Tag Archives: choral cache thursdays

Work Backwards for Success

A Choir Teacher Prepares for the New School Year

[by Guest Blogger, Denise Eaton]

We are people of “beginnings” but I have found that teaching requires something more from me. Instead of thinking about the beginning of the year, think backwards. Make a list of the things that went well last year and the things upon which you would like to improve. Be very specific about both your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher. One example could be that you feel very good about your ability to teach repertoire, but your classroom organizational skills need improvement. While thinking in that vein, begin planning to implement the “how to’s,” “what to do” and “what not to do’s” which will effect a successful beginning.

Confession: After twenty-nine years in the profession, I still attend the “Tried and Proven” and “Jump Start Your Year” -type sessions at conventions because I fret over what to do at the beginning of the year. They target young teachers but I am proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. It is crucial that there be a thorough classroom management plan in order to establish boundaries and expectations between you and your students. Procedures for checking roll, getting in seats, distribution of music/materials, picking and putting up folders, etc. must be well thought-out. Anticipate and have a plan for anything and everything your students will “throw” at you and know that it is impossible to over prepare.

Consider the concepts you taught last year, how you would like to build upon them, and any new ones you would like to teach this year. My list consists of:

  •  Continued rhythm growth: Extracting rhythms from repertoire, review of rhythm and relative duration (a very basic presentation of note values), and through selected drills from the Sueta Rhythm Vocabulary (ask your band director – he/she should have Sueta and many more you could use).
  • ŸInterval identification and drills: We begin the year speaking and singing steps and thirds, steps and thirds, steps and thirds. It is impossible to over enforce these basic tenets of sight reading throughout the year. Next we’ll begin the introduction of fundamentals from the SMART Book  in the tonality of the song(s) being introduced.
  • Ÿ Sight Reading: My high school Chorale used to begin the year sight reading The Lord Bless You and Keep You. Since it is four-part, it is at least eight days of sight reading, as everyone learns all four parts. The order of teaching events consisted of : chant text in rhythm, audiatesolfegge, and then sing solfegge.  The “amen” section is a great place to begin as the choir can successfully make the transition from syllables/neutral syllables to text. The song will be a great way to get them singing, but we would also begin some sort of sight singing series, be it SMART, Jenson, or portions of each.
  • ŸRepertoire: [All the time] I’m listening to CDs, digging through my “possible” music stacks, ordering single copies of songs heard while judging, attending festivals, and conventions.  Initially, my “possible” stacks start off high; I put anything and everything I think I might be able to teach plus all that my choir might be able to execute. It is then time to play through the songs, looking at range, harmonies, etc. all the while paying particular attention to exposure of each part.  This helps determine whether the song will show off a choir’s strengths or draw attention to their weaknesses. Eventually, there is a short stack for each choir. After much study and thought to what will provide a varied and interesting program, next is score study and teaching material preparation. It is always good, however, to keep a few songs in reserve; once you have actually heard your choir and you get to know their collective strengths/weaknesses, your repertoire choices could change.
  • ŸAssessment: Implement some creative ways to assess your students. Assign a part learning assignment using technology (Carl Fischer and BriLee have FREE down-loadable part-by-part recordings online); and writing assignments – nothing long and elaborate – merely a tool to get to know students better and to assess their strengths and weaknesses as communicators. In addition to their writing, the students will develop a word bank of musical terms and any vocabulary I use when teaching that they can not readily define. Rhythm counting drills are always fun and can be made into a competition/game between sections.

In closing, I hope that by working backwards, you can move forward as a teacher this year. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, to ask questions and to share your ideas with trusted colleagues in order to get feed-back and encourage dialogue. We are all in this together!

— Denise Eaton, a former TMEA President and active educator, joined the editorial team of Carl Fisher in 2011, where she serves as their choral editor. Carl Fischer, and their sister company, Theodore Presser, are leading publishers of educational choir sheet music, band sheet music, piano sheet music, orchestra sheet music, and much more.
 
 

Arranging Pop Tunes for Choir

For Choral Cache Thursday, here’s an article that was recently written for “Ledger Lines,” an e-newsletter that is produced by Alfred Publishing. It’s written by Michael Spresser, one of Alfred’s choral editors:

Arranging Today’s Pop Chorals
By Michael Spresser
Alfred Pop & Lawson-Gould Editor

In the history of choral music, the arranging of popular music is still a relatively new phenomenon. Some of the earliest arrangements of popular songs of the day were developed in the 1930s, when Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians became one of the first ensembles known for singing ‘pop’ music. As you know, many of today’s current top pop songs are lyrically inappropriate, lack a strong melody, or the melody simply isn’t conducive to choral harmony.What does Alfred look for in a current pop choral arrangement? Many of the same things that are found in any successful choral composition:

– Does the melody stay within an appropriate range and tessitura for developing voices?

– Does the arranger use the best voice-leading possible? In other words, do the parts move in a way that help a singer experience success?

– Does the arrangement allow for proper and healthy vocal technique?

– Does the arrangement replicate the sound of the original while allowing for solid choral harmony?

– Does the arrangement encourage the building of listening skills and the teaching of basic musical concepts?

– Does the accompaniment enhance, while still supporting, the choral parts?

– Is the arrangement rhythmically accurate (true to the original), without being difficult to read?

– Does the arrangement allow solo opportunities where appropriate?

All of these questions, and more, are considered when we select our current pop arrangements. Arrangements that maintain choral integrity while also maintaining the style of the original are [some of the hallmarks] of Alfred publications.

Check out some of their newest releases that were featured at our recent choral reading session event, Sing-a-bration!


*Content used by permission of Alfred Publishing Company.

Sing-a-bration 2011 Wrap-Up

Greetings from Texas!

Were you able to attend Sing-a-bration in Lewisville, and want to make sure that you got the best-of-the-best for the upcoming school year? Or, were you unable to join us, and you’d like know what you missed?

Either way, here are some visuals from our recent event! First, check out our photo gallery (which is posted on Flickr, YouTube and Facebook, too). It’s always fun to see people in their element…!

Next, here are some resources posted just for you! Below are the 2011 Sing-a-bration titles that were highlighted at our recent workshop event at the Lewisville Convention Center (aka Hilton Garden Inn) in Lewisville, TX.

They’re presented as slide shows, session by session (Sing-a-bration Elementary, Sing-a-bration Secondary, Joy of Singing Elementay, Joy of Singing Middle School/High School, Joy of Worship w/ Multi-Pub Sacred Music Reading Session, and John Jacobson Choregraphy Workshop).

Simply browse through the slide shows (through www.slideshare.net/pendersmusicco). View each of the titles, and if you see one that you are interested in, click on the sheet music/cover image of it: You’ll then go directly to more information about it on our website.

(www.penders.com)

To make a purchase, Add quantities to your Pender’s Online Shopping Cart, etc.

Don’t miss out! Now’s the time to stock up for FALL! And don’t forget to use the coupon code — Singabration — to get a 10% discount on your order

(through September 1st, 2011)

New for YOU! Joy of Singing in two tracks!

New for YOU!

Joy of Singing ELEMENTARY -and- MIDDLE SCHOOL/HIGH SCHOOL @ Sing-a-bration 2011!

For the first time ever, Hal Leonard’s very popular Joy of Singing session will be offered in two tracks during our Sing-a-bration weekend of choral workshops. By popular demand, we worked closely with our publisher partner in creating a schedule that allows us to have two Joy of Singing sessions running concurrently with each other. The sessions are scheduled for Friday, July 15th, from 9am to 4pm @ the Lewisville Convention Center.

The Elementary session will be led by clinicians Roger Emerson, John Jacobson, Mac Huff, and Cristi Cary Miller. Hal Leonard’s Classroom Reading material, which in the past has been scheduled as a separate event, will be incorporated throughout the day. In addition to the classroom reading, Joy of Singing Elementary will feature musicals, collections, classroom resources, octavos and more.

Joy of Singing for Middle School/High School will include octavos, medleys, large works and other choral resources. Clinicians scheduled are Roger Emerson, Mac Huff, John Jacobson, and Denise Eaton (Spring, TX).

Online registrations for all of our Sing-a-bration choral reading workshops has begun, and the full schedule, pricing information, lodging options and more are available by clicking on the Sing-a-bration logo, located here, or on our main website, http://www.penders.com/.

Spend your weekend with us!

Sing-a-bration 2011

July 14th through 16th

Lewisville Convention Center – Lewisville, TX.

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Sing-a-bration Elementary – Thursday, July 14th – 9am to 4pm

Sing-a-bration Secondary – Thursday, July 14th – 9am to 4pm

Joy of Singing Elementary – Friday, July 15th – 9am to 4pm

Joy of Singing Middle School/High School – Friday, July 15th – 9am to 4pm

John Jacobson Choreography Workshop – Saturday, July 16th – 9am to 4pm

Joy of Worship – Saturday, July 16th, 9am to 4pm

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Choral Cache Thursdays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

Easter Anthems – Pender’s Top 25

If you’re a choral director who is involved in a church music ministry, perhaps one of the toughest jobs you may have is simply selecting the music that will be used for each service. There are many things to consider:  The message, the musicianship and capabilities of your choir, your audience, the time you have to prepare, etc.

And that decision can be made even more difficult when the music is to be used for a holiday or celebration service. With so many choices out there, it’s sometimes easy to feel overwhelmed in trying to pick the right music at the right time that’s just perfect for you and your group. With Easter now a few weeks away, it’s likely that those decisions were made some time ago. But, if for some reason you’re still looking for something, here’s a Pender’s Top 25 list of SATB Anthems for Easter.

And who knows? Save this list, and maybe you can use something from it next year!

22848661  Hallelujah Resurrection Day (Shackley)

22848161  Cup of Sorrow (Berry)
22847361  His Eye is on the Sparrow (arr. Hayes)

22826561  Christ is Risen (Pote)

22835861  Let the Rocks Cry Out (Sterling)

22873861  When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (arr. Forrest)

22830261  He is Alive (Raney)

22852261  Crown Him Redeemer King (arr. Shackley)

22826661  Joy in the Morning (Sleeth/arr. Raney)

22873561  I Know that My Redeemer Lives (arr. Forrest)

22850461  Glorious Risen Christ (Larson)

22848961  I Will Rise (arr.
McDonald)
22847261  Lord Have Mercy (Choplin)

22850861  To Calvary (Koerts)

17528061  Shouts of Hosanna (Purifoy)

22848061  Blessed is He Who Comes (Mayo)

21653161  The Cross (Beethoven/arr. Young)

22835461  Alleluia Christ is Risen (arr. Pethel)

22851661  Power of His Blood (arr. Curry)

22836461  Man of Sorrows (Sorenson)

22848261  Resurrection Power (Fettke)

22842861  Canticle for Easter (Haydn & Mozart/arr. Williams)
22841961  Enter Paradise (Stone & Braselton/arr. Stone)
22820961  Agnus Dei (Smith/arr. Larson)
22847461  Mystery of the Savior’s Love (Schram & Baertschi)

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Choral Cache Thursdays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

Best Communities for Music Education

There are only a couple of days left to participate in NAMM’s Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) Survey: Amid a backdrop of arts education budget cuts, now more than ever, a “Best Communities for Music Education” designation can help sustain and grow your music program.

The NAMM Foundation annually recognizes schools across the U.S. that support music education and provide opportunities for children and young people to learn and grow with music. Their survey has been conducted annually since 1998.

The Survey: It’s online NOW for schools and school districts, and will be available until March 13, 2011.

The List: The projected announcement of the BCME final roster is Monday, May 2, 2011.

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Choral Cache Thursdays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

 

The Choir & the Community

Is your choir in a community that supports the arts, and supports your music program? If so, you might want to fill out a nationwide survey that searches for communities whose [music] programs exemplify commitment to music education.

Once analyzed, your school or school district might be listed as an official NAMM Best Community for Music Education.

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What you need to know:

NAMM: The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association that unifies, leads and strengthens the $17 billion global music products industry.

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The NAMM Foundation:  A non-profit organization with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.

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Best Communities for Music Education (BCME): Amid a backdrop of arts education budget cuts, the NAMM Foundation continues its effort to recognize schools across the U.S. that support music education and provide opportunities for children and young people to learn and grow with music. Their survey has been conducted annually since 1998.

The List: The projected announcement of the BCME final roster is Monday, May 2, 2011.

_______________________

Choral Cache Thursdays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

The Texas Original Score Contest Wants You!

How would you like to win up to $25,000 for your choir? Wouldn’t that be something? $25,000, to put toward important supplies and resources for your school’s music program.

Well, as the well-known slogan says…State Farm is there [to give you a chance to win money for your choir]. That’s right. All you have to do is enter the Texas Original Score Contest, a combined initiative courtesy of TMEA and State Farm Insurance.

With a commitment of  $100,000 from State Farm, a Texas high school music program has the potential to win up to $25,000! All you and your students have to do is create and perform an original score that reflects something great about the state of Texas. One of the beauties of this particular contest is that schools of all sizes can get involved, and be judged appropriately. 1A-3A high schools will compete in one pool; 4A-5A in another. Additionally, you can use just one part of your fine arts program (i.e. the choir), or combine the efforts of everyone, and produce a collaborative project among multiple music groups (choir, band, orchestra, etc) from your school.

What do you need to do? In a nutshell:

  • compose an original score that reflects something great about Texas,
  • bring together an ensemble of high school student musicians to perform the composition

Winning ensembles will be determined based on their composite score comprising three components: (1) the number of votes received in relation to the total possible number of votes in the contest (500 points), (2) score received from Texas Original Score Contest Adjudication panel based on standard TMEA/UIL competition criteria and integration of TEKS in the collaboration and creation process (250 points), and (3) score received from music industry adjudication panel, including members of Los Lonely Boys and other music industry professionals.

Go to the contest website to download the teacher handbook, review the rules, and learn more about how you and your students can participate.

(information courtesy of TMEA & OriginalScoreContest.com)

Choral Cache Thursdays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!

Sing-a-bration is Makin’ a Move!

Exciting, important announcement! The Pender’s Music Company summer choral event, Sing-a-bration, is MOVING! That’s right. Our weekend of workshops that has been held in Grapevine for the last several years is getting a new home, and we’re all pretty excited about it around here, so we wanted to get the word out early to all of you.

We’re moving to Lewisville, TX to the Lewisville Convention Center, aka The Hilton Garden Inn. The dates for 2011 are from Thursday, July 14th through Saturday, July 16th. All workshops, each day (and the Pender’s on-site store), will be held in the convention center meeting space, which is attached to the Hilton Garden Inn. This facility is conveniently located at Exit 447B of Interstate I-35, near the intersection of I-35 and State Highway 121.

We have many reasons to be excited about moving to Lewisville and the Hilton Garden Inn:

  • There is more than enough meeting space for all of our workshops (and the Pender’s store). We’ll all be under ONE roof, for the duration of the event.
  • The Hilton Garden Inn is only three years old. It’s a beautiful hotel, is carpeted throughout, etc. The convention space is attached to the hotel, and can be accessed through an inside corridor near the main lobby, or through its separate main entrance that is adjacent to a huge parking area (free). There will be plenty of room for everyone.
  • In addition to the Hilton Garden Inn, there are several great hotels in the area, and we’ve set aside room blocks at three others, with very reasonable room rates, beginning at $79 per night.
  • The larger meeting space(s) allow us more flexibility in scheduling, and what we’re able to offer each of you. We’ve listened to your feedback, and we have some wonderful plans in store (more on that in a bit).
  • All food and beverage will be catered through the Hilton Garden Inn, which means that the hotel’s catering/convention staff will be there for us, the entire time.
  • We will have a completely separate area set up for lunch, at round tables – and if the weather is good, we may even dine out alfresco, on the Tuscany Garden Patio, with its covered pavilion and fountain.
  • Free wireless internet throughout the meeting space.
  • The Lewisville Convention Center is just minutes from Vista Ridge Mall, many other shopping areas, dozens of restaurants, etc. With Lewisville Lake, golf courses and more, there’s something in the area for everyone.

The NEW Schedule

Thursday, July 14th (9am to 4pm)

The first day remains our traditional Sing-a-bration day – Multi-Publisher workshops, in two tracks – Elementary and Secondary — with Andy Beck (Alfred Publishing Co.), Mary Lynn Lightfoot (Heritage Music Press), and Greg Gilpin (Shawnee Press).

Friday, July 15th (9am to 4pm)

For Day Two, we have something NEW! Yes, it’s still Hal Leonard’s popular Joy of Singing (not to worry), but for the first time ever, this day will ALSO be in two tracks – Choose Elementary or Middle School/High School. The Elementary track WILL include Classroom Reading with Cristi Cary Miller. The other featured clinicians from Hal Leonard, for both tracks, are Roger Emerson, Mac Huff and John Jacobson. We also welcome Denise Eaton for the first time, to round out the Middle School/High School slate of presenters.

Saturday, July 16th (9am to 4pm)

On Day Three, there will be two different workshops, running concurrently – the ever-popular John Jacobson Choreography and Reading session, as well as a full day of Joy of Worship, our church session.

Half of the church session will be presented by Hal Leonard and their affiliated publishers (Brookfield Press, Daybreak Music, Integrity, Fred Bock, and more); the other half will be our Multi-Publisher offerings (Alfred, Beckenhorst, Lorenz, Roger Dean, Shawnee Press, and others). Our clinicians for Joy of Worship will include Joseph Martin and Mary McDonald.

Hotel Information

Here is the information regarding the blocks of rooms that we have set aside for Singabration. Please use the appropriate Group Codes, etc, in order to receive the correct rate.

Hilton Garden Inn (Lewisville Conv Ctr)
785 SH 121
972-459-4600
$129 Group Code PENDER

Hampton Inn & Suites
2650 Lake Vista Dr
972-315-3200
$99 Group Code: PEN

Courtyard Marriott
2701 Lake Vista Drive
972-316-3100
$89 Group Code: Singabration

Comfort Suites
755A Vista Ridge Mall Dr
(972) 315-6464
$79 *Mention Pender’s Music Co.