Episode 109: Doing the Business of Choir with Alex Gartner

Do you think of yourself as a “choir leading business person?” I am going to guess that most of you don’t, and I’m going to suggest that maybe you should. There are aspects of leading any type of choral program that require business acumen in order to excel. This makes many of us bristle as artists because we love to stay wrapped up in the emotional and in the art. But the reality is that we often have to call upon skills that our training programs didn’t prepare us with. They didn’t teach us tax law, or marketing or accounting, but we have to develop these skills or our programs fall apart. So I had a conversation with Alex Gartner about that very thing. Tune in as we discuss the business of doing choir.

Alex Gartner

Find the Book!

Episode 109
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Alex Gartner serves as the Artistic & Executive Director of the Pensacola Children’s Chorus in Pensacola, FL. Under his leadership, the organization has grown to impact nearly 25,000 individuals throughout Northwest Florida, including over 5,000 youth, through innovative programs, performances, and organizational practices. He also serves the American Choral Directors Association as the Children’s and Youth R&R Coordinator for the Southern Region, is an all-state coordinator for the Florida Music Education Association, and previously served on the national arts education council with Americans for the Arts. An active clinician, guest conductor, and composer, his arrangements are available through many reputable publishers. Check out his latest work on social media or at www.AlexGartner.com.

Episode 175: Gratitude Makes Us Better. Thanksgiving Episode

In a world characterized by constant social criticism and a perpetual desire for progress, the often-overlooked emotion of gratitude emerges as a powerful catalyst for personal and societal improvement. While constructive criticism and a drive for change are essential elements in fostering growth, without a foundation of gratitude for what we DO have, individuals and…

Episode 174: Adapting the Science of Reading To Music

In this episode, In this episode I will be referencing a few resources, provided in the Patreon Google Folder. The “Science of Reading” refers to a large body of interdisciplinary evidence. The past 40 years has yielded tremendous, interdisciplinary insights into the process of learning to read, gathered from developmental psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, developmental linguistics,…

Episode 108: Dropping the Covid Ball with Dr. Nikki Johnson

The Return of Covid Conversations!

Sadly, many of us in education have lived at the epicenter of the Covid Wars. Possibly the biggest political football during the pandemic has been what to do with the kids, and what to do with schools. For those of us in choral music, we lived at that intersection along with a hysteria created at first by our very own professional organizations. This contributed to a perfect storm of lost positions, cut programs, recruiting problems and a laundry list of misplaced apprehensions about singing. Facts that I am still not sure we have all come to terms with. Of course, it is important to remember that in this cross fire were students and community members displaced from life affirming and often life saving educational and humanizing opportunities. While it is always reasonable to weigh new risks against old norms, it is not reasonable to present our preferred policies as if they have no downsides worthy of heavy consideration. In this episode I speak with Pediatrician, and Covid Policy Advocate Dr. Nikki Johnson about the “Harm Reduction” approach to Covid Policy, the political blinders we all wore or still wear, and many errors in reasoning to which this contributed. One of the big errors singers have made is the role masks play in our safety.

Dr. Nikki Johnson

We also discuss the difference between a high quality signers mask designed to STAY ON while you sing… (Like the new Resonance 95 from MyMusicFolders.com Don’t forget to use your promo code!) and just wearing any old mask for any amount of time, flopping your jaw around willy nilly. Finally, we do a bit of prognosticating about ways to process in a more healthy way in the next wave.

A look back to this audience’s appeal to ACDA about Covid Messaging signed by over 250 colleagues.

Episode 108

A rational approach to Covid policy for our schools and institutions is forward looking, measured and responsive to the most recent information and community health outcomes.

Enter Choralosophy at Checkout for a 5% discount when you shop for folders, robes and other gear for your choir program! www.mymusicfolders.com and www.mychoirrobes.com
Sign up for a one year membership today and get a month free!

Materials Referenced in the Episode

NYT Article Mentioned RE Mask effectiveness vs. Mask POLICY

The US was an outlier on School Closures

Early in the Pandemic, Europe Was Much Quicker to Get Kids Back to School

Urgency of Normal Toolkit

Episode 171: The Culture of Choral Musicianship with David Hill

This week, I have the honor of crossing the pond virtually to discuss the profound yet often overlooked concept of “vocal musicianship.” Joining me is a distinguished guest, David Hill whose passion and advocacy for choral music spans from the professional to the amateur singer. David is the conductor of London’s renowned Bach Choir. We…

Episode 107: Retention Matters MORE than Recruitment

Episode 107

Straight out of the archives! Most of my live presentations are reserved for Patreon Subscribers, but I felt so strongly about the ideas in this presentation, I decided to air it out for everybody. It is my belief that when we talk about building choral programs, or any program for that matter, we do WAY too much playing from behind and not enough building for the long haul. Are the numbers too low? Then surely we have to recruit! Well, we do, but if we are focused every year, every day on RETENTION, then we are saving for a rainy day. We become squirrels storing the nuts.

So, what are the The Missing Elements?

  • Your overall curriculum
  • Concert season goals
  • Team building ethos
  • Gradual, competent, comfort zone expansion
  • Now, you’re ready for choosing the right rep… but that’s it’s own podcast
Episode 107
Enter Choralosophy at Checkout for a 5% discount when you shop for folders, robes and other gear for your choir program! www.mymusicfolders.com and www.mychoirrobes.com
YouTube Version

Episode 106: If Every One Agrees, We Can’t Have the “Difficult Conversations” with Micah Horton

Many people think they are speaking truth to power, but they are really just preaching to the choir. This episode deals with the role of political discourse in the lives of all citizens, and educators in particular. The future of education is hanging in the balance right now as I see it, based on the highly charged political rhetoric related to public or state school governance, as well how these issues intersect with “the culture wars.” We can’t afford to oversimplify, or “Meme-ify” issues of Educational Equity, and access for students to high quality education. Micah Horton came in person to the studio, which always makes for an easier conversation. Often times, we buy in to the incentives of social media and signal our positions, rather than actually engaging in conversations about solutions. And sadly, the next generation sees our refusal to engage, and may be modeling it.

Micah Horton
Episode 106

Micah Horton is the director of choirs at Olathe North High School and serves as the Director of Worship Music at Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. Micah holds a Masters of Music Education from the UMKC Conservatory, where his research focused on Demographics & Perceptions of Racial Diversity in Middle & High School Choir Programs. He also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Music Composition and Psychology from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts. As a performer, he has been featured at state & national conventions, and has appeared on numerous recordings as both a vocalist and instrumentalist. He frequently gigs & accompanies on guitar, electric bass, and mandolin. Micah currently sings tenor with Te Deum and with the Tallgrass Chamber Choir. He has served on numerous building, regional, and state-level committees relating to DEI, teacher retention, and choral literature selection/performance practice. From 2017-19, Micah served as the Resource Chair for Multicultural Perspectives for the Missouri Choral Directors Association, and was the 2021 Prelude Award recipient for MCDA. He is a New Jersey native, proud husband & father, and a Philadelphia sports fan.

Enter Choralosophy at Checkout for a 5% discount when you shop for folders, robes and other gear for your choir program! www.mymusicfolders.com and www.mychoirrobes.com

Episode 170: Controversial Truths About Music Ed with Angela Ammerman

This week, I connect with yet another instrumental music educator! Don’t worry, I will be fine… It was a great pleasure to speak with Dr. Angela Ammerman about many music education topics including some “controversial truths” that I found on her Instagram account, “The Music Teachers Guide.” We discussed the idea that the best music…

Episode 105: Work Less Hard, Have Better Choirs

Sound too good to be true?

Well, it is if you are thinking that there is a quick and easy pill to swallow in order to get to that next level in your career. You know, the one where you simply, issue wisdom, wave your arms, say inspirational things, and the choir just SINGS! In reality, we all dream of this, but getting there isn’t easy. That’s why I can’t pull the trigger on selling the “Choralosophy Method” even though many have asked for it. I just don’t know if that would be ethical. Because fundamentally, we master our craft one tiny victory and defeat at a time. I truly believe that finding your groove in the classroom has more to do with the work you do on you than the method that you choose. It is the refinement and reinvention of our philosophies and practices that can make each year better than the one before.

In this episode, I will attempt to distill down what could be called the “Choralosophy Method” if I were to choose to sell it…and then let you listen for free. All of the episodes mentioned are linked below.

Episode 105
Enter Choralosophy at Checkout for a 5% discount when you shop for folders, robes and other gear for your choir program! www.mymusicfolders.com and www.mychoirrobes.com