Choral Methods

Fall 2007


Instructor:  Dr. Joe Hickman                                       phone:962-3588 or 7104

Office: CAB 1060                                                            hours: 8:30-10 daily (tent.)

e mail:                                     class: CAB 1059


Texts:  Assigned readings from books, journals, library, and internet


Goals:  Development of skills in the teaching, directing and managing of choral ensembles.  A series of topics will be discussed, including such matters as the auditioning and classification of voices, rehearsal planning, teaching of choral musicianship, choral voice building, selecting and learning of repertoire, etc.  One of  the main objectives of the class will be for each individual to develop a manual for reference in the operation of choral ensembles.


Methodology:  This is a seminar course, with your outside preparation  (research, reading, observation and field research) leading to seminar discussion with responsibility to you for participation in those discussions. There is a difference between opinion, fact, and presentation of the considered opinions of others (based on your experience and/or research).


Evaluation:  Your preparation for class discussion is a primary factor in the evaluation of your work. You are to maintain a notebook with all lecture notes, reading notes, notes about discussions, and research reports contained in a clearly presented form (preferably typewritten).  In lieu of “exams” tI will ask to see the notebook periodically.  At least half the grade will be based on the notebook, and the remainder will be based on presentations, class participation and contributions to class discussion and joint research projects.  You will receive status reports with the return of the notebook periodically and may ask at any time (in person and privately in accordance with policies of the University and privacy lawas).


Attendance policy:  Regular attendance is required.  Because a daily grade is given to each student for each session, because that grade will be 0 if you are absent (for whatever reason), and because daily absences cannot be made up; it is in your best interests to attend each session. 




Choral Methods

Possible Course Topics/Outline


1.   General Overview:  topics of general interest

      a.  types of choruses (taped examples), including boy choirs, mixed choirs, etc.

      b.   auditioning and classifying singers.

      c.   establishing levels of choirs in a program.

      d.   setting goals for the choir other than the next concert.

      e.   why people join choirs.                                      

      f.    characteristics of a good choral conductor.

      g.   rehearsal and performance seating.

      h.   evaluation of individual singers.

      i.    professional organizations for choral musicians.

      j.    bibliographic tools for the study of choral music.

2.   Sight-singing and choral musicianship

      a.  integrating musicianship into the rehearsal.

      b.   "process" vs. "product"

      c.   use of movement to teach music.

      d.   But what do I do about differing levels of choral experience in my group?

3.   Choral Voice Building

      a.   Warm ups and vocal exercise.

      b.  integrating voice building into the rehearsal.

      c.   posture and breathing.

      d.   pacing and rehearsal management.

      e.   diction.

      f.    blend and balance.

4.   Style and Interpretation

      a.   Performing practice (including gospel and jazz).

      b.   evaluation of performing materials.

      c.   acoustics and the effect on interpretation.

      d.   phrasing and articulation.

      e.   tempo and dynamics.

5.   Programming and repertoire

      a.   Finding new pieces--expanding your repertoire.

      b.   Planning the year.

      c.   Planning the orchestra rehearsal.

      d.   Evaluation criteria for new pieces.

6.   Score study

      a.  Text/music overview

      b.   Bar groupings, cadences, and phrases.

      c.   Memorization chart.

      d.   Marking the score and parts.

      e.   Organizing the rehearsal.

7.   Planning a concert

      a.   Budgeting.

      b.  Promotion and publicity.

      c.   Timetable.

      d.   Post-concert review and evaluation.


8.  National Standards for Arts Education and the NC Standard Course of Study

      a.  History and development

      b.  Tools for implementation and  the measurement of outcomes

      c.  Different areas of challenge (improvisation???, self expression, etc.)

      d.  Common Ground with church and community choir professionals


9.  Professional Organizations (specifically ACDA and MENC)