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Items by Richard Sparks

Results: 166
Title Author Date
ChoralBlog: Learning from Eric Ericson IV - Conducting Technique I
NOTES FROM ERIC ERICSON'S CONDUCTING SESSIONS AT HAYSTACK , 1986   These notes are from several sessions (hence I've abbreviated in some places) that Eric Ericson did on basic conducting technique. This took place at the Haystack Workshop in Astoria, Oregon. I was singing in t...
ChoralBlog: Learning from Eric Ericson III - Robert Sund
As you read the thoughts of various musicians who worked with Eric, you’ll discover commonalities—which is only natural—but each from a slightly different perspective.   For me, one of the best things about doing this series is giving me the excuse to get in touch with...
Comment: Re: Retirement
This is always a difficult decision (for the person in question) and also tough to handle as a conductor. I haven't had to deal with it often, but it's a challenge. David Willcocks said in one of his books that when he took over the Bach Choir in London it was full of people whose skills had eroded ...
Concert: UNT Collegium Singers, Richard Sparks, cond.
Join the University of North Texas Collegium Singers and Baroque Orchestra Wednesday, April 9 at 8 PM for their final concert of the year.   The Collegium Singers will sing Kuhnau's 'Tristis est anima mea' (conducted by Kerry Glann, with choir, organ, and 3 sackbuts), Schelle's absolutely beautif...
ChoralBlog: Learning from Eric Ericson - II - Eva Wedin
Eva Wedin is our guest-blogger this week. Eva began singing with Eric as a student at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm (1973-78). She sang as an alto in the Radio Choir from 1979-2012, when she "retired" . . . and still occasionally subs with the choir (imagine all the music she'...
ChoralBlog: Learning from Eric Ericson - I
Eric Ericson (1918-2013) was one of the major choral conductors of the last century. His work was influential for many of us and the standards he set with his own Chamber Choir, with the Swedish Radio Choir, along with the men's chorus Orphei Drängar, raised standards around the world. The ...
Announcement: Allan Bevan - Nou goth sonne under wode - Sparks, UNT
The UNT University Singrers and Concert Orchestra performance of Allan Bevan's Nou goth sonne under wode from a recent concert is now on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoCT-ES_t2o&feature=share   This is a terrific piece, premiered by Richard Sparks (who conducts this performance)...
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor X - leadership 2
My last post introduced the importance of leadership (or the ability to lead) to be a successful conductor. Most of us learn much of what we know about leadership from our own conductors/mentors/models. This is one of the most important ways we learn.   But one can be more systematic and explore ...
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor IX - leadership 1
As I mentioned earlier in this series, it's rare that there's a place in any undergraduate music education curriculum, or even MM or DMA curricula in choral conducting on the topic of leadership. This is one of those things that's incredibly important, but rarely taught directly. It may ...
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor VIII - gaining experience 3
More about starting your own group to gain experience (since we learn by doing!):   First, I would check out Chorus America. It's an organization dedicated to the independent chorus--one that has its own board, leadership, etc., rather than being attached to an institution (church, sc...
Comment: Re: Favorite extended choral work?
Allan Bevan's Nou goth sonne under wode is a wonderful Good Friday/crucifixion meditation, very expressive. http://www.allanbevan.ca/   I just performed it at UNT (literally tonight!), where I teach. If all goes well, we may be able to put it on YouTube -- it's a wonderful piece for narrator, sop...
Concert: UNT U Singers, Richard Sparks, cond.
The University of North Texas University Singers and Concert Orchestra, under the direction of Richard Sparks, perform Canadian composer Allan Bevan's Nou goth sonne under wode, a 30 minute Good Friday meditation in four movements, Monday, March 3 at 8 PM in the MPAC, UNT. Oneyda Padierna is soprano...
Comment: Re: Richard Sparks Intonation Series
Thanks for putting this together, Jed! I did something like this for the Wooden series, but not for the intonation one.   Yes, I think ChoralBlog needs a good search function that makes it easy to search for a particular blogger's posts or to better search by topic (which would mean we'd have to ...
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor VII - gaining experience 2
Last time I recommended that the young conductor (even while still an undergraduate) gain experience through conducting a church choir. For the conductor who is a bit more advanced (already teaching, for example, or working in a major church position), working with a community choir or similar ...
Comment: Re: Lars Edlund (1922-2013)
Josh, I also love the music of Lars Edlund (as well as his Modus Novus -- well, perhaps I don't LOVE it, but it's incredibly useful!).   The folksongs (if you're thinking of the set with Femton Finner) are on Naxos on a recording by the Uppsala University Chamber Choir. They're fun!   They're ...
Concert: UNT Collegium Singers - CPE Bach Magnificat
Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of C.P.E. Bach's birth, the University of North Texas Collegium Singers (Richard Sparks, conductor) and Baroque Orchestra (Paul Leenhouts, conductor) do a program of music by CPE and other composers from that era.   Under the direction of Richard Sparks, both gro...
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor VI - gaining experience
In an earlier post I mentioned getting experience as a conductor. This is one of the big challenges for a young conductor and I’m a believer in making your own opportunities.   The first and best option for most young conductors (even undergraduates) is to find a position as churc...
Comment: Re: The Young Conductor V - rehearsing and the piano
Thanks for your post! I've done rehearsals with and without accompanists. If you've got a good one (and I've been blessed to work with several really wonderful ones) s/he can help and expand what you can do. A less than good one and s/he will slow down your rehearsal.   I think choirs need to ...
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor V - rehearsing and the piano
One of the critical areas for a young conductor--and this applies to both the undergraduate planning for a career in music education and the graduate conducting  student with a fair amount of experience already—is to develop and then improve rehearsal skills.   I’ve wri...
Comment: Re: The Young Conductor III - learning repertoire
Thanks, Jerome! I absolutely agree and speak to this in the next blog post, coming out Thursday.
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor IV - becoming a better musician
If you remember my 2nd post in this series, I listed all sorts of things that a conductor must gain in terms of skills and knowledge. For the young conductor (or the experienced one, for that matter), many of the limits to your achievements as a conductor will be your own personal limitations as a m...
Comment: Re: The Young Conductor III - learning repertoire
Len and Stanley, thanks to you both for your contribution! The stories of kindnesses from fellow colleagues are amazing. And thanks for the resource, Stan.
Comment: Re: reference for Handel's Dixit Dominus
Can you say what you mean by that? Do you mean references to the work's history? Recordings? Different editions? I've conducted it several times, most recently in a performance which is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz4ZVusFsTo
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor III - learning repertoire
Learning repertoire is another life-long (and fascinating) part of being a conductor.   For the beginning conductor it seems a daunting task, so first know that it's never-ending. Don't worry that you don't yet know enough, just get started.   First, of course, you&...
Comment: Re: The Young Conductor II - what does a conductor need to know?
Kenneth,   Thanks for the link! You have excellent things to add. I always have loved Brock McElheran's statement in his book about conducting (I'm paraphrasing here, don't have the book in front of me): "It does no good to memorize long lists of baroque ornaments if no one wants to play or sing ...
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor II - what does a conductor need to know?
When I taught beginning conducting (which I did for 18 years at Pacific Lutheran University), I'd begin by asking the class to tell me what the conductor did. What did she need to know? What skills are necessary? What roles does the conductor play? What's important to become a very good cond...
ChoralBlog: The Young Conductor I - Introduction
Welcome back! I hope you all had a good break. It's time for a new series, this time thoughts on the preparation for the young conductor. This could mean an undergraduate planning on a career in music education, or it could mean a young conductor, teacher, or graduate student who's started h...
Comment: Re: What we can learn from John Wooden XIV
Thanks to you for reading, Evelyn!
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden XIV
It's been fun to look into John Wooden's career, techniques, and writing about him and his methods--and how it might apply to us as conductors. This final post summarizes the series and also suggests reading for those of you who wish to explore further on your own. I hope you've enjoyed ...
Comment: Re: Deep Creative Work
So true, Josh! I've enjoyed Cal Newport's blog and books since reading his How to Become a Straight A Student, which I thought was brilliant. I, too, find it difficult for the truly important work: studying scores, searching for new repertoire, programming, etc. Thanks for this post!
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden XIII
The title of the book by Gallmore and Nater comes from the seventh chapter: You Haven't Taught Until They Have Learned.   I've talked about that topic already, but the element in this chapter we'll speak of today is that of favorite teachers. We've all had them and their i...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden XII
One of the most interesting chapters for me in Gallimore and Nater's You Haven't Taught Until They Have Learned is the third chapter, "It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts the Most."   Given Wooden's great skill and knowledge, it was fascinating ...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden XI
Early in his career (mostly in place with a few later adjustments by 1932), John Wooden developed his "Pyramid of Success" This was meant to be a guide to how one builds success--a road map, if you will, including not only short-term goals along the way, but character traits important to s...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden X
The next chapter of Gallimore and Nater's book is about success and is titled, "The Motivation to Learn Comes from Focusing on Reaching Your Own Potential." I'll deal with it in two parts, the second on Wooden's "Pyramid of Success."   But this post speaks ...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden IX
We've met Ronald Gallimore in each of the previous posts. As you saw in the past few weeks, he continued his work studying John Wooden and his methods. But he then co-wrote a book (2010) with Swen Nater, a former player for Wooden at UCLA, You Haven't Taught Until They Have Learned, and I ca...
Comment: Re: What we can learn from John Wooden VIII
Many thanks for the contribution and link, Kenneth.
Announcement: UNT Collegium Singers - Monteverdi 1610 Vespers
University of North Texas Collegium Singers, Richard Sparks, conductor Members of the UNT Baroque Orchestra Special Guests   Monteverdi 1610 Vespers in a new Bärenreiter edition, edited by UNT musicologist Hendrik Schulze and 10 UNT grad students   Live performance from Oct. 26, 2013   h...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden VIII
Last week I addressed a number of John Wooden's ideas about pedagogy, taken from Gallimore and Tharp's 2004 article.   So now it's time to see what his pedagogical ideas can offer us as conductors. Part of the last post deals with our responsibility as teachers--is it our resp...
Comment: Re: What can we learn from John Wooden VII
William, that's something I've been thinking about--Wooden dealt with 12 or so players each season and 7-8 who would do most the playing in games (although the reserves were vital in prepping the regulars). That's not so many that you can't give individual feedback on a regular basis. With 58 or so ...
ChoralBlog: What can we learn from John Wooden VII
This will be a final two-part post based on Gallimore and Tharp's 2004 article, but not the last on what we can learn from John Wooden--he still has much more to teach us!   One of the sections in the article is titled, "Some Wooden Views on Pedagogy" (as always, read the ar...
Comment: Re: What we can learn from John Wooden V
Hi Shawn, I've never had rules either for my students or myself on listening to recordings . . . but I do have thoughts! A potential problem is that if you listen to one recording over and over, you're likely to absorb many of the aspects of the interpretation of the other conductor without thinking...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden VI
This continues last week's post about Wooden's preparation and what we can learn from it. Remember, we're referencing Gallimore and Tharp's 2004 article, which looked back at their earlier 1976 study.   Last week we heard how Wooden spent 2 hours each morning planning the...
Comment: Re: What we can learn from John Wooden V
Dear Shawn,   This is difficult for any young conductor! I think one of the hardest things to learn to do is to multi-task and listen, listen, listen, while still running the rehearsal, conducting, dealing (sometimes) with discipline issues, etc.   The simple answer (but not so simple to do!) ...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden V
Following up on last week's post, based on the 2004 study that re-evaluated Gallimore and Tharp's earlier study of John Wooden's methods, we move to a different topic, that of Wooden's preparation for his practices (or for our rehearsals).   As I mentioned last week, Galli...
Concert: Monteverdi 1610 Vespers--live stream!
Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers will have two performances, one available live-streamed on the web, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 & 26, both at 8 PM.   The University of North Texas Collegium Singers, conducted by Richard Sparks, will be joined by members of the UNT Baroque Orchestra and special gue...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden IV
I based the previous two blog posts on a 1974 study by Professors Ronald Gallimore and Roland Tharp published in Psychology Today in 1976. In 2004 they re-visited the research and re-evaluated the data, resulting in the following study (as always, I recommend reading it for yourself--it's not l...
ChoralBlog: What can we learn from John Wooden III
One never knows who will respond to a blog post--imagine my surprise when Ronald Gallimore commented on the last post and then Roland Tharp emailed me yesterday, having heard about the post from a friend! A very nice surprise, indeed! Dr. Gallimore mentioned his continuing research and referenced h...
Comment: Re: What we can learn from John Wooden II
Dear Ron,   I'm flattered that you noticed my blog! Yes, I do know you've continued the research and have a number of your articles and books, plus the book you did with Swen Nater (which I'll feature in a few weeks). I'll also give your website in the next post.   All the best,   Richard
Comment: Re: What we can learn from John Wooden II
Thanks, J.D. -- yes, less talk, more singing is a good rule! I, too, find that modeling as a mirror can work. I have my choir divided into a double choir when they're in quartets and one choir can demonstrate for the other . . . or individual singers or a quartet, although in that case I'm usually l...
ChoralBlog: What we can learn from John Wooden II
Even though I knew about and admired John Wooden earlier in my life (I was an undergrad at the University of Washington, so watched a number of UW/UCLA games in person -- and after one of the games Kareem and several other players came to my dorm for a dance -- to say he "stood out" on...