The Value of the Individual

The greatness of a choir is not found in the group as a whole! Greatness is found in each individual’s investment in the process of deep learning. When individual members express value and take responsibility for their learning magical things begin to happen. There is no magic, however, that can replace knowing music fundamentals: Instant recognition of note names, key signatures, rhythmic patterns, and chromatic solfege are central to success. Don’t be a follower. BE A LEADER! Commit to using musictheory.net to establish your fundamental skills. DO IT!!!!

What a great rehearsal!

This morning, Choralation walked into the choir room to discover mics in place for “It don’t mean a thing”. The student’s energy exploded and we had a remarkable rehearsal. It makes me pause for a moment to reflect on why it was so great. Expectations were high, students were engaged, thoughtful, self-reflective, receptive to new ideas and challenges and eager to go to the next level. Icing on the cake was singing in the main office and the tunnel! Happy day! Sky’s the limit!

Honoring a great director!

Sir David Willcocks, retired conductor of the famed King’s College Choir and London Bach Choir passed away today. He was 95. An important conductor and choral arranger, Sir David was kind, approachable and generous of spirit. He will be missed. I had the privilege of singing under his baton at the Green Lake Music Festival in Ripon, Wisconsin when he was in his 70s. As a conductor Sir David was witty, humble and unrelenting in his demand for perfection.

Going slow to go fast!

What does it mean to consume the page? How do we look at a piece of music and see everything that we need to do? Things like: notes, rhythms, dynamics, and articulations? This is the architecture of the music. Without it, it is hard to get to the nuances of vowels, blend and balance. And it slows rehearsal way down! So that we can have fast, lively rehearsals, we need to do what a mentor of mine, Stafford Boyd, says: “sometimes you have to go slow to go fast”.

So that is what we are going to do. We are going to slow down and spend time looking at the fundamentals of music architecture. The goal will be to become fluent in the following areas:

Note Names; Key Signatures; Interval Recognition (visual and aural); Time Signatures; and Understanding Rhythmic Units within Time Signatures

Understanding PITCH is about understanding notes in relation to each other in the context of a key signature. A series of notes will be a collection of pitches that go up, down or stay the same. The trick is to hear the pitches in the context of a scale. If you can find DO and SO you are going to do great. TI and RE are neighbors to DO. LA and FA are neighbors to SO.

Go to the STUDY LINKS and click on musictheory.net! Go to exercises and click on Key signatures. The name of the key is DO. See how you can begin to visually recognize key signatures.

What’s Next? What’s Possible? – Opening Day!

My good colleague, Dr. Geoffrey Boers from the University of Washington asks these questions of his singers. I do too!

I can’t wait to meet everybody on Wednesday and Thursday! How exciting to open this new chapter! The Leadership Team has been so helpful! The room looks great. I can’t wait to hear each choir sing. Music will be ready! Each choir will sing on Opening Day! And play ice breaker games! And meet new friends!

Can you imagine the joy of hearing your choir singing? It is going to be fantastic!

So what is next? And what is possible? Come Wednesday and Thursday and find out!

Listening Sessions Coming!

Part of my joy in transitioning to Tigard High School will come in the meeting of all the choir students and choir parents. Very soon I will be hosting small group listening sessions with members of the choir leadership and parents to learn as much as I can about what aspects of the choir program are important to you. What are the things that you have valued in the past, traditions and experiences that you want to see continue and to hear about things that you may want to explore that are new. So I am looking forward to hearing about the core things that you think make the choirs at Tigard great! Exciting times ahead!