conductors, recognizing that the reason that our
choirs do not:
higher and better quality music
bell-to-bell in rehearsal
to do with consistency in our instruction.
There, I said it. WE are the ones responsible to educate, motivate
and equip those who chose to
sing in our choirs. Not blame…but a reason for us to use an
3 Basic skills
method you use, singers must learn to:
intervals in their head (audiate) before singing
with their voice
is much to learn, and little time to accomplish skills ….while
still enjoying the learning experience (which
makes them want to learn more on their own).
lessons in our K-University, sequential books require minimal
preparation, and are designed to create a learning experience that
achieves maximum results in a concise timeframe. The saying “trying
fails, awareness cures” is important to remember as you
train singers to hear correctly and correct mistakes efficiently.
Allowing and repeating mistakes, because of rushing and not
being trained looking ahead builds frustration,
because, later, we must stop rehearsal to correct them. Better to
sing correctly in the first place.
FUNdamental Music Mastery (K-5), Foundations of Choral Mastery (where all choirs should
start), and 4-Minute Mastery (Books 1, 2, and
3) tackle and train the 3 Basic skills in 4 minutes
and less, as skills improve. Patience and consistency, when applied
with a high bar of standards, helps singers learn, life-long skills
of accuracy and focus. There is no need to apologize for being
politely obsessed with pitch accuracy, counting accuracy, expressive
singing (and many other skills). It saves rehearsal time and trains
our singers to accept only the best of themselves….and the choir.
You are developing efficient rehearsal skills. I will cover more
specifics in future blogs.
ALL of the basic skills on one page, projected
(best) or printed as the students arrive to rehearsal. You’ve
turned down some lights to help them focus on the screen and taught
all to read a time signature so getting started promptly at
the tone, they look at the line 1 time-signature as you give them one
measure, in the time you choose, to prepare and
start. Voila ! Rehearsal has begun on time and they are
working together instantly. That high bar
comes into play as you accept as correct or just point where you wish
to correct a mistake (they can figure it out). If a brief comment
is needed, you are developing rehearsal protocols, so keep
it very short. The seven word rule works
well to get right back to the challenge.
lines of rhythm (always in different meters)
lines of interval training (ascending and descending)
lines of duets (coordinated with lines 1-4 above)
MASTERY is the key
you find the skills are not up to the challenge today,
then stop … to return tomorrow and MASTER those skills ….because,
if you choose to let mistakes go, they turn into inaccurate habits.
Again, practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent
! Ever find yourself mentally kicking yourself for not
solving skills earlier in the year? Start the solution process from
can direct lessons
Imagine having students in front of and coaching their peers to
become accurate; starting rehearsal on time; celebrating their
accomplishments, while you are:
around the choir
in with specific sections
how they are learning
who is leading and who is following
how to improve their skills
imagine your administrator “dropping in” to
rehearsal and seeing students teaching students. And how about the
student who is on the periphery…not the most “popular” or
fairly introverted…LEADING rehearsal and gaining self-confidence
and street-cred by accurately leading their peers. That
is transformational !
All Tools for Conductors™ writers
are seasoned music educators, with a combined experience of over 90
years of professional experience. Our lessons are “STANDARDIZED”
because we partnered in writing the skill-set just adopted and posted
by NAfME :
lesson meets levels now recognized by NAfME and, soon, Canada as
skill targets for all vocalists. Lessons are sequentially composed,
K-University, and utilize concept reinforcement.
possibility to actuality
all over the world, our books are delivered PDF for you to project,
print, or send to students for practice at home or on internet
devices. They are available from Tools
for Conductors™ (customized
for your choirs), or JW
Music Mastery (Kindergarten-Grade 5)
of Choral Mastery
do you do to assess singers? Really. How much time does it take?
of our lessons coordinate with our on-line assessments available
Won’t Miss a Beat” assessments
for elementary, band, choir, and rhythm (orchestra soon). Likewise,
they take about 2 minutes can be found here:
assessments are inexpensive and can be done on any device (works best
with Chrome). If you would like to view an actual
assessment, this is what happens:
on this in a future article.
time is “sacred”. Don’t waste a second. When singers (school,
private, community) are trained to correctly audiate, rehearsals
SOAR, singing great music you (as conductor) and your choirs never
thought possible. A posse ad esse: From
possibility to actuality.
Stuart Hunt at: