Some Tips for Inspired Choral Rehearsals

“Novice and experienced choral teachers alike need inspiration from time to time, especially now that the school year is up and running at a furious pace,” says choral music and jazz education specialist Patrice Madura Ward-Steinman.

“Many routines that make rehearsals run smoothly are in place,” she says. “We have recruited singers, conducted auditions, created warm-ups, selected and prepared new repertoire, planned choral curriculum goals, and scheduled concerts and choir trips. We want to make our next rehearsal even better than the last.”

Here are some simple reminders from Ward-Steinman that offer inspiration for effective and enjoyable rehearsals:

  • Be yourself.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Care about your students.
  • Call students by name.
  • Have high expectations for your students.
  • Focus on the well-behaving singers.
  • Be encouraging.
  • Insist on good posture.
  • Insist that students watch the conductor.
  • Insist on good choral tone.
  • Know and love the music.
  • Have your students sight-sing every day.
  • Have the singers stand sometimes, sit sometimes, and move frequently.
  • Talk less, model more.
  • Talk less, make more music.
  • Don’t work just for notes–listen for entrances, cutoffs, intonation, phrasing, dynamics, diction, vowels, and word stress.
  • Make some beautiful music at every rehearsal, and bring the students’ attention to that beauty. 


Patrice Madura Ward-Steinman is a professor of music education and graduate coordinator of music education at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. Ward-Steinman is the author of two 2010 textbooks published by Routledge: Becoming a Choral Music Teacher: A Field Experience Workbook and Music Education in Your Hands: An Introduction for Future Teachers by Michael L. Mark and Patrice Madura.

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Ella Wilcox, January 19, 2012,  © National Association for Music Education