasingly complex activities). Third, we as conductors must be confident that time spent on this curriculum will facilitate an easy transfer of skills and concepts to performance repertoire. Fourth, the sightsinging curriculum must engage students with a wide range experience and prior knowledge. Fifth, we as music educators must never acquaint our students with anything but the finest music literature and materials. Consequently, a sightsinging curriculum must make use of only first-rate folk and art song repertoire and limited, excellent composed music. Finally, for any sightsinging curriculum to be successful, it must be taught by instructors who are exceptional musicians and practitioners themselves. To this end, we must continue to hone our own musicianship skills: audiation, vocal production, music literacy, in-tune singing, and musicality.