Directing the Choral Music Program

Directing the Choral Music Program

Directing the Choral Music Program

Directing the Choral Music Program


Directing the Choral Music Program is a comprehensive introduction to developing and managing choral music programs from elementary through high-school and adult levels. Designed primarily as a choral methods text for the undergraduate music education curriculum, it is also useful for choraldirectors in schools, churches, and communities. Broad in scope and practical in orientation, the book is structured around three basic units: the administrative process, rehearsal and performance planning, and choral techniques. In addition to core topics--including recruitment and auditioning,classroom management, vocal development, and curriculum and performance planning--it features many subjects not covered in other texts, such as student discipline, philosophy of choral music education, and the history of choral conducting. The author also presents material on directing show choirsand musicals; organizing choir tours, festivals, and contests; working with adolescent singers; and teaching sight-reading skills. Directing the Choral Music Program incorporates study and discussion questions at the end of each chapter, numerous illustrations and musical examples, and a variety of class projects throughout. The appendixes offer helpful lists of music publishers and distributors; manufacturers ofequipment, supplies, and attire; recommended choral repertory; voice class resources; and sight-singing materials. Grounded in the author's extensive experience in directing choirs at all levels, this book combines practical methods with a research base, providing readers with a solid foundation fora career in choral directing.


Directing the Choral Music Program is a choral methods text intended primarily for undergraduate students preparing to become choral music teachers. It also will be of value to persons wanting to become church choir directors, children’s choir directors, and directors of numerous other choral organizations. Although the text covers the basics of choral preparation, experienced conductors may find the content valuable in its presentation of established concepts from a new perspective. Others may find that the text helps to fill gaps in their own background. No text can claim to be completely comprehensive, however, and this text does not make that claim. Its purpose is to impart the knowledge necessary to lay a secure and proper foundation for the development of a choral music program.

This text does not cover the area of choral conducting. Most schools have separate courses for methods and conducting, and while both are interrelated, it is not necessary to have skill in conducting before studying the contents of this text. Some basic conducting knowledge is helpful if the instructor chooses to employ microteaching rehearsal strategies as part of Unit 3 (“Choral Techniques”). A basic conducting review can be accomplished using the author’s text Basic Techniques of Conducting (Oxford University Press, 1997).

There are three units of study. Unit 1 relates the “nuts and bolts” of choral administration. Besides writing their own rationale for teaching choral music, students are to prepare promotional materials and learn how to audition singers. Unit 2 addresses the important area of “planning your work and working your plan.” Developing a code of conduct, learning to choose quality choral literature, preparing the rehearsal schedule, and understanding basic show choir choreography are just a few of the many topics covered. Unit 3 reviews basic vocal skills development and energizing the warm-up. Sight-singing procedures are discussed as well as techniques for rehearsing the choir. After a look at the many other nonschool choral organizations available to direct, the text concludes with final words on preparing to enter the professional world of the choral music educator.

While a great amount of information is covered in this text, knowing about a topic and actually being able to demonstrate it are, as everyone knows, two different things. For this reason, it is important that the student be able to demonstrate the various skills, some of which are outlined at the end of each unit under “Optional Projects.” These include public relations practices, auditioning singers, classifying voices, writing lesson plans, energizing the choral warm-up, teaching sight-singing, choosing music for a concert, working on choreography for a pop music group, rehearsing choirs, applying performance practices to music of various eras, job interviewing skills, and so forth. The more time spent in and out of class doing these various activities, the better. For example, students can learn to audition singers in class; it takes at least two times for most to become comfortable with the process. This activity is improved, however, when students are directed to find singers outside of class to audition. Also, as much as a third of class sessions may be devoted to Unit 3 and the learning of techniques for rehearsing choirs. Microteaching of five- to ten-minute lessons gives students the initial . . .

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