The October issue of Choral Journal is online and includes an article titled “Lessons from Summer Camp” by Joy Hirokawa. You can read it in its entirety online at acda.org/choraljournal. Following is a portion of the article.
As our world reeled around us and the ground kept shifting over the summer, we struggled to come to grips with how to translate our instruction to the online environment.
Music teachers are passionate and resourceful people. For those leading virtual summer camps, Zoom became the standard platform. We learned how to navigate setting up break out rooms, manage students through the screen, and make learning engaging and meaningful. Teaching in this environment provided a testing ground to try a variety of pedagogical approaches. What worked? What didn’t? Following are ideas from three different perspectives that may be useful as you plan for rehearsals this fall.
The Choral Village format (see the April 2019 Choral Journal for more information on this program) provided a surprisingly adaptable structure to a different “deep dive” through a different delivery system. The focus of the week shifted from looking externally to looking inwardly; from performance to creation. Body percussion, improvisation, spoken word, discussion, and drumming provided artistic tools and ideas for students to create an artistic expression of their experiences and feelings living through these last few months. Following are some techniques used in Choral Village that would be easily transferred to any online choral setting.
[Read and download the article online for more on each of these areas]
Meaningful learning in the virtual choral rehearsal can happen! But rather than trying to replicate or recreate the traditional rehearsal, I encourage you to think outside the box and take advantage of the unique opportunity to reinvent your pedagogy.
• Consider what you might be able to do in a virtual world that you are not able to do in an in-person rehearsal.
• Consider how being in a room by themselves frees your singers to be unencumbered by peer pressure, and able to explore their creativity without judgement.
• Reconsider expectations and outcomes. If a pristine and polished performance is not possible due to restrictions on in-person rehearsing, in what ways might you expand your singers’ musicianship and musical knowledge?
• This is a perfect time to explore improvisation and composition, two National Standards that are frequently short changed in the traditional choral setting.
Read the rest of this article (and more!) in the October 2020 issue of Choral Journal.