In May, August, and September 2015, the Choral Journal featured a three-part article series titled “Notes for Success: Advice for the First-Year Choral Teacher.” As part of the series, 11 choral conductors with teaching experience ranging from 4 to 34 years answered 10 questions related to setting expectations for your first year, classroom management, balancing a successful work and home life, finding repertoire, and more.
In this column, I would like to address question #7: How do I stay organized when conducting multiple choirs?
A portion of the suggestions listed regarding this question follow. Please leave a comment below with a strategy that has worked for you (or perhaps one that hasn’t!) so that we can continue to learn from one another.
“Planning and organization are essential for maintaining a choral program. However, a very wise and successful choral director once told me, ‘Students don’t join choir for the music; they join it for the choir director.’ I think it is a combination of both that has made my programs successful… It is the environment of being welcome along with the permission to make mistakes and of being a part of something bigger than yourself that draws students into the classroom.” – Elizabeth Batey
“It may require some work to build the program at your first job. You may want to increases enrollment, add choirs, introduce new genres of repertoire, and raise the level of performances. On the other hand, you may be replacing the director of a strong, successful program. Each scenario has challenges, but building a program from the ground up allow you more freedom to structure the program you envision. If you do take over a strong program, be sure to respect the program and recognize the work it took to establish and maintain it.” – Philip Silvey
-Question #1: How do I set realistic expectations for my first year of teaching? Read it here.
-Question #3: How do I best balance my personal life and the stress of my job? Read it here.
-Question #6: How do I best establish a grading strategy? Read it here.
Click here to read Part 1. Click here to read Part 2. Click for Part 3. Note: you must be an ACDA member to read the Choral Journal. If you are not already a member of ACDA, join today! Associate members can join for only $45 a year.