Zero to sixty in 18 weeks
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Hi folks – I’ll be taking on a newly-formed choir next year, which will consist of 7th and 8th graders. One of the goals for this group is to create enthusiasm for vocal music that will extend into high school and motivate the kids to sign up for choir as they move up. I’m not a new teacher, but this is going to take a paradigm shift. I envision this group doing lots of stuff I’m less familiar with – moving, limited (gasp!) dancing, and more pop-oriented stuff. Anybody know of good resources I can read, watch,etc. for ideas on incorporating movement and an element of ‘pop, sizzle and flare’ to this group? I already know a good orthopedic surgeon, living close to Sun Valley, ID, as I do!
The first thing that comes to mind is – regrettably – Glee / High School Musical material, which is show tunes and oldies. They are lively, include harmonies, and the topics of these songs are relate-able, which is very important. You can arrange them yourself or find arrangements (see JW Pepper or SheetMusicPlus.com). Years ago I bought a nice fake book of Broadway songs.. forget the name offhand, sorry. This is excellent because I could give it to my accompanist with repetitions / cuts and we’d be in business.
Movements should be simple: step to the right and clap, step to the left and clap, slowly spin around and hands up / down. Have the group repeat the melody on “La” with motions so they don’t have to go crazy thinking of too many things at once. Depends on the piece you’re choreographing for. Don’t reinvent the wheel!! Look on YouTube for videos of show choir performances.
Take a look at my website or book (Choral Charisma: Singing with Expression). In both, I discuss how to create a safe and supportive environment, how to help singers move freely, and how to empower singers to connect powerfully to text/music. The approach I offer challenges the traditional paradigm–and offers specific tools and exercises for painless implementation.
The whole approach is based on neuroscience and everyday human behavior. Because of that, it’s very easy for singers and directors to embrace.
All my best,
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