Choir and Band

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    I recently graduated and have secured my first job! (little victory dance).

    Coming into a small, building program that’s looking to participate in festival. I’m teaching both Choir and Band. Numbers are low(20-30 in each) and
    I will admit that when it comes to repertoire I’m much stronger with Band knowing great pieces to select.

    Are there any resources available that give a good list of easy/medium pieces for choir? I want to make the connection and get them motivated quickly,
    so I was thinking of doing en eclectic mix of contemporary songs with more typical choir pieces.

    Any advice?



    What grades will you be teaching – elementary, middle or high school?

    One of my former mentors always says “You build it, they will come!” And I have seen this come true in my own school’s band program: the teacher made learning fun and acquired enough instruments. In her second year in the building her numbers tripled!! Once kids realize that you’re doing something fun, you put on concerts and take them to a festival (anything outside of school is a thrill – no matter what grade level!!), all will want to be involved.

    Choral standards: Siyahamba (Swahili -sp?- meaning We are Marching in the Light of God). You can do this a capella or with piano, in Swahili and then in English. Add clapping the second or third time through the refrain. In parts is amazing, if you can get them there.

    Peace Song, one arr is by Greg Gilpin.
    Viva la Musica – traditional, round

    If you can afford new music, check out Sheet Music Plus. They have popular pieces from Glee and other shows – incl Broadway – which will hook the kids. My middle school choir always did lots of Disney pieces with some more traditional pieces. (I think she had a decent budget.) Kids – especially middle schoolers – resist learning songs in another language, but it’s good for them. Opens their heads to other lands and cultures. When you teach those you can mention traditional dances done in those given cultures. That ads another level — if anyone in your school or choir is from or is familiar wtih another culture, maybe they could speak to the group about that culture and dances. And maybe this could be a portion of your concert – feature a faculty member or student who can perform or speak of the culture of the song before the performance.


    Check the ACDA site (American Choral Directors Association). They post choral literature the is considered the standard and I believe that it is graded.

    Christopher Langdon
    Appalachian State University, MM Music Education, ’14
    Campbell University, BA Music Education, ’12


    Depending on where you teach and what level you teach – you may find ‘Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir’ (GIA publications) to be a useful addition to your library. The the literature includes all levels, and voicings – and there are also recordings available. I’ve had tremendous luck by simply asking my peers at other schools for specific types of music to suit the needs of a particular group.
    Let me know what level you are teaching and I’d be more than happy to give you more detail.
    Best of luck!

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