Tune As I Reflect On The Year, and Look Forward to 2021!
2020 is coming to a close (thank God) and I wanted to thank the readers and listeners here on ChoralNet, the Podcast channels, YouTube, or wherever you engage with Choralosophy content! This year has been year of growth for the show, and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of you!
A huge portion of that growth in 2020 were centered around two themes that got a lot of attention on the show for obvious reasons. Covid, and Social Justice related issues.
When the May webinar came out, I jumped into the fray be creating the Covid Conversations Series in which I interviewed some of the top infectious disease experts in the world in order to cut through a bit of the hype around the topic and offer a different way of looking at the issue than many had been exposed to. This project drew a lot of both positive and negative attention to the show, but it definitely drew in listeners! Ultimately, that’s why I did it. Covid affected our professions this year in a rather unique way, so I felt that a full exploration of the topic beyond “how do aerosols behave when we sing?” was warranted. As 2020 rolled on, it turns out that assumption was correct as hundreds of choirs around the world have returned to singing with risk mitigation strategies in place.
Back in February, prior to the tragic killing of George Floyd, I had decided to do a mini-series on topics surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion called “Choral Music: A HUMAN Art Form.” The episodes did well in terms of audience response and downloads prior to the pandemic. But, when the summer hit thousands more came back to download many of the episodes housed there. This was an interesting development as the discourse on social media heated up, and often times turned contentious, the conversations on this series took a different approach. Real people, just talking. In a way a Facebook discussion group cannot offer.
With both of these topics, it is likely more episodes will be added in 2021. Though, wouldn’t it be great if the world healed in a way that I didn’t feel the NEED to do more? Oh well, I guess we can dream. In the mean time, keep tuning in, and keep being part of the conversation.
Don’t bring work home with you. Grading practices and making literacy the core of the curriculum can lead to better choirs, less stress for the teacher and more time in class for a rich and in depth learning experience.
This episode takes on a unique format, in that it was birthed from listener response from a past episode on teaching literacy, and grading practices. John Sargent had been sending me some questions mostly centered around Episode 18: Ripping Off the Bandaid. I was finding answering the questions via text was too tricky, so I asked John to come on with me and flip roles and just grill me on how all of the ideas I talk about in the show play out in the real world. As we prepared to record, Nathan Connell jumped on over on Patreon with a bunch more questions.
So, tune in for a real nuts and bolts discussion about how a strategic curricular approach to literacy, vocal technique, and grading practices can make your job more fun, more fulfilling, less stressful and WAY less consuming of your free time.
Mr. Sargent is Choral Music Director at Newbury Park High School, where he conducts the Concert Choir, Women’s Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Men’s Chorus, and Advanced Women’s Ensemble. John graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Music Degree in voice and music education There, he sang in major opera productions, and studied under the tutelage of John Alexander. At Littlerock High School in the Antelope Valley, he initiated a choral program from the ground up with an enrollment of over 120 singers in three choirs, and from 2000-2003, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Antelope Valley Master Chorale at Antelope Valley College. John earned his Master of Music degree in choral conducting at California State University, Los Angeles, where he studied with Dr. William Belan and Donald Brinegar. Also known affectionately as “Sarge,” this is his 18th year teaching at Newbury Park High School.
Below are video examples of many of the ideas discussed in the episode
I am really struggling with teaching online. I know many of you are too. Since, I pick up a vibe that this is a touchy subject to discuss, I have no choice but to discuss it. Such is the lot of the podcaster, I suppose. I hope this helps somebody.