ChoirMix Articles were all written with YOU, the middle school choir teacher in mind. We know how difficult the changing landscape of music education can be. We also know about the particular needs of middle school aged students. Put these elements together and it is safe to say you are all courageous warriors that deserve a medal. Therefore we have developed the ChoirMix Articles section where we aim to address relevant issues of the day as the familiar issues we've all grown to know and (not necessarily) love.
What does it mean to be a truly GREAT middle school music teacher? There are likely as many opinions as there are teachers surrounding this particular question. This topic is seemingly as old as the profession itself....
It’s important to explain to your choir the importance of balancing. I always told my kids that sometimes certain notes need to stand out more and some need to hang out in the background.
Networking among colleagues to expand your music program. The Coaching Table is a technique for developing a great music program that is respected throughout the school.
How many times have you wanted to have “this year” be something really special? Everything is usually great at the beginning, but soon the energy and excitement begin to diminish. Staying focused throughout the year can be challenging. Here are my suggestions for a successful school year:
In 4 minutes or less, your students can master the 3 most important sight-reading skills that will transform every rehearsal.
Practice does not make perfect …. it makes permanent. Read how to overcome your frustration because, in your heart, you KNOW your students could perform great music….if only they could read better and accurately.
As I am sure you all know by now, working with middle school students can be invigorating as their physical energy level is usually at 150%. If all that external energy could be converted into internal energy and expressed through their music, the outcome would be amazing!
Let's talk about tackling a new tune. It sounds fairly obvious, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to over-complicate the process!
Often I work as a clinician for national choir workshops and festivals. Groups are given limited time to learn a new piece in my clinics. Over the years I have found that a song is more easily learned by dissecting it.
Beside accurate counting, looking ahead to “pre-hear” rhythms and pitch (audiating), singing accurately and in-tune is a primary skill for all vocalists. But is it typically taught, or just caught?
Regardless of the grade level, we all want our students to receive the very best and most we can offer them. The middle school years are when some real musical groundwork can be laid. Seeing your students every day affords continuity and follow-through that can lead to serious musical development.
It was perhaps W.C. Fields that once said “Don’t ever underestimate the power of a doughnut”. I found out that he was totally right! The first people you want in your corner as the year begins are the secretaries, cooks and custodians.
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