Episode 128: The Strange Relationship between Choral Music Ed and Vocal Ped with Dr. Sharon Hansen

One of the oddest things about Vocal Music Education as a profession, is how little we are required to learn in our schooling about the voice. Vocal Pedagogy courses are often the purview of voice performance majors, which is very odd considering how many more students will be impacted with vocal instruction by a person with a Music Ed degree. It is also odd considering that in many schools, vocal instruction is a key component of our course descriptions. Despite this seemingly obvious academic connection, a startlingly low number of music educators have taken any Vocal Ped, very little Voice Science is presented at conventions, and myths and misinformation litter the landscape of discussions and instruction about how the voice works. Dr. Sharon Hansen joins me to discuss this issue candidly, as well as a recounting of her battle getting ACDA to include the “On the Voice” column in the Choral Journal. You will be amazed to hear some of the reasons she was given for NOT including Vocal information in a Choral journal. An important episode that no one should miss.

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Dr. Sharon A. Hansen is Professor and Director of Choral Studies, Emerita, at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. Widely known as a conductor and master teacher throughout the United States and in Europe, Hansen has conducted the Romanian National Radio Choir (Bucharest), the Gächinger Kantorei and Bach Collegium-Stuttgart (Germany), the Stockholm (Sweden) Conservatory Chamber Choir, the Moldavian and Oltenian Philharmonic Choirs (Iasì and Craiova, Romania), and the University of Regensburg (Germany) Symphony Orchestra. Ensembles under Hansen’s direction have appeared at state, regional, and national ACDA and NAfME Conferences, and she has served as guest conductor and clinician with all-state, all-regional, and select honor choirs in more than forty states.

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Hansen is the Founder and Music Director Emerita of the Milwaukee Choral Artists, a professional women’s vocal ensemble that left a legacy of some fifty commissioned, premiered, and published new works for treble voices. Hansen authored Helmuth Rilling: Conductor – Teacher, the definitive book on renowned conductor Helmuth Rilling, when she spent sixteen months in Germany singing with Rilling and the Gächinger Chorale. As contributing author for the 2009 book Wisdom, Wit, and Will: Women Choral Conductors on their Art, Hansen’s detailed chapter on the status of collegiate women choral conductors, “Women, Conductors, and the Tenure Process: What’s Up in the Academy?”, was the first such in-depth examination since 1988. She served as a member of the Editorial Board of the American Choral Directors’ Association’s Choral Journal from 1993–2018, where she was Founder and Editor Emerita of the Choral Journal article series “On the Voice,” which she curated for eighteen years. Because of her long-time passion for voice and choral music, she examined the history of voice education in the choral classroom in ACDA’s first 50 years, which is Monograph #18 in ACDA’s monograph series.

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

Hansen received the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association’s Morris D. Hayes Award, the Milwaukee Civic Music Association’s Excellence in Choral Music Award, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s highest meritorious honors for outstanding contributions to the choral art. Prior to her twenty years in Wisconsin, Hansen was Professor of Choral Music at the University of Northern Iowa, and a vocal music teacher in the public schools near Omaha, Nebraska. Now calling Arizona her home, she recently served as lead writer on the Hal Leonard–McGraw-Hill choral textbook series Voices in Concert, and as full-time Interim Director of Music and Arts at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale. Presently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Chapter of the American Choral Directors’ Association, and is the Chorus Conductor for the Arizona Musicfest Symphony Orchestra.

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For More on This Topic

Episode 127: An Alternate Universe with Vaughan Fleischfresser

The Music Department is an alternate universe where pupils are often unrecognizable from who they are outside of it. The shy become confident. The agitated become calm. The lonely become included. The quiet become heard. And the lost become found. Music reveals the real child.

Vaughan Fleischfresser

You probably recognize this colleague just by looking at him due to his MASSIVE quantity of viral music education memes. I kept seeing them in my feed on a daily basis and have shared many myself. What I found intriguing was the talent he seems to have in the ability to distill ideas and present them in away that is both thorough AND concise. Ideas that the world NEEDS to hear about music education and its importance. In this episode, we learn about Vaughan, his professional life as an educator in the UK and Australia, and his approach to music education advocacy. You will NOT want to miss this conversation that is sure to have you excited about the future of music ed.

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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.
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!
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Originally from Australia and now residing in Scotland, Vaughan has a broad range of teaching experience, ranging from Primary through to University level, Instrumental through to Community Music, and everywhere in between. Vaughan studied both Music and Education at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane (Australia), where he studied under Dr Ralph Hultgren. This was then followed by a Master of Music Education, majoring in Instrumental and Vocal Education, at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago (USA), where he studied under Dr Charles Menghini and Dr Robert Sinclair. He has worked extensively throughout Australia, Scotland, and North America, in positions such as Teacher of Music, Director of Bands, and Teaching Fellow of Music Education. Vaughan currently teaches music at the Edinburgh Academy in Scotland, having most recently been the Teaching Fellow of Music Education and the University of Edinburgh. In addition to this, he is the Conductor of the Peebles Concert Band and works extensively with Community Music groups throughout Scotland. Away from the classroom and podium, Vaughan is in demand as a clinician, adjudicator, composer, and educational speaker, having spoken at conferences in Scotland, England, South Africa, and Canada.

Episode 126: Expanding our Musical Vocabularies with Christopher Tin

Humans aren’t capable of completely original ideas. Everything is borrowed.

This week, meet international star composer, Christopher Tin. In the choral world, we met Christopher with his blockbuster Baba Yetu, and has not slowed down since. He recently completed a project with Voces8 called “Lost Birds,” and has exciting projects coming up. In this conversation, we discuss the process of creating music for video games, versus concert performance, as well as our ideas of “cultural identity” and the way we blend cultures when music travels around the globe and through time. Christopher has a very cohesive way of describing this and how it formed his own “musical culture.” Tune in and expand your vocabulary!

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Episode 126
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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
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Christopher Tin is a two-time Grammy-winning composer of concert and media music. Time Magazine calls his music ‘rousing’ and ‘anthemic’, while The Guardian calls it ‘joyful’ and ‘an intelligent meeting of melody and theme’. His music has been performed and premiered in many of the world’s most prestigious venues: Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, the United Nations, and Carnegie Hall, where he had an entire concert devoted to his music. He has also been performed by ensembles diverse as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Metropole Orkest, and US Air Force Band.

His song “Baba Yetu”, originally written for the video game Civilization IV, is a modern choral standard, and the first piece of music written for a video game ever to win a Grammy Award. His debut album, the multi-lingual song cycle Calling All Dawns, won him a second Grammy in 2011 for Best Classical Crossover Album, and his follow-up release The Drop That Contained the Sea debuted at #1 on Billboard’s classical charts, and premiered to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. His third album To Shiver the Sky also debuted at #1, and was funded by a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign that raised $221,415, smashing all previous classical music crowdfunding records. His fourth album, The Lost Birds, is a collaboration with acclaimed British vocal ensemble VOCES8, and will be released September 2022 on Decca Classics.

Tin is signed to an exclusive record deal with Universal under their legendary Decca label, published by Concord and Boosey & Hawkes, and is a Yamaha artist. He works out of his own custom-built studio in Santa Monica, CA.

Episode 125: Making the Case for Choir with Tom Metzger

Advocacy Episode!

Our jobs as music educators, sadly, MUST include the ability to persuasively and passionately make the case in our communities that group singing opportunities are crucial. That includes keeping choirs in our churches and in our schools and community organizations. It includes having conversations with local leaders, fundraising and more. But, what makes or breaks those conversations is OUR ability to make that case air tight. Tom Metzger joins me to brainstorm and think through what happens in society when we have LESS people singing, and how we can explain it to people in more effective ways. Tom draws on his perspective as a computer scientist and choral singing enthusiast who works with choral organizations behind the scenes with the “business” side of choir. Tune in for this conversation, and TOOL UP for the Advocacy fight, because it never ends.

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Episode 125
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
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!
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
Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!
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 124: Teaching in a Famous Classroom with Myles Finn

So, what happens when you post a video on the internet from inside your classroom and it goes viral with millions and millions of views?! It’s up to you! This happened Myles Finn and he decided to use his powers for good, creating a TikTok account with approaching SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND followers that shows life inside a high school choir room as well as a treasure trove of great instructional ideas for those of us in the profession. But, perhaps the most valuable thing is the fact that thousands of people outside of our choir bubble are being exposed to our world. This is “advocacy” in the 21st Century in its purest form. Tune in as Myles and I talk about his instructional philosophy, his warm ups, teacher burnout, and how the internet fame has changed the dynamics in his classroom.

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

Myles is in his fifth year as choral director at Indianola High School, in Indianola, Iowa. He is the director of The Indianola Singers, The Apollo Chorus, and Cantare. He also co-directs Indianola’s Varsity Show Choir, Side One and directs the JV Show Choir, Flip Side. He and his wife are the directors of musicals at Indianola High School.

He is most known for his TikTok videos going Viral at the start of the 2022 school year. Amassing over 120 Million views in total, his videos have seemed to spark a love for choral music, musical theatre, and goofy choir teachers.

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

Myles received his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, and his Bachelor’s from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He directly relates his success within his classroom with his work at Michigan State, his work with Dr. Lee Nelson at Wartburg College, and his passionate high school choir director, Duane Philgreen.

Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!

Myles is a loving father and husband. He and his wife, choreographer and school counselor Haley (Rudd) Finn live in Indianola and they are proud parents to a beautiful son, Rory Lee Allen Finn. They also have three fur children, Nala, Watson, and Arlo. Follow Arlo on Instagram @arlo_seamus.

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.
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!

Find Mr. Finn on TikTok

Find Mr. Finn on Insta

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Episode 124

Episode 124: Teaching in a Famous Classroom with Myles Finn

So, what happens when you post a video on the internet from inside your classroom and it goes viral with millions and millions of views?! It’s up to you! This happened Myles Finn and he decided to use his powers for good, creating a TikTok account with approaching SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND followers that shows life inside a high school choir room as well as a treasure trove of great instructional ideas for those of us in the profession. But, perhaps the most valuable thing is the fact that thousands of people outside of our choir bubble are being exposed to our world. This is “advocacy” in the 21st Century in its purest form. Tune in as Myles and I talk about his instructional philosophy, his warm ups, teacher burnout, and how the internet fame has changed the dynamics in his classroom.

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

Myles is in his fifth year as choral director at Indianola High School, in Indianola, Iowa. He is the director of The Indianola Singers, The Apollo Chorus, and Cantare. He also co-directs Indianola’s Varsity Show Choir, Side One and directs the JV Show Choir, Flip Side. He and his wife are the directors of musicals at Indianola High School.

He is most known for his TikTok videos going Viral at the start of the 2022 school year. Amassing over 120 Million views in total, his videos have seemed to spark a love for choral music, musical theatre, and goofy choir teachers.

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

Myles received his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, and his Bachelor’s from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He directly relates his success within his classroom with his work at Michigan State, his work with Dr. Lee Nelson at Wartburg College, and his passionate high school choir director, Duane Philgreen.

Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!

Myles is a loving father and husband. He and his wife, choreographer and school counselor Haley (Rudd) Finn live in Indianola and they are proud parents to a beautiful son, Rory Lee Allen Finn. They also have three fur children, Nala, Watson, and Arlo. Follow Arlo on Instagram @arlo_seamus.

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.
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!

Find Mr. Finn on TikTok

Find Mr. Finn on Insta

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Episode 124

Episode 123: The Belonging Buffet

Obvious: All humans need to feel connected and have a sense of belonging. Less obvious: Teacher’s have less power to actually achieve this with all students than we think. We can WELCOME all students. But belonging has to be mutual and organic.

Hot take: not ALL students need this from their school or ALL of their teachers. It is our teacher ego that tells us that they do.

Episode 123

MANY kids do need this. But not all. Some have this need met at home, or at church or on a club sports team or community theater or music group. Sounds like the ideal system to me. We all need similar things, but the way we meet these needs must remain flexible and free.

The one thing ALL students need when they come to school is to learn the content to proficiency, or to their potential etc.

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I think of “belonging at school,” or in my class as a buffet item. It is all you can eat and available to ALL. But if you want only a small portion, or none (in my case, if you ONLY want the music) then I respect that.

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

Edit/addendum: belonging cannot occur unidirectionally. It must be reciprocal. And in case anyone is picturing those cheap nasty buffets with no customer service, think instead of the bougie kind where the waiters are always walking around with sampler trays encouraging you to try things. This is no Pizza Street. This is Fogo de Chao. Also, I love my students, even the ones that take a small plate. I just offer more tomorrow.

Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!
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.
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!
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
Related Episode

Episode 122: The Problem of “Racializing” Music with Contraband

On this episode you will get to listen in to a portion of an episode I recently recorded for the Contraband Wagon. Contraband is a podcast that hosts exclusively conversations about race and racism. Will Fullwood, the host of the show invited me on to share some the experiences that I have had in conversations with colleagues who may be “missing the point” when they try to connect certain types of music and certain musical practices to a skin color, or the social construct that is “race.” One of those topics of course, is music literacy. Is “centering literacy” akin to “centering whiteness? or “white supremacy.” I say no, but Will and I discuss what those terms mean. We also explore the examples of Opera and its history of exclusion and racism, while ALSO remembering that it is not a “white” art form. Will’s own background as a classical and jazz musician who ALSO spends hours a week discussing race and racism make this an interesting and insightful conversation.

Chris Munce and Will Fullwood on Contraband Wagon
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Episode 122
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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
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!

I try to give people grace in this space because so many people are new to it.

“Contraband”
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Related Episodes

Episode 121: When Magic Happens with Chanticleer

This episode is a special first on the show. I have never gone ON LOCATION to meet an entire ensemble for a conversation before, and let me tell you… it was worth the gear haul to Lawrence, KS! GRAMMY Award winning ensemble, Chanticleer was at the Lied Center of Kansas for a performance and Master Class at KU, and was able to squeeze in some time for YOU the Choralosophy Audience. The twelve men of Chanticleer and I had a fast paced round table discussion about what it’s like to be at the Choral music mountaintop in the ensemble, about the vocal gymnastics of counter tenors, the unique space that the group occupies somewhere between “choir” and “chamber ensemble” as well as their thoughts about what it takes to create truly MAGICAL performances and moments in music making.

Chanticleer
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Episode 121

Meet the Singers Here!

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Meet the Singers
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The GRAMMY® Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer has been hailed as “the world’s reigning male chorus” by The New Yorker, and is known around the world as “an orchestra of voices” for its wide-ranging repertoire and dazzling virtuosity.  Founded in San Francisco in 1978 by singer and musicologist Louis Botto, Chanticleer quickly took its place as one of the most prolific recording and touring ensembles in the world, selling over one million recordings and performing thousands of live concerts to audiences around the world. 

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Chanticleer’s repertoire is rooted in the renaissance, and has continued to expand to include a wide range of classical, gospel, jazz, popular music, and a deep commitment to the commissioning of new compositions and arrangements. The ensemble has committed much of its vast recording catalogue to these commissions, garnering GRAMMY® Awards for its recording of Sir John Tavener’s “Lamentations & Praises”, and the ambitious collection of commissioned works entitled “Colors of Love”.  Chanticleer is the recipient of the Dale Warland/Chorus America Commissioning Award and the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming, and its Music Director Emeritus Joseph H. Jennings received the Brazeal Wayne Dennard Award for his contribution to the African-American choral tradition during his tenure with Chanticleer.  

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
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Named for the “clear-singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer continues to maintain ambitious programming in its hometown of San Francisco, including a large education and outreach program that recently reached over 8,000 people, and an annual concert series that includes its legendary holiday tradition “A Chanticleer Christmas”.  

Episode 120: Jake Runestad Live in My Classroom!

In this episode, filmed in front of a “live studio audience” in the form of my students, I have the opportunity to sit down with one of our generations finest compositional voices, Jake Runestad. With the help of my students, we have a spirited conversation about the value and genesis of creativity, the special nature of the human voice as an instrument, the central importance of text in choral music as well as Jake’s advice for the next generations of composers and performers. The kids even through some surprise questions in there! I have enjoyed getting to know Jake over the last few years, and I know you will be just as impressed with the PERSON behind the music as I am.

Jake Runestad
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Episode 120
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

Jake Runestad is an award-winning and frequently-performed composer of “highly imaginative” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald) musical works. He has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as Washington National Opera, VOCES8, the Swedish Radio Symphony, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Seraphic Fire, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and more. “The Hope of Loving,” the first album of Jake’s music, recorded by Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, received a 2020 GRAMMY® award nomination, and Jake’s ground-breaking choral symphony “Earth Symphony” garnered a 2022 EMMY® award nomination. Jake’s visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, and speaking engagements, enabling him to be one of the youngest full-time composers in the world. Considered “one of the best of the younger American composers” (Chicago Tribune), Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts, in addition to formative mentoring from acclaimed composer Libby Larsen. A native of Rockford, IL, Mr. Runestad is currently based in Minneapolis, MN. Find out more at: JakeRunestad.com

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
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.
Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!

Episode 119: Yes Middle Schoolers CAN! with Dale Duncan

In this episode I sit down with THE Middle School choir guru, Dale Duncan to talk about sweet spot for success in Middle School vocal music. Middle School Singers are often overlooked and underestimated. What they need is an educator that believes in them, and provides high quality instruction in a school that supports them. We talk about the balance between high expectations, trust building, pitch matching in puberty, motivation of middle schoolers, connection and belonging and how they all serve each other. Dale also shares a bit about what it is like to be retired, his favorite things about teaching Middle School as well as talks through some of its greatest challenges. We ranged a bit into other areas too like pre and post pandemic choral music, and education and some of the changes we have seen, as well as why years 20-30 can be the “prime years” for teachers.

Dale Duncan
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Episode 119
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
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
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.
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!

From Dale’s Website

I have taught middle school students for well over 20 years.  I currently teach over 340 un-auditioned choral students.  I have up to 84 students in one class by myself.  I could never have managed that as a young teacher, but along the way, I have learned several tips and tricks to help me successfully manage this age group of students in a positive learning environment.

Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!

I started my career in North Carolina where I taught for 5 years. In the beginning, I struggled enormously with classroom management.  My middle school students totally “ran over me”.  I was unstructured, inconsistent and ineffective.  I was discouraged and felt like a total failure.  I felt alone.  I thought often about quitting teaching and doing something else.  I was armed with a masters degree and absolutely no idea how to teach this age group.

I am not a quitter, so I kept going.  I observed other teachers, and slowly began to figure a couple of things out that helped me hang in there.

I continued my career in New Jersey for the next 6 years.  It was there that I saw an amazingly gifted choral educator who had created the most magnificent middle school choral program I had ever seen.  She graciously allowed me to observe her teaching a few times, and that was when things began to click for me.  I began to realize how to relate to and successfully teach this age group.  That is when my programs began to grow exponentially.

Episode 118: Leveling the Playing Field with Dr. Chantae Pittman

On this episode Dr. Chantae Pittman joins me in the ongoing conversation surrounding the philosophy of choral music education. Why are we there? What is our function? Just how critical is it that students who complete a term or more in vocal music in school are able to reach some level of music reading proficiency. Dr. Pittman outlines her daily routine in the classroom and describes how literacy fits in for her in the classroom. I have a wonderful opportunity here to bounce my ideas off of an accomplished colleague. Tune in and hear how Chantae’s band background informs her current vocal education background, and more. This episode was fun for me because I learn a lot from speaking with colleagues each week. Tune in and share that benefit!

Dr. Chantae Pittman
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Episode 118
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

Dr. Chantae D. Pittman is the Director of Choral Activities at Campbell High School in Smyrna, GA in the Cobb County School District, and adjunct professor at Georgia College and State University. Dr. Pittman is passionate about all forms of music. She is a proud graduate of Tennessee State University having received her Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 2010. She has since earned a Master’s Degree in Music Education at VanderCook College University (Chicago, IL, 2013). In May 2021 Dr. Pittman graduated from The University of Georgia where she completed her Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Choral Music Education. During her 13-year career in choral music education she has taught students from elementary through high school.

Due to that experience, and her demonstrated commitment to excellence in performance, she is highly respected as a choral clinician, music education consultant, instructor, grant writer, and adjudicator. She is very active as a soprano soloist and choral musician as a member of the Grammy award winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus since 2011, and the Atlanta Women’s Chorus since 2020. Having performed with orchestras, choirs, and small vocal ensembles throughout her career as a musician, Dr. Pittman proudly continues to learn, grow, and develop as a musician and pedagogue. She is a proud and active member of the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), National Educators Association (NEA), Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), Sigma Alpha Iota, Professional Music Fraternity, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

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.
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
Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!

Find Dr. Pittman on Instagram

Episode 117: Finding My Voice with Benedict Sheehan

In this episode I have a chat with GRAMMY nominated conductor and composer, Benedict Sheehan of the St. Tikhon Monastery Choir. This passionate conversation begins with Benedict’s advocacy for people, like himself, who stutter. As you will hear, it is important that we remember that EVERYONE has something to say. We need only listen. We then discuss the ways the GRAMMY nominations changed his routine, his love of the Orthodox Church music tradition and how it has shaped his sound aesthetic. Finally, we approach the concept of the “composer’s voice,” and the importance of a frame of reference from which to approach the music. Tune in to hear these items and more discussed on the Choralosophy Oxford series!

Benedict Sheehan
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Episode 117

Composers Recommended by Benedict

Two-time GRAMMY® nominee and American Prize-winner Benedict Sheehan has been called “a choral conductor and composer to watch in the 21st century” (ConcertoNet) and “a remarkable musician” (Choral Journal). He is Artistic Director and Founder of the Saint Tikhon Choir and Artefact Ensemble, and Director of Music at St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary in Pennsylvania. His works are published by Oxford University Press and others, and his award-winning choral recordings and performances have received widespread critical acclaim.

Described as “an up-and-coming conductor” (The Oregonian), “a rising star in the choral world” (Catholic Sentinel), and as having “set the bar for Orthodox liturgical music in the English-speaking world” (Orthodox Arts Journal), composer and conductor Benedict Sheehan is Director of Music at St. Tikhon’s Seminary and Monastery in Pennsylvania, Artistic Director of professional vocal ensemble The Saint Tikhon Choir, and CEO and co-founder of the Artefact Institute, a collective of “culture creators.” Working closely with his wife Talia Maria Sheehan, a professional vocalist and visionary music educator, the Sheehans have become two of the most sought-after clinicians in Orthodox sacred music in America. Benedict has appeared frequently as a guest conductor with the professional vocal ensemble Cappella Romana, where his performances of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil had one reviewer so “emotionally overwhelmed” that she was “attempting to hold back tears” (Oregon ArtsWatch). In 2018 he was instrumental in producing the monumental world premiere of Alexander Kastalsky’s Requiem for Fallen Brothers (1917) at the Washington National Cathedral. The project culminated in a 2020 Naxos recording on which Sheehan served as a Chorus Master and an Executive Producer. Benedict is in high demand as a composer. His works have been performed by the Grammy-nominated Skylark Vocal Ensemble, the Grammy-nominated PaTRAM Institute Singers, Cappella Romana, the William Jewell Choral Scholars, Te Deum, the Pacific Youth Choir, and many others. His new work Gabriel’s Message was recorded and released in 2020 by John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, and The Oxford Choir. Skylark’s recent recording Once Upon A Time (2020) features a “story score” by Benedict which has been called “evocative” (Gramophone), “quite extraordinary” (Limelight), “brilliant” (MetroWest Daily News), and “otherworldly” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). His music is published by Oxford University Press, Artefact Publications, Musica Russica, MusicSpoke, and St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press. Benedict lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and seven daughters.

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
Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!
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.
YouTube Version
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!

Episode 116: What is Our MAIN Job?

Is creating a welcoming, inclusive, fun, engaging and safe learning environment enough to be an excellent choir teacher? I say no. Is choir an activity or an academic course of study? You can get a PhD in it. It is an academic subject. In this episode, I “dialogue” with many of you who joined a fantastic collegial discussion about the soul and the future of our profession.

In a school setting, I actually think it is immoral to deprive students of a rich music literacy (reading) education, taught to proficiency.

Chris Munce

Me, “We need to teach literacy and vocal pedagogy as our core academic content. When kids feel confident in their abilities in these areas, they are more likely to enjoy choir long term and stick around. They are also more likely to feel like they belong because they know they can contribute.”

The claim

Straw man #1: “We need to obsess about sight reading, train little unfeeling machines who can read anything and have flawless techniques and sing like robots. It also does not matter if kids feel happy or like they belong in the class. If they aren’t good enough, we can just kick them out.” Y’all…Rigor and accessibility are NOT opposite sides of a coin.

Straw Man #2: “Those aren’t the only things that matter.” I didn’t say they were.

Straw Man #3: “But modern music notation is not used in all cultures, so by centering it in your curriculum, you are sending the signal that those cultures are inferior.” Well, you would have to be in my classroom to know that. And you aren’t. It is possible to make literacy a focal point, and have students still understand that it is one tool of many that are used to learn music.

And I haven’t even started talking about the neurological benefits yet… that’s where we get into moral imperative territory. In a school setting I think it’s actually immoral to deprive kids of this. I know…strong words…

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

It’s like youth sports. We could acknowledge that winning is more fun than losing. So it is important to teach kids to play the sport well so that they win more than they lose. It can be simultaneously true, that it’s not “all about winning“. There are other lessons to be learned by playing on a team. However, as the coach it would be ridiculous for me to say that the core part of my job is not teaching the fundamental skills of the game to beginning players. they learn the lessons of teamwork, and community etc. through learning the game, not separately.

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Ep 116
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
Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!
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 115: The A Cappella Revolution with Rob Dietz

A Cappella guru Rob Dietz joins me this week to tell his story of passion for the “Pop A Cappella” genre of ensemble vocal music. Rob is well known in this sub-genre of choral music for his work on “The Sing Off” and collaborations with groups as wide ranging as Pentatonix, to Flo Rida and Incubus. In this conversation, we explore the common threads of “A Cappella” and “Traditional” choral ensembles as well as what makes the small pop vocal groups special to Rob and the genre’s growing number of practitioners. We also discuss how choral directors, like me and many others who are NOT well versed in this style can effectively begin to expose our students to this outlet. Tune in and stay at least for the beatboxing demo! 😉

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Episode 115
Visit stageright.com for top of the line, affordable staging options like risers, acoustical shells and more!

Rob Dietz is a multiple CARA winning singer and vocal percussionist who has been arranging, composing, teaching, and performing contemporary a cappella music for over twenty years. Based in Los Angeles, Rob is best known for his work as an arranger and group coach for NBC’s The Sing-Off. Through his work on the show, Rob has had the pleasure of collaborating with some of the top talent in the vocal music world, including Pentatonix, Peter Hollens, The Filharmonic, Voiceplay, and many more. He has been a contributing arranger for performances by world renowned artists including Smokey Robinson, Flo Rida, Sara Bareilles, Incubus, and Pat Benatar. His arrangements have been featured on several TV shows, including America’s Got Talent (NBC), To All The Boys: P.S I Still Love You (Netflix), and Pitch Slapped (Lifetime).

Find Rob on Twitter or Insta at @rdietz55
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!

A native of Ithaca, NY, Rob got his start singing in high school as a member of the a cappella quintet, Ascending Height, with whom he wrote and produced the first ever album of all original music at the high school level. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in music and an outside field in business. While at Ithaca, Rob had the honor of directing the all male-identified group, Ithacappella, with whom he twice advanced to the finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. He was also a member of both the Ithaca College Chorus and the Ithaca College Choir -the college’s select, touring vocal ensemble.

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

As a performer, Rob is an award-winning vocal percussionist, and his distinctive sound has been featured on several TV shows, including FOX’s Glee and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Rob was the founding vocal percussionist for both The Funx and Level, groups that gave him the opportunity to work with legendary performers including Jay Leno and Demi Lovato.

Rob has a deep passion for a cappella education, and is a founding co-director (along with Ben Bram and Avi Kaplan) of A Cappella Academy. In addition to his work with Academy, Rob is also the director of Legacy: an auditioned, community youth a cappella group based in Los Angeles. Since the group’s inception, Legacy has performed twice at Carnegie Hall, and has won the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival’s Scholastic Competition, the Southwest semifinal round of the Varsity Vocals A Cappella Open, and the Finals of the International Championship of High School A Cappella at Lincoln Center. Rob is a sought after presenter and clinician who has led vocal music workshops at events such as the National A Cappella Convention and the ACDA National convention. He is the author of “A Cappella 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary A Cappella Singing” available from Hal Leonard.

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.

Alongside his work in contemporary a cappella music, Rob is also an avid choral composer, with work published by Alfred Music Publishing and GIA Publications. In 2021 his piece “The Gift” received a jury commendation as part of the King’s Singers New Music Prize competition. His pieces continue to be performed by choirs from all over the world.

Mentioned in this episode

Car Thoughts: Thank you for your mistake

In this episode, I reflect on the psychology of gratitude, and on the importance of helping our students develop a healthy relationship with their own mistakes, and even flaws and weaknesses. Not because we don’t care about high achieving ensembles, but precisely for this reason.

Car Thoughts Episode
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Thank You for Your Mistake
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

Car Thoughts: Back to School with No Masks and Normalizing Noise Making

Anxiety from within is normal. The belief that students can’t overcome the anxiety can often come from the teacher’s approach. It is critically important to normalize “singing without fear.”

In this car thoughts conversation, we reflect on starting the first “normal” school year in three years. This is a significant opportunity to return normalcy to our students of all levels. I also offer ideas for teachers to consider when thinking about the first days of school, as well ways to structure the first rehearsal’s priorities. How do we set up the expectations that lead to a successful school year?

Also included are ideas about back to school retreats, the CDC’s relaxation of Covid caution recommendations, and the importance of “normal.”

Make Singing Sounds with your Mouth Holes!
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Car Thoughts

It is important that your first day of school is dominated by singing.

Chris Munce
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
JD Frizzell

Everyone CAN Get an A, But Not Everyone Will

A Summer Refresher on Grading and Assessment at Alabama ACDA

This episode is in many ways, the live presentation SEQUEL to Episode 21: Everyone Can Get an A.

In music Education, we frequently lament cultural attitudes about music not being a “real class.” If we present courses without rigor, academic standards or measurable achievements, we are walking right into that criticism. However, our jobs depend on enrollment numbers, and we feel pressure to give A’s. But, there is where we run into tension. If we make the grading more rigorous, many teachers fear, then kids will quit. In my experience, this is the opposite of what happens, provided that every student regardless of “talent” can see a realistic path toward getting an A. That does NOT mean they will all make the choice to rise to that occasion, however. You know what they say about leading horses to water… Join me as I outline my philosophy on program, culture and belonging building through increased standards and rigor. We have confused “rigor” with “talent” and “accessibility.”

Tune in for a presentation either audio or video complete with rubrics, grading practices, writing curriculum, grading on growth, setting individual goals for students and much more. For the FULL presentation, slides and ad free video, visit the Patreon.

Everyone Can Get An A, But Not Everyone Will
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Grading and Assessement

Past Grading and Assessment Episodes

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 112: Arts of Personhood and Shining Eyes

LIVE at Alabama ACDA

“Who am I being that my children’s eyes are not shining?”

Benjamin Zander

This week I had the honor and privilege visiting with ACDA members in Alabama at their state Conference. We must turn the mirror on ourselves to ensure that we are WORTHY to stand in front of our students. After all, we have some level of control over whether or not we are a part of their school. They have almost none. So I say, it’s on ME to make sure that their experience in my class is enriching, engaging and life affirming. In this discussion, we will discuss the importance of the teacher’s “mind, body and spirit” health. We also discuss the concepts of Anti-Fragility, and Cognitive Distortions that lead to unhappiness and professional ineffectiveness, as well as the wisdom of “The First Days of School” by Harry Wong. This is a jam packed hour full of challenges and ideas for you to consider before you begin your school year. The slides for this presentation are available on Patreon.

Chris Munce at Alabama ACDA
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Episode 112
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
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 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!

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Episode 109
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!
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

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 128: The Strange Relationship between Choral Music Ed and Vocal Ped with Dr. Sharon Hansen

One of the oddest things about Vocal Music Education as a profession, is how little we are required to learn in our schooling about the voice. Vocal Pedagogy courses are often the purview of voice performance majors, which is very odd considering how many more students will be impacted with vocal instruction by a person with a Music Ed degree.

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.

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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
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
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 125: Making the Case for Choir with Tom Metzger

Advocacy Episode! Our jobs as music educators, sadly, MUST include the ability to persuasively and passionately make the case in our communities that group singing opportunities are crucial. That includes keeping choirs in our churches and in our schools and community organizations. It includes having conversations with local leaders, fundraising and more. But, what makes …

Episode 124: Teaching in a Famous Classroom with Myles Finn

So, what happens when you post a video on the internet from inside your classroom and it goes viral with millions and millions of views?! It’s up to you! This happened Myles Finn and he decided to use his powers for good, creating a TikTok account with approaching SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND followers that shows life …

Episode 124: Teaching in a Famous Classroom with Myles Finn

So, what happens when you post a video on the internet from inside your classroom and it goes viral with millions and millions of views?! It’s up to you! This happened Myles Finn and he decided to use his powers for good, creating a TikTok account with approaching SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND followers that shows life …

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
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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.

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
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 121: When Magic Happens with Chanticleer

The twelve men of Chanticleer and I had a fast paced round table discussion about what it’s like to be at the Choral music mountaintop in the ensemble, about the vocal gymnastics of counter tenors, the unique space that the group occupies somewhere between “choir” and “chamber ensemble” as well as their thoughts about what it takes to create truly MAGICAL performances and moments in music making.

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.

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
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Episode 105
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Episode 104: Don’t Abandon the Canon! With Dr. Anika Prather

Dr. Anika Prather

Like many topics in education, we have strains of the same philosophical divides in music education as we do in other areas of education. This week, my guest Dr. Anika Prather is the perfect person to address and offer a bridge to one of those divides. She has a background in both Music Education as well as Theater and Literature. In this episode we discuss educational philosophy related to the “Western Canon” in both literature and in music. Trying to make sense of the various approaches that range from “Classical Education” to the “Decolonize the Classroom” movement. The discussion centers around the idea that both extremes when taken as wholly sufficient philosophies miss some very important aspects of history. Maybe a hybrid approach is needed.

“If we are properly decolonizing education, it should change HOW we teach, not WHAT we teach.”

Dr. Anika Prather

No teacher can teach ALL of the repertoire from all of the cultures, and we shouldn’t lose sleep over it. What matters is that we instill curiosity in our students to go out beyond our classrooms and seek more.

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Episode 104
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Dr. Anika T. Prather earned her B.A. from Howard University in elementary education.  She also has earned several graduate degrees in education from New York University and Howard University.  She has a Masters in liberal arts from St. John’s College (Annapolis) and a PhD in English, Theatre and Literacy Education from the University of Maryland (College Park).  Her research focus is on building literacy with African American students through engagement in the books of the Canon and self-published her book Living in the Constellation of the Canon: The Lived Experiences of African American Students Reading Great Books Literature recently.  She has served as a teacher, supervisor for student teachers, director of education and Head of School.  Currently she teaches in the Classics department at Howard University and is the founder of The Living Water School, located in Southern Maryland.  The Living Water School is a unique Christian school for independent learners, based on the educational philosophies of Classical Education and the Sudbury Model.  She is married to Damon M. Prather an engineer and has an MBA (Wisconsin-Madison). He also serves as the financial manager of the school.   She and her husband Damon, have three young children, and they reside in the DC metropolitan area.

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

Anika is also a performing artist and incorporates, music, drama and storytelling into most of her presentations. She has produced and written the songs for her 2 jazz albums and her music can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/anika_tene .

Visit Dr. Prather’s YouTube channel
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Episode 103: Finding My Voice with Brittney E. Boykin

In Collaboration with Oxford University Press to Bring You Great Conversations

B.E. Boykin

In the next edition of the Oxford Series, I am excited to bring you a new voice in their catalog, Brittney E. Boykin. I had an open and refreshing conversation with her about her journey through the choral world as a conductor, teacher and then composer. Navigating life in the choral world as a Black Woman, cultural sharing vs. appropriation, the sea-change that was 2020, work-life balance and more. “When I think of diversity within the classical music world, there is diversity within sound, within ensembles, within colors.” – BE Boykin

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Episode 103

Find Brittney on Graphite Publishing

When I think of diversity within the classical music world, there is diversity within sound, within ensembles, within colors.

B.E. Boykin

Find Brittney’s Publishing Company, Klavia Press

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

B.E. (Brittney Elizabeth) Boykin is a native of Alexandria, Virginia and comes from a musical family. At the age of 7, she began piano lessons and continued her studies through high school under the tutelage of Mrs. Alma Sanford. Mrs. Sanford guided her through various competitions, such as the NAACP’s ACT-SO competition where she garnered 1st place for 3 consecutive years in the local competition, as well as being awarded The Washington Post “Music and Dance Award” in the spring of 2007.”

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Boykin then pursued her classical piano studies at Spelman College under the leadership of Dr. Rachel Chung. After graduating Spelman College in 2011 with a B.A. in Music, Boykin continued her studies at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. During her time at Westminster, she was awarded the R and R Young Composition Prize just a few months shy of graduating with her M.M. in Sacred Music with a concentration in choral studies in May, 2013.

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

Boykin’s choral piece, “We Sing as One,” was commissioned to celebrate Spelman College’s 133rd Anniversary of its founding at the 2014 Founders Day Convocation. She has also been featured as the conductor/composer-in-residence for the 2017 Harry T. Burleigh Commemorative Spiritual Festival at Tennessee State University. Boykin has been commissioned and collaborated with several organizations, including a number of ACDA divisions, the Minnesota Opera and the Kennedy Center. She obtained her PhD from Georgia State University with an emphasis in Music Education and is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Episode 120: Jake Runestad Live in My Classroom!

In this episode, filmed in front of a “live studio audience” in the form of my students, I have the opportunity to sit down with one of our generations finest compositional voices, Jake Runestad. With the help of my students, we have a spirited conversation about the value and genesis of creativity, the special nature …

Episode 119: Yes Middle Schoolers CAN! with Dale Duncan

In this episode I sit down with THE Middle School choir guru, Dale Duncan to talk about sweet spot for success in Middle School vocal music. Middle School Singers are often overlooked and underestimated. What they need is an educator that believes in them, and provides high quality instruction in a school that supports them. …

Episode 102: Belonging Isn’t Top-Down

A hybrid episode! We run the risk of oversimplifying educational concepts, packaging them in seminars and professional development sessions for sale, and actually HARMING students. Or at least not helping them. Educational theories often carry precious little evidence, but we as educators frequently feel ill equipped to question them. Often times these oversimplifications are simply Utopian visions of education. One of the buzzwords that gets this treatment in my view is “Belonging.” I have been reading a book called “Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity” by Cobb and Krownapple. In that journey, as well as in my conversations on the show, in real life, and online it has become clear to me that there are many questions still to be ASKED about this topic before we can even begin to have enough hubris to think we can answer it.

Chris Munce
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Episode 102

This episode started out as a car thoughts episode, which I extended with a walkthrough of two graphics that I see as questionable from the book.

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
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
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!

Episode 118: Leveling the Playing Field with Dr. Chantae Pittman

On this episode Dr. Chantae Pittman joins me in the ongoing conversation surrounding the philosophy of choral music education. Why are we there? What is our function? Just how critical is it that students who complete a term or more in vocal music in school are able to reach some level of music reading proficiency. …

Episode 117: Finding My Voice with Benedict Sheehan

In this episode I have a chat with GRAMMY nominated conductor and composer, Benedict Sheehan of the St. Tikhon Monastery Choir. This passionate conversation begins with Benedict’s advocacy for people, like himself, who stutter. As you will hear, it is important that we remember that EVERYONE has something to say. We need only listen. We …

Episode 101: The Science of Program Building with Dr. Seth Pendergast

Dr. Seth Pendergast of Colorado State University joins me to dig through the critical aspects of recruiting and retention. As we are (hopefully) coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, my sense is that many K-12 choral music educators are looking to grow or rebuild their choral programs. The pandemic often limited singing and many choral music educators may have lost students over the past two years as they were limited in their vocal activities. We now enter a time where we have the opportunity to rethink our programs and their priorities. This also means that we have a high stakes need to get it RIGHT. The reasons that students engage in school music programs, or don’t is very complicated and nuanced. It’s more than having a donut party, and letting them sing their favorite music. We also need to explore and be creative with what music programs can look like in different TYPES of school environments. What does one research based approach say about this topic?

Dr. Seth Pendergast

Read Dr. Pendergast’s NAFME Article

Seth Pendergast is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Colorado State University where he teaches courses in vocal music education, creativity and technology, graduate music education courses, and choral ensembles. He studies motivation and participation in the music classroom and his most recent scholarship includes publications in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, Choral Journal, and Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. In addition to his work as a teacher/scholar, Seth is an active clinician, conductor, and adjudicator. He completed his Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Utah in 2018.

“The person doing the thinking is the person doing the learning.”

Alice Keeler
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Episode 101

Find Seth on Twitter

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
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

Car Thoughts: Thank you for your mistake

In this episode, I reflect on the psychology of gratitude, and on the importance of helping our students develop a healthy relationship with their own mistakes, and even flaws and weaknesses. Not because we don’t care about high achieving ensembles, but precisely for this reason.

Episode 114: Boys Keep Singing! With Martin Ashley

A Choralosophy Oxford Series episode! One of the most challenging aspects of being a teacher of singing is dealing with the male changing voice. Not only are we undereducated on the physiology of the issue, we are often inconsiderate of the psychology as well. In this conversation, I have called in a true expert to …

Episode 100: Sing Softer, You’re Off Key with Beth Munce

This episode is a milestone. The 100th full length episode of the podcast. Since my wife Beth was the FIRST guest on the show, I thought it would be good to go full circle, and bring her on again!

Being a music teacher is an important job. It is, or should be about SO MUCH more than the “collection and curation of musicians who are already good.” But how often is that our quickest route to career success? In this episode Beth and I take the gloves off and dive into the topic of the ways in which choir directors of all levels, with all of the best intentions, can often say or do things that either do not help singers become better, or even make the singer worse. “Raise the soft palette” when the problem is actually tongue tension. “Blend!
when the result is actually just removing resonance so you can no longer hear the problem. “Open your mouth to the size of the 3 Oreos” when every mouth is a different size, and much more.

Beth Munce

We also go a bit hard on the problems with ranking, or rating competitions for beginning singers. The systems, often governed by the same organization that governs basketball games in many places, can actually disincentivize quality feedback for singers.

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Episode 100

The Unique Nature of Singing by Beth Munce

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While many of my singing and teaching of singing philosophies and approaches have shifted or changed…some I would completely redo differently if I had the chance…one that hasn’t (and this is a hill that I will die on) is that there is a place in music for EVERYONE.

Sorry Trevor

The unique nature of singing is that 1) we all have a different instrument: everyone’s lung capacity, torso length, pharyngeal shape, tongue size, etc…are all different!! So there is not a one size fits all approach to singing. It is different for everyone. And everyone learns differently! Add that into the mix. Plus every person has to learn how to coordinate their muscles, where to feel resonance, how to learn to resonate effectively and efficiently, and how to adjust this approach when their bodies and hormones are changing. It’s a lot! Plus, 2) unlike starting piano or band where the first time you pick up an instrument is with your teacher (where they can tell you “put this hand here, this finger here…”) in choir, EVERY kid has prior experience in singing/phonation whether that be with the radio, with mom, in another choir, etc…some of these habits are good, some detrimental (don’t get me started on some of the bad singing examples on the radio!). The point being, you are having to redirect those already insulated neural pathways. Retrain those muscles. And this takes time and concerted effort. Some kids give up and don’t want to put forth the effort. I tell my students that learning to sing is like you are renovating a home as opposed to building one from scratch. And some houses need more work than others! 

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

Some of my proudest moments in teaching have been the kid whose mom thought he was “tone deaf” and he ended up being able to perform a solo successfully and make concert choir to be with his buddies…the girl who was the only one of her peers who auditioned for an honor choir her sophomore year and didn’t make it, who went on to make All-State choir her senior year…the boy who was so awkward and shy and could barely make a peep who went on to get a full ride scholarship in vocal performance and has had an active adult performance career. Those stories of hard work and perseverance are my favorite. The kid that didn’t think they could or was the underdog who worked their butt off and ended up excelling!!

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

Beth’s previous appearances on the Podcast

Episode 1: Health Happiness and Balance for the Choral Director

Episode 8: Renovating the Voice

Episode 25: Loving by Letting Go with Jaclyn Johnson (Beth as Co Host)

Episode 99: The World Imagined with Gabriel Jackson

Part of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast

Dig into the mind of Gabriel Jackson, one of my FAVORITE composers. His ability to mix the modern with the ancient really makes my “Spidey Sense” tingle! We discuss his music, and journey to composition, as well his feelings about Orchestral musicians seeming to live in a different strata from us lowly Choral musicians. Spoiler alert, we are both annoyed by this…We also touch on what the pandemic was like for him as composer, and the age old themes in music and poetry that retain their resonance today, and possibly in a new way.

You can’t write really difficult music and then complain that nobody performs it.

Gabriel Jackson

If you are in the US, check out Gabriel’s upcoming musical exploits! The US Premiere of The World Imagined! Concert in Elgin, Illinois. Find Gabriel’s catalog on his site!

Upcoming events involving Gabriel’s compositions. https://www.variantsix.com/new-suns

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Gabriel Jackson-Photo credit: Reinis Hofmanis
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Episode 99: Gabriel Jackson
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!
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!

Senioritis vs. The Last Concert

I did a live episode recently on Teacher Burnout, and another one in December about teacher burnout leading up the Holiday Break, but STUDENT burn out is a thing too. Call it senioritis, or apathy, or “checked out.” Regardless of what you name it, it must be fought intentionally through the culture built in the rehearsal space from day one. So, in the death match between Senioritis and that LAST concert…

Car Thoughts without the Car

Who will win? It is not a lost cause. So, I went for a walk and recorded some thoughts about this phenomenon and how it has changed a bit due to the pandemic and collective trauma of the last two years. One thing that hasn’t changed is that there is no “cure” for end of the year apathy, but the effects can be mitigated by student buy in, leadership and empowerment. Are they pushing to the finish WITH you? Or are they being pushed BY you? The latter will lead to burn out for students and teachers alike.

This episode was recorded while I was walking outside on Spring Break. Please pardon the roosters and trucks. ACDA webinar I mentioned in the episode is linked below.

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Senioritis vs. The Last Concert
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

http://www.ryanmain.com is a great source of Sheetmusic on demand. Enter Choralosophy at checkout for 10% off!

See below for a list of Choralosophy Categories!

Episode 97: Intentions Matter with Emily Williams Burch

A Podcast Exchange!

Emily Williams Burch is back. What makes us tick? Can we be collegial without knowing each other? What was it like for me to traipse around uninvited at Southern Region ACDA? Why do in person conventions matter so much? These and many more questions answered!

Chris and Emmy
Finish the Episode on Emily’s feed!

A candid and jam-packed conversation between podcast hosts Chris Munce of The Choralosophy Podcast and Emmy Burch of Music (ed) Matters. We both love to chat, especially with each other, so in this conversation we cover everything from using enneagrams to understand motivation and impact our students, getting adventurous and attending other regional conferences, and all that comes with being “better conversation activists.” This one was super fun to record – hope you enjoy! Start the conversation here and finish it on Music Ed Matters!

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Emily Williams Burch
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

As promised, here’s the link to the awesome summer camp Chris and Emmy will be at together this summer. Grab a singer and come hang! https://kantoreikc.com/educational-outreach/

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/H2MsndIpdOA

It’s easy to support the podcast world and join the community over at Patreon.com/MusicEdMatters. In addition to bonus video and episode content, members get monthly meet-ups, monthly bonus episodes, special pre-release book content and more! Chris Munce has a dynamite Patreon page as well (and super cool swag), check him out at Patreon.com/Choralosopy

Support the companies that make The Music (ed) Matters Podcast possible: 

—Kaleidoscope Adventures – find your adventure today, kaleidoscopeadventures.com/

— The Kinnison Choral Company – check out their quality resources – or get your tracks made today – at KinnisonChoralCo.com

Episode 96: “Real Men” Sing? with Braeden Ayres

Dr. Braeden Ayres is a teacher, conductor and composer with a passion point related to concepts of masculinity in choral music. What stereotypes are we stuck too, what challenges to we face when discussing it, and what are the best ways to engage young adolescent boys in our school choral programs? We discussed some of the findings from his dissertation research on this topic as well as brainstorming ways to recruit and retain boys, without pandering to pre-conceived ideas of masculinity. Join us for this important discussion, and add your own thoughts on the Choralosophers Facebook page.

Episode 96
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Braeden Ayres

Find Braeden

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

Dr. Braeden Ayres (“Bray-den Airz”) is a composer, conductor, and music educator who believes that music and singing are for all people. Dr. Ayres currently teaches music at Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois, and is the choir director at First Christian Church in Macomb, Illinois. As an artist, teacher, and conductor, his mission is to empower people, explore the human experience, and celebrate the human voice as a tool for self-expression. As a composer, his works vary widely in style, with pieces written especially for changing voices, high school choirs, and collegiate, community, and professional ensembles. Dr. Ayres frequently writes original texts for his work as well.

Dr. Ayres’s music has been performed at national and state-level ACDA honor choirs, all-states, and at local choir concerts across the United States. His music is published with MusicSpoke, Carl Fischer, Hal Leonard Music, and Augsburg Fortress. In 2021, he was named the winner of the “Emily Crocker Emerging Composer Competition,” sponsored by the Texas Choral Director’s Association and Hal Leonard Music. Dr. Ayres holds a Ph.D. in Choral Music Education from Florida State University, where his doctoral dissertation studied the history and repertoire of choral compositions for changing male voices. Dr. Ayres also holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado and a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Baylor University.

A look back to a related topic. “A Voice in Transition” with Theo Wren

http://www.ryanmain.com is a great source of Sheetmusic on demand. Enter Choralosophy at checkout for 10% off!

Before completing his doctorate, Dr. Ayres served on the vocal faculty at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado, teaching 6-12 grade students with a team of exceptional educators. In his time at DCC, the campus’s choral program tripled to over 500 students; over 100 singers were accepted into various Middle School All-State, High School All-State, and ACDA National Honor Choirs; and the Performing Arts Department was a finalist for the “Thomas S. Crawford Team of the Year Award.” Dr. Ayres also served as the Assistant Artistic Director of “Out Loud: The Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus” and was an inaugural board member of the Colorado Middle School All-State Choir. Dr. Ayres is proud to bring his passion for education into his work as a composer and choral clinician.

Episode 94: Singing High, Singing “Us” with Patrick Dailey

Patrick Dailey

An episode inspired by the Oxford Handbook of Vocal Studies by Dr. Alisha Jones called “Singing High: Black Countertenors and Gendered Sound in Gospel Performance.” The article dropped into my email box and I immediately thought, THIS is a podcast. I was so right. Patrick’s story is not only fascinating, but his experience is emblematic of the intersectional concept. Namely, that Patrick’s race AND sexuality impact the way audiences receive him. The perceptions constantly swaying between “singing high like a woman” to presenting as the “Good Baptist Man.” You also appreciate the in depth discussion of the history of music in the Black Church in America. Join me for this enlightening conversation as Patrick shares his story, and reflects on the article.

The fact of the matter is that you are already gonna present something—even if it
is in the classical audience—you are already gonna present something to them
that might be foreign to them already. You don’t wanna turn them off at the very
beginning.

Patrick Dailey (Quoted in the paper by Dr. Jones)
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Episode 94
Celebrating Black History Month

Patrick Dailey has been described as possessing “a powerful and elegant countertenor voice” (Los Angeles Daily News) and a “VOCAL STANDOUT” (Boston Classical Review). His artistry was identified early through the national NAACP ACT-SO Competition (2005 and 2006), the NFAA ARTS, and Grady-Rayam Prize In Sacred Music of the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation. Dailey made his professional operatic debut with Opera Saratoga as the first countertenor member of the company’s Young Artist program and was the first countertenor invited to Opera New Jersey’s Victoria J. Mastrobuono Emerging Artist program. Operatic repertoire includes Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Belize in Eötvös’ Angels in America. He performs regularly with Harlem Opera Theater, ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (NC), Soulful Symphony, Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. On January 19, 2009, Mr. Dailey sang a featured duet with Aretha Franklin as the finale for the annual Let Freedom Ring Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Additionally, he has been a featured artist with Cook, Dixon, and Young (formally Three Mo’ Tenors) since 2012. 

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

Mr. Dailey his west coast operatic debut as Satirino in Cavalli’s La Calisto with Pacific Opera Project of Los Angeles in 2014. The following year, he debuted with Opera Memphis in their historic first production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and ‪won first place in Opera Ebony’‬s 1st Benjamin Matthews Vocal Competition. Later that year, Mr. Dailey performed the opening invocation for the ‪2015 Trumpet Awards in Atlanta, GA, ‬the invitation of Trumpet Foundation founder/CEO and Civil Right legend, Xernona Clayton. 

YouTube version

In the summers of 2015 and 2016, Mr. Dailey was a young artist with the American Bach Soloists. Soon after he sang the world premiere Frederick Douglas: The Making of an American Prophet composed by Grammy Award winning country songwriter Marcus Hummon and debuted with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Moody. Additionally in 2016, Mr. Dailey made international debuts in the UK and Brazilian premieres of Hasse’s Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra with the Woodhouse Opera Festival and Il Festival de Ópera Barroca de Belo Horizonte and he made his Subculture NYC debut at the invitation of Tony Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown as a part of Brown’s broadway cabaret residency. In the spring of 2017, he debuted with Opera Louisiane as Telemaco in Michael Borowitz’s world premiere jazz-gospel orchestration of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and debuted with the Grand Rapids Symphony singing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms under the baton of Michael Christie. Soon after, Mr. Dailey returned to the U.K. that fall for the international premiere of Soosan Lolavar’s I.D. Please in the Tete a Tete New Opera Festival in London. In the fall of 2018, he sang the role of Mini-B/Boris the Boar in the world premiere of Dan Visconti and Cerise Jacobs’s Permadeath: A Video Game Opera with White Snakes Projects in Boston, MA to great acclaim. Mr. Dailey became the first countertenor to appear with Shreveport Opera singing Kyle in Robert Paterson’s Three Way: Masquerade in 2019. The remainder of his 2018/2019 season included debuts and appearances with the Austin Baroque Orchestra the IRIS Orchestra of Memphis, TN, Music By Women Festival, and Boston Early Music Festival. Since then, Mr. Dailey made debuts with the Chicago Philharmonic and Missouri Symphony, was a featured soloist at the 2020 ACDA Southern Regional Conference, and debuted at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

Find Patrick on Social Media

Mr. Dailey is featured in Fatherhood, a documentary directed by award winning London based director, Ben Gregor, which premiered on FUSE TV in 2019. He is also a featured on recording projects such as the debut album of acclaimed duo and super producers Louis York (Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly), American Griots (2019), Adrian Dunn’s Redemption Live in Chicago (2020), and the self-titled release from The Aeolians of Oakwood University under the direction of Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand (2020). 

The William Crimm Singers

Growing in his reputation as a scholar, Mr. Dailey was invited to the Center for Black Music Research’s inaugural Black Vocality Symposium in 2013 giving a performative presentation entitled “The Anatomy of the Black Voice: Peculiarities, Challenges, and Regional Differences”. Since that time, he been Artist-in-Residence, masterclass clinician, and guest lecturer at Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, the University of Arkansas, and Vanderbilt University among others. Mr. Dailey was lead soloist and vocal music curator of the official MLK50 Commemoration at the National Civil Rights Museum in 2018 in Memphis, TN. In the fall of 2019, he presented at the inaugural Harry T. Burleigh Week organized by the Burleigh Legacy Alliance of Burleigh’s hometown of Erie, PA and regularly presents lectures and programs in conjunction with the organization. In June 2020, Mr. Dailey curated and presented a virtual clinic and webinar entitled “A Stirring in My Soul: The Negro Spiritual and Social Justice Movements” presented by the National Museum of African American Music. 

Mr. Dailey is a 2012 graduate of Morgan State University and received his master of music from Boston University. He currently serves on the voice faculty of Tennessee State University where he established the Big Blue Opera Initiatives (BBOI) and the annual Harry T. Burleigh Spiritual Festival. Additionally, he is the founding artistic director of the W. Crimm Singers (aka Wakanda Chorale), professional ensemble in residence of BBOI, and is a co-founding member of historically informed progressive, crossover ensemble, Early Music City. 

Mr. Dailey serves on the boards of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, the International Florence Price Festival, Nashville Rep, and the Artistic Planning Committee of the Nashville Symphony. He also serves as community project curator with Intersection Contemporary Music Ensemble and arts and creative arts coordinator of the NAACP-Nashville Branch. A passionate advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, he is a consultant on HBCU initiatives with Opera America, Early Music America, and New Music USA and is an artist ambassador of the Music Inclusion Coalition. He is on the faculty of the Narnia Festival of Narni, Italy leading a program on African American Concert and Sacred Music, and is the program director of the Nashville Opera- Big Blue HBCU Fellowship, an HBCU initiative of the the company in partnership with TSU. Most recently, Dailey was named to the 2020 class of the Nashville Black 40 Under 40 and he was recognized for Outstanding Service from the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts of Washington, DC. Additionally, he is a 2020 recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Mr. Dailey holds membership in the National Association of Negro Musicians, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, inc

Episode 93: Togetherness Activists with Micah Hendler

The Third Anniversary Episode of the Choralosophy Podcast!

The serendipity of having this episode ready to publish this week, on the third anniversary of the show is incredible. After all, three years ago I was motivated to launch this show because I saw a need stemming from how divided we were becoming as a nation. In the music world, we are more polarized than many due to political alignments and loyalties.

Episode 93

Micah Hendler is the director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, whose mission is the bringing together of Palestinian and Jewish children together to make music and make connections. He is also a member of the music team at Braver Angels, which is a non-partisan organization that creates events and content designed to bring Republicans and Democrats together. His entire musical identity has been built around the idea that music CAN bring people together that often think they will never reconcile.

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Micah Hendler
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

Micah Hendler (Forbes 30 Under 30 for Music) is a musical changemaker working to harness the power in each of our voices to make a difference.

Micah is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, an Israeli-Palestinian music and dialogue project featured for its innovative musicianship and integrity of purpose and process from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to the New York Times. Through the co-creation of music and the sharing of stories, the chorus empowers young singers from East and West Jerusalem to speak and sing their truths as they become leaders in their communities and inspire singers and listeners around the world to join them in their work for peace, justice, inclusion, and equality.

Search the library, own the PDF. Use your Choralosophy discount code for 10% off!

Micah is a Founding Partner of Raise Your Voice Labs, a creative culture transformation company that helps organizations, companies, and communities realign and reengage around a shared vision and build cultures of resilience, adaptability, inclusive leadership, and supportive accountability. In the Lab, any team can unleash their creative and collaborative abilities, as they work together to reimagine what is possible and create a stunningly honest and inspiring video that can serve as a musical north star in their pursuit of that future.

Micah has founded, directed, sung with, or played with dozens of musical ensembles of varying global styles, including the Yale Whiffenpoofs. He has studied Community Singing and CircleSinging with GRAMMY-winning composers Ysaye Barnwell and Roger Treece, and uses these two methodologies and others to open up the concept of what a chorus can do and who should be in it.

Micah has also been involved in dialogue work for more than 15 years and has written and presented in many local and global forums about his work with the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, including sharing the keynote presentation of the East-West Philosophers’ Conference with leading Palestinian intellectual and peacemaker Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, as they explored together how sound can be used as a tool to create shared spaces in Jerusalem.

Micah writes for Forbes.com on music, society, and social change in a global context and serves in volunteer leadership capacities in both the Justice Choir and Braver Angels grassroots movements. He currently lives in Washington, DC.

Episode 92: Live at Missouri Music Educators

LIVE conventions are back! I am so excited, because this online thing does not do it for me. So, I was itching to talk to people! So, I traveled with a portable kit to get the opinions and stories of people at the the convention. It was great to talk to college professors, band directors, and choir directors on the convention floor!

Episode 92

Special thanks to all of the guests! Kurtis Heinrich, Kimbery Guilford, Caleb Zustiak, Ian Colemen, Christopher Boemler, Skip Vandelicht, David Schatz, Tom Higgins and Jane Hicklin.

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Live at MMEA!
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
YouTube Version!

Episode 91: Music is My Culture with Trevor Weston

You need to create music that reflects you. Start with who you are. I tend to tell students not to filter out aspects of their lives from their music. If you start with who you are, then you are the only one who can come up with the best solutions.

Trevor Weston
Trevor Weston

Trevor Weston is a singer, organist, composer and professor of composition and African American Music History at Drew University. We discussed how music, culture and society intersect, as well as the importance of making distinctions between race and culture in the context of music. Often times, our musical experiences, our backgrounds, and our education creates our culture. We share more of that that we realize with more people than we realize. One of Trevor’s learned life lessons involves recognizing the power music has to connect to our common humanity and experiences. Don’t miss this insightful and uplifting episode.

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Episode 91
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

Trevor Weston’s music has been called a “gently syncopated marriage of intellect and feeling.” (Detroit Free Press) Weston’s honors include the George Ladd Prix de Paris from the University of California, Berkeley, the Arts and Letters Award in Music and a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and residencies from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the MacDowell Colony and a residency with Castle of our Skins at the Longy School of Music. Weston co-authored with Olly Wilson, chapter 5 in the Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington, “Duke Ellington as a Cultural Icon” published by Cambridge University Press. Weston’s work, Juba for Strings won the Sonori/New Orleans Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition. Trevor Weston won the first Emerging Black Composers Project sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the San Francisco Symphony. 

YouTube version

A list of ensembles performing Trevor Weston’s compositions include Roomful of Teeth, The Boston Children’s Chorus, St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue Choir, The Starling Chamber Orchestra, Mallarme Chamber Players, The Providence Singers, Chicago Sinfonietta, Seraphic Fire, The Tufts Chamber Chorus, Ensemble Pi, The Amernet String Quartet, The UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, The Washington Chorus, Trilogy: An Opera Company, and The Manhattan Choral Ensemble. In addition to his creative work, Weston completed the re-orchestration of Florence Price’s Piano Concerto for the Center for Black Music Research in 2010.

Episode 90: Sound Before Sight with Carol Krueger

Teaching students to be literate requires teachers who are trained for it.

The episode you have been asking for for over a year is finally here! It is jam packed full of ideas and solutions. The music literacy guru herself, Carol Krueger and I discuss the crisis facing music education that few are talking about. We have a serious scaffolding problem regarding literacy in music education. Carol calls it a “spiral” of concepts that are not being layered on for students consistently. Students are arriving to study music at the collegiate level in startling numbers deficient in rudiments, like pitch matching, pitch memory, keeping a steady beat, a developed sense of audiation, or ability to write down what they hear. Carol even makes me improvise on solfege!

“Many of our students are arriving in college, illiterate in music. They may have sung a ton of songs, but they can’t hear a sound and tell you what they heard, because we didn’t label it for them.”

Carol Krueger
Episode 90

How do we solve this problem? There is not a quick fix. We must start students at the beginning of their music education, scaffolding sounds and LABELS for the sounds from the elementary level. There are many barriers making this difficult for us. But it is so critical. Neurologically, music literacy is the SAME as linguistic literacy, and developing advancing skills in all types of literacy carry lasting benefits that all of our students deserve.

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Carol Krueger

Dr. Krueger formerly served as the Director of Choral Activities at Valdosta State University, Emporia State University, and Florida Southern.  She also served as the Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of South Carolina and the University of Montevallo.  A native of Wisconsin, Krueger received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and both an M.M. and D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from the University of Miami.

YouTube Channel

An active clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor, Krueger has most recently conducted festivals and honor choirs at the collegiate, high school and middle school levels in Maryland, Arkansas, South Dakota, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Kansas, New York, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Washington, Georgia, South Carolina, North Dakota, Indiana [2021] and Kentucky [2021]. In addition, Dr. Krueger served as the guest conductor of the North-North Central ACDA Middle School Treble Choir (Milwaukee, 2020) of Vivaldi’s Gloria in Carnegie Hall (2010), the Adult Chancel Choir and Chamber Singers at Montreat Presbyterian Association of Musicians Conference (2010), and multiple performances of Epcot’s Candlelight Processional and Massed Choir Program (2005). 

Krueger has presented interest sessions at the American Choral Directors National Convention in New York, the OAKE (Kodaly) National Convention in Charlotte, the ACDA Southern Division Conventions in Mobile, Nashville and Louisville, the Southern Division MENC Convention in Charleston, the North Central Division ACDA in Madison, the Eastern Division ACDA in Providence, the Eastern Division NAfME in Hartford, as well as interest sessions or workshops in twenty-eight states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas,  Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota,  Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia), Australia and England. Krueger is also widely recognized for her work with music literacy. Oxford University Press publishes her book, Progressive Sight Singing.

More resources Carol has generously shared with the Choralosophy Audience

Episode 89: Writing Music People LIKE to Sing with Alan Bullard

For this Oxford Press conversation, I was able to speak to composer Alan Bullard about his life, career and approach to choral music. We talked about what it was like to study with Herbert Howells, the need for music for flexible voicings, the contrasting economy of sheet music sales in the US and UK, as well as his approach to “compositional imposter syndrome.” I especially enjoyed his advice to younger composers. It’s ok to promote yourselves! It’s not bragging! It’s how the business works. So, sit back, relax and get to know Alan Bullard.

Alan Bullard
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Episode 89

Alan Bullard was born in 1947, grew up in London, and studied with Herbert Howells and Antony Hopkins at the Royal College of Music, and with Arnold Whittall at Nottingham University.He has been writing music all his life, and frequently undertakes commissions for choral societies, church choirs, orchestral societies and many other ensembles. His choral music, both sacred and secular, has been performed in a wide range of venues in the UK, the USA, and elsewhere.

Many of his choral works are published by Oxford University Press, and he is the editor of, and contributor to, The Oxford Book of Flexible Anthems, The Oxford Book of Flexible Carols, the Oxford Book of Easy Flexible Anthems, and the Oxford Book of Flexible Choral Songs. His works are recorded on CD by such ensembles as Selwyn College Choir, Kings College Choir, The Sixteen, and are regularly broadcast in the UK and the US.As well as music for a wide range of ensembles and soloists, he has also written much educational music, including the Joining the Dots sight-reading series, the Scale Explorer series (both ABRSM) and, jointly with his wife Janet, the Pianoworks series (OUP).He holds an ARCM from the Royal College of Music, a BMus from London University, an MA from Nottingham University and a DU (Honorary Doctorate) from Essex University, and he lives in East Anglia.

More Oxford Conversations

Episode 88: Music is Inherently Raceless with Theron Jenkins

Episode 88: Theron Jenkins

When discussing how music and education intersects with race, gender and culture, I find that we are often pretty quick to apply reductionist labels to the idea or concept. For example, phrases I have come across too often include “That’s a boy’s song,” or “Choral Music is an inherently white art form,” or “sight reading is a European value in Music Education.”

If we label these things based on their past origins, are we sending unintentional signals to students about who is welcome NOW?

Now, it’s possible I spend too much time reading through comment threads in Facebook groups, but it raises the issue of the unintended consequences for students and educators when they see or hear such blatant essentialism, though often well intended. In the latest addition to my Choral Music: A Human Art Form thread, Theron Jenkins and I discuss this issue in hopes of bringing some alternative discourses to light for the purpose of making choral music more accessible and inviting to people from every background. After all, Choral Music does not inherently have a race, nor is group singing European. Music is INHERENTLY human. From all to all.

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Episode 88 audio

YOUR 10 Favorite Episodes of 2021

John Rutter, JD Frizell, Odell Ziegler, a Newsweek writer and an Epidemiologist walk into a bar…

What do all of these people have in common? They, along with several others, have made the Choralosophy TOP 10 of 2021. The episodes and post that created the most buzz this year are listed, linked and reviewed below!

John Rutter, on the Oxford Series, comfortably nailed down the top episode of the year. Shared hundreds of times as thousands tuned in to the choral legend’s wise words and delightful optimism and wisdom.

The rest of the episodes are listed in no particular order, partly because it was difficult to distinguish them, other than the seemed to drum up more interest than a typical episode. One of the many things I love about the Choralosophy audience, is that the diversity of topics on the list doesn’t surprise me at all. Podcast listeners tend to be voracious consumers of thought provoking and wide ranging conversations.

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Top 10 2021 in Review!

Top 10 episodes covered music literacy, the educational/choral community’s bungled response to Covid, crafting a conductor’s credo, political polarization, authentic communication in performance, and the nation’s racial divide.

Click the image below to find the episode!

Other highlights from 2021 included the show cracking half a MILLION downloads and streams as well as inching into the top 1.5% of all global podcasts. Thanks for listening, and keep the conversation going!

YOUR 10 Favorite Episodes of 2021

John Rutter, JD Frizell, Odell Ziegler, a Newsweek writer and an Epidemiologist walk into a bar…

What do all of these people have in common? They, along with several others, have made the Choralosophy TOP 10 of 2021. The episodes and post that created the most buzz this year are listed, linked and reviewed below!

John Rutter, on the Oxford Series, comfortably nailed down the top episode of the year. Shared hundreds of times as thousands tuned in to the choral legend’s wise words and delightful optimism and wisdom.

The rest of the episodes are listed in no particular order, partly because it was difficult to distinguish them, other than the seemed to drum up more interest than a typical episode. One of the many things I love about the Choralosophy audience, is that the diversity of topics on the list doesn’t surprise me at all. Podcast listeners tend to be voracious consumers of thought provoking and wide ranging conversations.

https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/choralosophy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/2021-Top-10.mp3
Top 10 2021 in Review!

Top 10 episodes covered music literacy, the educational/choral community’s bungled response to Covid, crafting a conductor’s credo, political polarization, authentic communication in performance, and the nation’s racial divide.

Click the image below to find the episode!

Other highlights from 2021 included the show cracking half a MILLION downloads and streams as well as inching into the top 1.5% of all global podcasts. Thanks for listening, and keep the conversation going!

Performance is Virtuous, Unmasked Concerts and Teacher Burnout

Perform! And be proud of it!

Audiences NEED us this Holiday season. Our singers need to perform. Children need to see smiles. We inject so much joy into the world when we perform. In this short episode I discuss a few topics briefly that I felt the need to get off my chest. Including the critical nature of performance, of choral music as an art form, as well as the value of seeing faces. We have had good reason over the last couple of years to rationalize these things down the scale of importance, but it’s time to reevaluate that.

Car Thoughts!

I also talk about my thoughts related to teacher burnout that are a bit outside of the mainstream discourse. “Moral Injury” is a relatively new term that I believe applies to many teachers over the last year. Tune in to join the conversation.

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Perform! And be proud of it!
Visit my BRAND new Amazon Influencer Page. More lists and ideas coming soon!
Source: CIDRAP

By the way, I am back at it with a full concert season, and it feels great! I’m even giving performances with mostly unmasked choirs! I am excited about this, and am looking forward to the connections we will make as a result.

Introducing the Resonance 95!

Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get your discount every time you purchase!

The Resonance-95 mask is made of three layers, and includes a middle layer of non-woven polypropylene filtration fabric through out the mask. The Resonance-95 mask filters aerosols down to 0.2 microns with a 98-99% efficiency, and meets or exceeds the new ASTM F3502-21 standards for Barrier Face Coverings. It also meets the Respirator N95 Precertification Tests for NIOSH  which we will continue to pursue as we have to submit samples from several production lots before final certification is assigned. We have had this mask tested at Nelson Labs in Utah and provide the test results in these images. 

In addition to filtration efficiency, mask “fit” is very important for protection. Our mask holds snugly to the face, extends under the chin, and seals completely across the cheeks and nose with a bead of silicone beneath the extended malleable wire. This helps with fogging glasses, but also “proves” the seal helps contain exhaled aerosol particles (which carry viral particles if the person is infected or asymptomatically carrying the disease). The Resonance-95 mask is hand-washable and hang-to-dry.

Episode 87: Demystifying Pitch Matching Struggles with Don Brinegar

One of the most COMMON questions to pop up, almost weekly, on choir director Facebook groups is “what do I do to help these (usually boys, not always) match pitch?!” It is usually a panic induced, “I’ve tried everything” kind of post. This short episode brings in the expert, Donald Brinegar, choral director, professor and author of the book “Pitch Perfect: a Theory and Practice of Choral Intonation. There is a lot of mythology surrounding this topic, so take 20 minutes and demystify! Tune in for an explanation of Rainbow Ears, Frozen Vocal Folds and audiation with their “young child” voice, and more.

Donald Brinegar
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Episode 87
Be sure to check out Don’s previous appearance, and his bio.

Find “Pitch Perfect” by Donald Brinegar on Amazon! or on his website.

YouTube Version

Episode 86: All Students DESERVE Music Literacy with Odell Zeigler IV

An Unconventional Approach to the Urban Choral Classroom

I believe one of the biggest goals is getting the students interested in singing choral music before we start trying to operate out of formality. How do we get students interested in something they are not familiar with?

Odell Zeigler IV
Episode 86

Recently, I came across a shining light of logic, compassion and advocacy in the form of a ChoralNet article by Odell Zeigler IV. The article was shared far and wide, and it became clear to me right away that these ideas needed to be amplified on the show. I encourage you to read his short article, linked above, and THEN listen to this episode. I believe that this topic is critically important right now as we continue to grapple with what it really means to move the music education world in a more equitable direction. Are we focused on processes and root causes leading to improved outcomes later? Or are we focused on outcomes now while glossing over the processes? I appreciated Odell’s take as I read with excitement because he brings process solutions to the table, which is what we desperately need. Do you have students that aren’t comfortable using solfege, or singing with certain vowel formants? Don’t give up on them, or worse fall into the trap of “this isn’t for them!” They deserve a rich education, and all of its inherent challenges and opportunities for growth.

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Episode 86
Tune in!

He has since dedicated his life to inspiring the next generation of young music educators. As a music teacher himself, he understands the impact his words and actions have on a new class of great musicians and hopes to pass along his empathetic approach to education.

Odell wouldn’t be here if he didn’t live and breathe music, but his true passion lies in building leaders for tomorrow. From every live performance to his work in the classroom, Odell works to move others forward so they can one day do the same.

Episode 84: Exploring the Choirs of Europe with Gary Graden of St. Jacobs Kammerkör

The Second Installment Betsy Cook Weber’s Sabbatical Series!

In this stop, Betsy visits Stockholm, Sweden to see Gary Graden and the St. Jacobs Kammerkör. Betsy, Gary and I discuss how an American born director ended up learning from Eric Ericsson and never leaving. We also dive into the philosophies, practices and approaches that lead to such a virtuosic sound from this top flight Swedish choir. I was inspired by Gary’s passion for his job, which in his words is to provide his singers a high quality musical experience “interacting with great art.” In Betsy’s words, Gary is “in it to win it, but winning isn’t a trophy.” You won’t want to miss this conversation, or the concert clips!

Episode 84
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Episode 84

GARY GRADEN

was born in the USA and studied at Clark University, the Hartt School of Music, the Aspen Summer Music Festival, and with Eric Ericson at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Gary Graden is a former member and tenor soloist with the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, as well as the vocal ensemble Lamentabile Consort.

Gary Graden is presently Director of Music in the Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan) and S:t Jacob´s church. He has also been on the faculty of  Stockholm´s Musikgymnasium where founded and conducted the Stockholm Musikgymnasium´s Chamber Choir. With this choir and the S:t Jacobs Chamber Choir he has won grand prizes and first prizes in several of Europe´s most prestigious competitions, including the European Grand Prize.

He has also participated in a wide array of national and international festivals including the Tolosa Festival in Spain, the IFCM World Symposia in Minneapolis and Kyoto, Sagra Musicale Umbra in Italy, Debrecen Festival in Hungary,  Koorbiennale in Holland, the ACDA National Convention in USA, and is currently artistic director of the international choral festival La Fabbrica del Canto in Legnano.

Graden has commissioned and premiered more than 90 works by such composers as Sven-David Sandström, Anders Hillborg, Nana Forte, Thomas Jennefelt, Steve Dobrogosz,  Bo Hansson, Agneta Sköld, Gabriel Jackson, Anders Paulsson,  Javier Busto, Vytautas Miškinis, Urmas Sisask, Georg Riedel, Carl Unander-Scharin, Stephen Leek, Damijan Močnik, Corrado Margutti, Giovanni Bonato, and Michael Waldenby.

He has conducted several orchestras including the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra. the Stockholm Royal Opera Orchestra, Stockholm Rebaroque, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Philidor, France, and Camerata Strumentale Città di Prato as well as Orchestra da Camera Perugia in Italy. Above and beyond his specialization in the performance of contemporary music, he has performed such larger works as Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in c-minor, Bach’s passions and Mass in b-minor, as well as the Requiems of Brahms, Duruflé, Fauré and Michael Haydn.

Epiosode 84

Episode 83: “Exploring the Choirs of Europe” Rupert Gough of Royal Holloway

The First Installment of the a new series following Betsy Cook Weber on her Sabbatical

I am honored to present to you a new series of podcasts and videos with Dr. Betsy Cook Weber. Dr. Weber is on Sabbatical this semester, and she reached out to me to partner in documenting her travels across Europe. Her mission? To discover the “secret sauce” of many European scholastic and professional choral organizations. In the first installment Betsy and I speak with Rupert Gough of London’s Royal Holloway School. We cover the philosophy and practice that governs this fantastic choir from rehearsal and audition procedures to the challenge of getting British choirs to emote . Tune in for a fresh perspective and some beautiful sounds from their rehearsals.

Exploring Europe Series!
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Episode 83

Rupert Gough has been Director of Choral Music and College Organist at Royal Holloway, University of London since 2005. He is also Organist and Director of Music at London’s oldest surviving church, Great Saint Bartholomew, which maintains a professional choir. He previously spent 11 years as Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral where he worked closely with the choir both as accompanist and choir trainer. During this time he featured on 19 recordings as either organist or conductor, including six discs for Hyperion Records.   

His overall discography of nearly 50 commercial recordings encompasses work as a choir director, organist and harpsichordist, and includes the organ and choral works of Sir Percy Buck (Priory), the instrumental and choral works of Carson Cooman (Naxos and Albany), the complete works for violin and organ of Josef Rheinberger and choral works of Rihards Dubra, Vytautas Miškinis and Bo Hansson (Hyperion). 

Born in 1971, Rupert was a chorister at the Chapels Royal, St. James’s Palace, and won a scholarship to the Purcell School. He received (with distinction) a Masters degree in English Church Music from the University of East Anglia whilst Organ Scholar at Norwich Cathedral. In 2001 he won Third Prize at the St. Alban’s International Organ Competition. He is particularly renowned for his work in combination with violin as a member of the Gough Duo. The Duo’s many American tours have taken them all over the USA from Florida to Alaska. Recently they performed to audiences of 1,800 in Moscow and 1,200 in Hong Kong. 

As a conductor he has worked with a variety of professional choirs and orchestras including the Britten Sinfonia, the London Mozart Players, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Florilegium. He has also been fortunate to work with many distinguished soloists including Julian Lloyd Webber, Antony Rolfe Johnson, Felicity Lott, Susan Bullock, Emma Kirkby, James Bowman and Wayne Marshall. This summer he will be working alongside the King’s Singers in their first UK Summer School.

Dr. Betsy Cook Weber is a Madison Endowed Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Houston Moores School of Music.  She teaches a full load of coursework, oversees the large and varied choral area at the Moores School, and is also highly active internationally as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer.  

Episode 80: Finding Connection Again with Nicola Dedmon

At some point, we have to come back to choir, (or quit) and the Covid risk will not be zero. So, it is now unavoidable that we will have to become comfortable engaging with humans in close proximity because they NEED us. Choir is essential. Nicola Dedmon recently wrote a great article in the ACDA Western Division’s Tactus magazine over the summer that I recently found, and found very moving. So, here she is to tell her Covid story as well as discuss with me the choir world’s Covid Conversation.

How can we come back from the polarization, the finger pointing, and the political myopia and become leaders of diverse groups again?

One side thinks the other is pro-death and the other thinks the opposing side are authoritarian hypochondriacs trying to take over the world.

Nicola Dedmon
Nicola Dedmon
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Episode 80
Nicola’s Tactus Article

Professor Nicola Bertoni Dedmon is currently on faculty at Fullerton College as a Choral/Vocal Professor, where she coordinates the Choral Area and conducts the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, in addition to teaching private voice. She currently serves on the board of ACDA Western Division as an R&R Coordinator. Professor Dedmon is a graduate of James Madison University (BM) and Westminster Choir College (MM).

How To Fix Our Broken Relationship with COVID Math co-authored by Dr. Höeg from Episode 49 and 75

Episode 78: The Only White Guy in the Room with Maria and Chris

This special episode is something a bit different, in that it is a recap of a shared experience. All the way back on Episode 17, Marques Garrett challenged me to intentionally find an opportunity to be an “only” in the room. I had reflected in that conversation that, as a white guy, I don’t think I’ve ever been the “only one” in a room. “I don’t know what that feels like.” Marques suggested that he thought that might be good for me to experience. I agreed. Then Covid happened and the “live on air” challenge had to be tabled for a bit.

Episode 78

Enter my friend Maria Ellis to the rescue. (Find Maria’s past episode 29 pt. 2) I had seen Maria’s great videos about her church, and thought that as a musician, there was no better way to experience a cultural growth moment than in Maria’s music rich church in St. Louis. So, we set it up! Off to St. Louis I went, and wow did I have a great time. I learned so much! While I can’t know everything there is to know about Maria’s cultural experience in one day, I now have a frame of reference. I real life, shared experience that can put future interactions in a perspective that I did not have before.

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Episode 78

Episode 55: Music At the Intersection of Identities with Deborah Stephens

In this conversation, Soprano Deborah Stephens and I engage in an open and raw conversation about many aspects of identity and how it effects our concepts of self as well as how this effects our view of the music world. We hit the hot button topics of our own identities and how we see ourselves, tokenism, stereotypes in musical tastes, blind auditions, appropriation, “who is this music for?” and much more. You won’t want to miss a minute of this one!

Episode 55
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Deborah Stephens

Deborah Stephens graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in December 2019 with a Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance. She is currently in a Master of Music in Early Music, Oratorio, & Chamber Ensemble at Yale University. In September 2017, Deborah founded and began to direct VERITAS Vocal Ensemble, a small group of 10 UGA students passionate about choral singing. VERITAS has performed on the UGA Student Spotlight Concert, many faculty and student recitals, and hosted a joint-ensemble benefit concert to support music education. Deborah currently enjoys speaking engagements at universities and on music podcasts, has been featured by Early Music America, and performs with professional choral ensembles such as Kinnara, Coro Vocati, and the Lake Junaluska Singers, and is a sought after freelance soloist.

Featured Links:

deborahsopranos.wix.com/debyousee

https://www.liftmusicfund.org/

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