Reply To: Beginning Men's Choir Help

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Start immediately when the bell rings. Stand in front of them and have them stand with good posture and look at you. Start with a unison song and develop good pitch and good vowels with this song and then move to other unison songs that they memorize and can sing anytime the class is getting slow. You can use clapping exercises where they imitate you to start with also. However, don’t do the same thing everyday. Don’t wait for them to quiet down just get them started and have high expectations for good behavior, posture, involvement in the class etc. They are in your class to sing so keep them involved in singing and improving reading skills by moving quickly from one activity to another. If you play games with them it will seem like a silly class and it will be difficult to control.

Be sure to keep your sense of humor and high energy throughout the class. Plan everything and then be ready to ditch the plan and go to plan B if things aren’t clicking.

I loved teaching men’s choir. Young men love to sing and they want to do it well. On the first day I would set up the expectation for respecting each other and then I would teaching them a simple song in unison and ask for a volunteer to sing it in front of the class. I always had a willing student that already had a good voice volunteer and from then on every day someone would want to sing. By the end of the year these men’s choirs could sing 3 or 4 part music with excellent vowels and good pitch. They learned to read notes and rhythms and enjoyed listening to recordings of vocal artists of various genres and good choirs.

LeAnna Willmore
NAfME, Choral Education Council Chair