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Choral Caffeine: Shared Control in Rehearsal

      Last week we posed several questions for your mid-summer consideration, including this one:  “Have you re-evaluated your syllabi (or choir handbook) in the hope of attaining a balance of creative liberty while maintaining control of the rehearsal environment?”
      Today, we turn to an article by Micah Dalbey, “Choral Pedagogy in the 21st Century: Shared Control in College and University Choirs,” to explore that idea in a little more detail.
      Two basic qualities, derived from these two teaching approaches, are essential to this pedagogical hybrid. The fusion of rules and relationships can make room for creativity and
freedom in student-centered instruction without sacrificing the focus and direction of teacher-centered rehearsals. Rather than every creative decision being made by the teacher, control can
be shared with the students.
      The development of a power-balancing hybrid requires an understanding of the student/teacher roles where both autocratic and democratic methods reign.
      “Conductor A” encourages student input, readily implements suggestions, and considers students to be the ultimate owners of the choir. On the other hand, “Conductor  B” employs an autocratic approach. The students stand in awe of his expertise, submit to his leadership and vision, and seldom if ever offer creative suggestions during rehearsal.
      So is it possible for teacher and student to share control in the classroom? Yes, but a blend of autocratic and democratic styles is necessary. By evaluating the teaching styles of Conductor
A and Conductor B in light of scholarly writings, two important elements emerged in my study: rules and relationships. These elements give teachers control of the rehearsal while offering
students control of their learning.
(To access the full article, simply click the highlighted title. For additional articles on a dazzling array of choral topics, visit  ChorTeach.)