Car Thoughts: How To Get Choirs to “Sing Louder”

Spoiler- Don’t Ask Them To Sing Louder

One of the most common questions I get from choir teachers is “How do I get my kids to sing louder?! I beg and I plead, but they just don’t make any noise.”

The first mistake you made was the begging and pleading. The second mistake was asking for louder. If kids aren’t singing with enough decibels for your liking, they don’t know how. Trust me. If they did, you will be spending most of your time getting them to shut up and sing softer! Once kids figure this out, they LOVE to hear their own resonance. Tune in for some ideas on my preferred approach.

Car Thoughts

Once you establish these expectations, the next step is accountability. This is where your grading system is HUGE. Once they know how to sing this way, continuing to do so becomes part of their grade. See more about this system here:

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
10th Graders Applying Concepts of Resonance during Sight Reading AND rehearsal
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com
For an example of masked and distanced rehearsal with advanced kids who are well versed in these ideas.

Episode 65: The Art of Community with Dr. Iona Italia

Shared goals are more important than any other factors when building community. Not shared cultures, shared backgrounds, or shared talents. We just need to want the same things. Choirs are typically natural breeding grounds of this type of shared interest. In this episode I compare notes with writer, podcaster and Tango instructor Dr. Iona Italia on the the ways we build community in our artistic spaces. She brings her experience living all over the world and participating in many cultures and the common threads in all of those efforts, while I just continue to notice more and more parallels to what we do in group singing. There is a little bit of something for everyone here, including my first E for explicit rating. Something about Iona just makes you want to take off the filter. Tune in and prepare to be fascinated by one of my most interesting guests!

Episode 65

Highlights include:

  • In both group singing and in tango, the music looses some of its value when we are apart.
  • The importance of accountability to each other
  • Thoughts about how music and dance can cause a beautiful melding of cultures when we allow it.
  • The intimacy of the connections formed. Dance and choir romances! Why is sexual connection so common in choir and tango?
  • An entire bonus episode about an hour in on our political philosophies related to discourse.

About Iona From Her Website:

Half Scottish, half Indian by origin, I lived in the UK, Germany and the US before settling in Argentina, where I have been working as a freelance writer and translator since 2006. I speak three foreign languages—Spanish, German and French—with fluency and confidence.

I am currently subeditor of Areo Magazine and host of the magazine’s podcast, Two for Tea.

I have translated texts ranging from literature, through business and technical material, to websites and advertising.



With a PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University, I have taught English at universities in both Europe (including Germany) and the US and have extensive experience in academic writing and editing. I’m the author of the book Anxious Employment, a history of early journalism, published by Routledge UP. I’ve published essays and articles on journalism and was joint editor of an essay collection on early periodicals (with Prof Robert Clark).

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.

Episode 64: Student Perspectives on Choir in a Pandemic with Highland High Choir and Steve Hickman

The Next Installment of the Student Perspectives Series

In this episode, I “Zoomed” in to the choral classroom of Steve Hickman at Highland High School in Gilbert, AZ. I had the privilege of speaking with Steve and his students in the Advanced Vocal Ensemble about a variety of things related to “making choir happen” over the last year during a pandemic, as well as what it meant to these kids, in their OWN words, to be able to make music together. You will also hear open and honest, unfiltered teens talking about what being in a close knit choir family means to them. I continue to find it interesting hearing about choir from the singer/student perspective. It’s why we do this after all. So, tune in and be a fly on the wall, and as always, let me know what you think!

Episode 64
www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

From Steve Hickman about Highland High School Choral Music: Highland High School is a public high school in Gilbert, Az with a little over 3,000 students. Our choir program includes 200 students, with five choirs and two teachers, one of which also teaches half her day at our feeder junior high. The choirs include two entry level ensembles separated into treble and bass, an advanced women’s ensemble, an auditioned large mixed ensemble (“Concert Choir”), and a small mixed auditioned group (Advanced Vocal) that studies chamber/vocal jazz music (though due to the peculiarities of this year we only did jazz last quarter). Our first quarter was online, second fully in person, and we are currently in a hybrid model (half the alphabet on alternating days).

Steve Hickman is currently in his 14th year teaching choral music in the Gilbert District.  A native of Arizona, Mr. Hickman grew up in Gilbert and is an alumnus of Highland High School.  Mr. Hickman was also the director of choirs at Highland Junior High for nine years and opened Gilbert’s newest High School, Campo Verde, in 2009.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Music Education from Northern Arizona University and is currently pursuing a graduate degree from Arizona State University.  Choirs under his direction have performed at numerous regional, state, and national competitions/festivals, and consistently earn superior ratings.

Mr. Hickman sings professionally in the Phoenix area, including four seasons with the Grammy award-winning Phoenix Chorale, Arizona’s only professional choral ensemble, and has served as tenor soloist at Victory Lutheran Church in Mesa for the past five years.  He has held state office and leadership positions with the American Choral Director’s Association (AzACDA) and Arizona Choral Educators (ACE) organizations and is currently the Vice President for Jazz and Show Choirs for ACE. Mr. Hickman is active as a choral clinician/adjudicator around Arizona.

Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Episode 64: Student Perspectives on Choir in a Pandemic with Highland High Choir and Steve Hickman

The Next Installment of the Student Perspectives Series

In this episode, I “Zoomed” in to the choral classroom of Steve Hickman at Highland High School in Gilbert, AZ. I had the privilege of speaking with Steve and his students in the Advanced Vocal Ensemble about a variety of things related to “making choir happen” over the last year during a pandemic, as well as what it meant to these kids, in their OWN words, to be able to make music together. You will also hear open and honest, unfiltered teens talking about what being in a close knit choir family means to them. I continue to find it interesting hearing about choir from the singer/student perspective. It’s why we do this after all. So, tune in and be a fly on the wall, and as always, let me know what you think!

Episode 64
www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

From Steve Hickman about Highland High School Choral Music: Highland High School is a public high school in Gilbert, Az with a little over 3,000 students. Our choir program includes 200 students, with five choirs and two teachers, one of which also teaches half her day at our feeder junior high. The choirs include two entry level ensembles separated into treble and bass, an advanced women’s ensemble, an auditioned large mixed ensemble (“Concert Choir”), and a small mixed auditioned group (Advanced Vocal) that studies chamber/vocal jazz music (though due to the peculiarities of this year we only did jazz last quarter). Our first quarter was online, second fully in person, and we are currently in a hybrid model (half the alphabet on alternating days).

Steve Hickman is currently in his 14th year teaching choral music in the Gilbert District.  A native of Arizona, Mr. Hickman grew up in Gilbert and is an alumnus of Highland High School.  Mr. Hickman was also the director of choirs at Highland Junior High for nine years and opened Gilbert’s newest High School, Campo Verde, in 2009.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Music Education from Northern Arizona University and is currently pursuing a graduate degree from Arizona State University.  Choirs under his direction have performed at numerous regional, state, and national competitions/festivals, and consistently earn superior ratings.

Mr. Hickman sings professionally in the Phoenix area, including four seasons with the Grammy award-winning Phoenix Chorale, Arizona’s only professional choral ensemble, and has served as tenor soloist at Victory Lutheran Church in Mesa for the past five years.  He has held state office and leadership positions with the American Choral Director’s Association (AzACDA) and Arizona Choral Educators (ACE) organizations and is currently the Vice President for Jazz and Show Choirs for ACE. Mr. Hickman is active as a choral clinician/adjudicator around Arizona.

Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

How NOT to Write Your Cancellation Essay

UNLOCKED

This episode is an UNLOCKED Patreon only episode that I released in October at the Choralosophy Podcast private feed. I am releasing it here now in an effort to encourage some deep thinking about the Choral Profession and our recent flourish of colleague cancellation. This particular episode looks back at the essay written by composer Daniel Elder as an attempt to protest his treatment by Choral Zeitgest.

Unlocked Analysis of Daniel Elder Essay

You Can Unlock ALL Private Podcasts by subscribing for 3$ a month at Choralosophy’s Patreon Page

In this line by line analysis of his essay I discuss the concepts outlined therein of “Critical Theory,” color blind auditions, and whether or not we have abandoned a “golden age” of diversity for something worse. Or, are we truly and equally marching forward? Tune in to this analysis and let me know what you think.

Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Episode 63: “We Face People.” The Courage of the Choir with Bob Chilcott

An installment of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast

In choral music, in a different way than in other types of music making, WE ARE the instrument. This creates a unique vulnerability within choral music. If my saxophone is flat, I can fix the ligature, and EXTERNALIZE the problem. With singers, we must still fix technical things, but we can’t escape INTERNALIZING the problem. In a profound way, the same reason many are attracted to singing, is the reason many are also afraid of it. There is power in conquering that fear.

In this open conversation, renowned composer, arranger and long time King’s Singer Bob Chilcott and I discuss performance anxiety, the unique properties of choral music, his transitions between performer and conductor, and much more. This conversation is a must listen!

Episode 63: Bob Chilcott
Episode 63

Learn More About Bob and His Music!

As a composer, conductor, and singer, Bob Chilcott has enjoyed a lifelong association with choral music, first as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and for 12 years as a member of the King’s Singers.  He became a full-time composer in 1997, and has produced a large catalogue of music for all types of choirs which is published by Oxford University Press.  His most often performed pieces include Can you hear me?A Little Jazz MassRequiem, and the St John Passion.

Bob has conducted choirs in more than 30 countries worldwide and has worked with many thousands of amateur singers across the UK in a continuing series of Singing Days. For seven years he was conductor of the Chorus of The Royal College of Music in London and since 2002 he has been Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers. In 2017 Bob was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by The Royal School of Church Music and in 2019 takes up the role of Principal Conductor Birmingham University Singers.

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

His music has been widely recorded by leading British choirs and groups including The King’s Singers, King’s College, Cambridge, Wells Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, The BBC Singers, The Bach Choir, Commotio, and Ora. In 2016 he enjoyed a collaboration with the celebrated singer Katie Melua on the album In Winter.  In 2017 two new discs were released by Commotio and Choralis – All Good Things on Naxos, and In Winter’s Arms on Signum, his first recording collaboration with an American choir.  Newer recording projects are with the BBC Singers, Houston Chamber Choir, and Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir.

Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.

Thoughts on What ‘Elitism” Means in Choral Music

Many people use the term “elitist” to describe aspects of choral music.

The problem, as I see it is that this term means different things to different people. So in this short verbal essay, I reflect on the need to be specific when we criticize. I also discuss some places that I see Elitism in choral music. From the teacher training programs to the trenches of the profession, as well as in conversations on what it means to be a “great” choir. Should we avoid language that seeks to elevate some choral ensembles as “great” and risk creating an elitist culture? Or, is such a hierarchy a necessary outgrowth of working toward performance art related goals? *audio on this episode is not normal. I am traveling!

A Car-less episode of Car Thoughts!

Some possible areas that draw this type of critique:

  • The concept of “what it means to be a good choir.”
  • How much focus gets placed on musical elements being “perfect.”
  • How does Academia contribute to elitism in the training of teachers?
  • Are there aspects of teaching “in the trenches” that are hard to see until you’re there?
www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Tune in via podcast platforms or on YouTube for the first volley of the conversation. Then feel free to add your thoughts in the Choralosophers facebook group or in the response form on the main page of choralosophy.com

A modified Car Thoughts Episode
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com