Below is a sample of the articles you will find in the latest issue of ChorTeach, available to ACDA members online at acda.org/chorteach.
View the full article PDFs online.
During the past 40 years, there has been an important movement made towards broadening curricula to be culturally inclusive. In “Effective Multicultural Curriculum Transformation Across Disciplines,” Christine Clark notes that while many practitioners continue to question the value of a multicultural curricula, most have moved through the debate regarding its value and on to looking at best practices for incorporating multicultural elements into the curriculum.[i]
In the field of music education, there has been a rise in the use, study, and performance of multicultural and ethnic music during the last thirty-plus years. In our own organization (ACDA), an Ethnic Music Repertoire and Resources area was first introduced in 1979 as the Ethnic and Minority Concerns Committee led by Eugene Simpson.
[i] Clark, C. (2010). Effective Multicultural Curriculum Transformation Across Disciplines. Multicultural Perspectives, 4(3), 37-46. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327892MCP0403_7
In the musical, The Music Man, con man Professor Harold Hill arrives in the quaint town of River City, Iowa, to swindle the unsuspecting townspeople. Equipped with his instructional method, the think system, Professor Hill asks his students to practice by simply thinking the Minuet in G with no need to “bother with notes.”[i] Imagine how easy our jobs would be if teaching music were only that simple. While the “think system” does not work, the method of audiation is a fundamental part of a student’s musical development.
Audiation, or as Kodaly teachers refer to it, inner hearing, is a pedagogical technique in which performers internalize the sound of the music in their heads without actually creating any sound. The term audiation, most notably disseminated by Edwin Gordon in his book, Music Learning Theory, is most commonly implemented at the elementary level.[ii] Although audiation is initially developed at a younger age, we as directors should continue to foster its development throughout a student’s entire musical journey.
[i] Meredith Wilson, The Music Man (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1958), 113.
[ii] Edwin Gordon, Learning Sequences in Music: A Contemporary Music Learning Theory (Chicago: GIA, 2012).
As a conductor, I feel the most important work I do happens outside the rehearsal room. It is selecting appropriate literature and preparing to present that literature to the ensemble.
If I have done my homework wisely, the rehearsal process becomes much easier. Our singers entrust us choral directors with their most valuable resource– their time. To use the ensemble’s time wisely, it is imperative that we come to rehearsal with a thorough knowledge and understanding of each score. Despite its importance, score study is one aspect of the job I believe many of us, I include myself, fail to always find adequate time for.
I developed the following checklist as a way to “keep myself honest” during the process of score study and to help evaluate whether or not I am fully prepared for a rehearsal. While it is certainly not exhaustive, I hope you find it to be a useful resource in your rehearsal preparation.
I love my job(s). I wouldn’t trade my profession for any other. It truly is wonderful to make music with students and adults that love to sing, but I’m exhausted after a day of rehearsals. By the time I get to Christmas with my family, I have almost forgotten what Christmas is about. I love my singers, but sometimes I just need to get away from them for a while.
Throughout my career, I have often reminded myself of the phrase, “Music is best when surrounded by rest.” I picked up that phrase in college when we were performing one of Paul Brandvik’s Madrigal Dinners at Bemidji State University (Minnesota). Brandvik used it as one of the punch lines from the jester in one of his scripts. But I find this phrase to be an important personal reminder as I strive to be an effective choral conductor.
Lately, I have been obsessed about the strategies choral conductors use to recharge and stay well in their profession. I asked several choral conductors and other music teachers around my region this question, “What things do you do at home that keep you rested and healthy in your professional job?”
All of these articles are available online for ACDA members at acda.org/chorteach