Reply To: New job teaching MS choir!! Help

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Congrats on the new position. Middle school choir is a fun class, but you will need some basic things in place for sure. Because you have been teaching K-8 you already understand classroom management. In choir it is no different, but you have to be sure you limit “down time.” Have everyone participating ALL THE TIME if you can, which means assigning things for each section like “tap the pulse as sopranos sing their line” or “hum your part as baritones sing on words,” or “everyone sing the alto line!” Also I highly recommend you teach a system of sight signing: movable do, fixed do, numbers, whatever. But pick one and do it every rehearsal. If possible, always tie sight signing to the actual music you are rehearsing. Also, in middle school, range and tessitura of parts is THE most important consideration for selecting music. An easy rule is to sing 3-part mixed music, and then adapt it as needed. Three-part mixed gives a limited-range part for the baritones and will allow you to have a part they can sing in most every part of their voice change. Finally, my personal rule is to let them sing ANYTHING that fits their voice. If you have a changed-voice baritone who sings on the bottom of the bass clef, let him sing the melody down an octave if that is the part he can manage. Keep them engaged, teach musicianship, select good repertoire with appropriate ranges, and above all have fun with them. Enjoy the process. Hope that helps! Be Well, Chris Peterson