how to get better
February 14, 2013 at 10:55 am #20270
What class/classes or workshops would you suggest for someone who just wants to get better at being a choir director/teacher? There are so many workshops/classes for general music but I want one specifically for teaching choir.
Thanks!February 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm #20294
I’ve always enjoyed the offerings at our state conferences. I’d also suggest joining ACDA and take advantage of those conferences and workshops. Additionally buy Tom Carter’s book Choral Charisma and read it. Lastly find a teacher that has the program you wish to have and ask to observe them teaching. Something that helped me tremendously is I took about 3 months of lessons from a working opera singer. We focused mostly on IPA. This and Tom Carters book had the most influence on how I teach today.
JohnFebruary 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm #20695
I would also reccomend joining an extracurricular choir, perhaps a church choir or community choir. If you like how he/she runs rehearsals, ask if they wouldn’t mind spending a few minutes giving you some pointers before or after a reherasal from time to time? My first year teaching middle school band, I went to the band director of my community band and did exactly that. He even mentored me over email. The above suggestions are great as well!
Happy to help,
ToniFebruary 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm #21036
I agree with John. Join your professional organizations and go to the conferences and workshops they offer. Pick the minds of your peers. See what works for them and apply it to your situation and style of teaching. Invite guest conductors in to your classes and watch them work with your students. Also, learn to make constructive criticism work for you. Put your groups in situations where you will get feedback on your work and then use that feedback to improve your teaching style. Best Wishes!February 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm #21078
Do you have a local barbershop chorus? I recently became the director of our local chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. I got a scholarship to go to “Harmony University” last summer. This is a week long workshop that has you in classes from 9AM to 9PM. I took directors courses so I had classes on effective rehearsals, sound production, theory and conducting. I have a music education degree, but still found the week extremely helpful in my school job and barbershop directing job. Barbershoppers are a great group of people who care very strongly about their hobby and take improving musical experiences very seriously. If you are a guy you can join the group in your area or you could go observe and probably learn quite a bit. (There are girl barbershoppers too…they are called Sweet Adalines) I’m sure the director would be interested in helping. You can find more information at http://www.barbershop.org/November 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm #33253
Use the internet! Especially YouTube. There is tons of stuff out there.
One thing leads to another with the viral nature of the web so hopefully that will get you started.November 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm #33350
I agree with everything said above. I would especially support the joining of professional organizations like NAfME and ACDA. This will put you in situations where you can hear the best in choral performance in a concentrated time and on a regular basis. Training your ears what to listen for and your eyes what to expect from your choir will allow you to know where to head as far as what you need to improve any weaknesses you might have. Conferences and summer workshops can be invaluable in helping to improve your knowledge base regarding repertoire, group choral techniques, techniques for teaching, conducting gesture, and more. If you are a new teacher, find the best choral programs in your area/state and create relationships with those directors and observe their teaching. Find those veteran teachers who are happy to help and benefit from their experience. One last suggestion. Once you join professional organizations, volunteer your time for leadership positions. This will automatically put you in contact with other directors and also make you part of decisions regarding guest conductors, rehearsal needs, presenters at conferences etc…
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