For Choral Academy, An Emphasis On Conducting Skills, Fresh Music Ideas

MENC’s Music Education Week is designed to provide members with opportunities for music education advocacy, intensive professional development, performances, and exposure to the latest music education products and services.

At the Choral Academy last June, participants brushed up on their conducting skills, learned new approaches for developing vocal tone, and garnered fresh repertoire ideas.

A choral director conducts her peers.

During sessions, choral educators like Rollo Dilworth, associate professor of choral music education at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, discussed rehearsals and conducting techniques. He appeared courtesy of Hal Leonard Corporation.

Dilworth demonstrated his own techniques for conducting a variety of musical styles. In the master class, he had attendees conduct their peers.

He also had the larger group break into small groups and visited with each to discuss and practice what they learned. The sessions were aimed at both experienced and new choral conductors.

Clinician Rollo Dilworth checks in on a breakout group.

Other Choral Academy sessions included:

  • “Sight-Reading: Tried and True Music,” led by Neil Hendriksen, Woods Cross School (Utah)
  • “Using the Brain in the Choral Classroom,” led by Anna Hamre, California State University, Fresno
  • “The Professional Military Choir Experience,” led by members of the United States Navy Band Sea Chanters
  • “Organizing Your Tools for an Effective Rehearsal,” led by Anna Hamre.

The Choral Academy sessions overlapped with the Jazz Academy for topics including a Vocal Jazz Styles Master Class conducted by music educator and composer Kirby Shaw. He appeared courtesy of Hal Leonard Corporation.

In the class, Shaw taught choral directors how to incorporate vocal jazz into their choral program. Participants received packets of music of a variety skill levels and voice parts.

In response to input from MENC members, the academies at Music Education Week are designed to offer specific, intense professional development opportunities. Music educators can also earn academic credit. (In 2010, credit was offered from the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago.)

David Neves, Eastern Division immediate past president, chairs MENC’s National Executive Board Professional Development Committee. The committee develops academy topics. LeAnna Willmore of Riverton High School in Bountiful, Utah, chaired the 2010 Choral Academy.

Look for updates on academy topics, clinicians, and additional information about the in-depth sessions at Music Education Week 2011 which will be posted as information becomes available.

Marching Music Academy

Roz Fehr, September 7, 2010 © MENC: The National Association for Music Education

Photos by Becky Spray