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ChorTeach Vol. 3, No. 1 Fall 2010 Practical Teaching Ideas for Todays Music Educator Dr.

Terry Barham, editor tbarham@emporia.edu

Welcome to ACDAs online magazine for choral director/music educators who are searching for answers and need fresh ideas or techniques to meet practical needs. The articles below have been gleaned from state ACDA newsletters around the United States and submissions from seasoned choral directors with topics germane to the profession. ChorTeach, our name, is derived from the German word for chorus, chor. It is pronounced, as most of you know, like the word, core. I hope ChorTeachs articles will be a breath of fresh air for you, provide you with a few ideas or techniques that give you a lift and help your singers reach the goals you and they have set. ChorTeach is designed for those of you who work with amateur singers at all levels. Whats in this issue? 1) Facebook, Email, and Twitter: How Tweet It Is! by Joelle Norris, Olive Branch, MS 2) Oakdale Prison Community Choir: A Person is a Person Through Other People by Mary Cohen, Iowa City, IA 3) Dynamic (and Effective) Teaching with Junior High/Middle School Singers by Karen Sims, Maize, KS 4) Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Reection and Personal Growth by Phil Hesterman, Grand Island, NE 5) A Systematic Approach to the Placement of Singers in Large Choirs by Brian Lanier, Maryville, MO

Facebook, Email, and Twitter: How Tweet It Is!


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bottom of a backpack. Email does not waste paper. Email does not require you to make copies or save them for the student who was absent that day. Email is my friend. I love it! Set up an email account just for your choir. Choose a name that parents will be able to remember easily. Our choir account is called olivebranchchoirs@yahoo.com. Choose the service (Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, etc.) that is the easiest for you to use. Send home one nal paper note with your student singers asking parents (and students, if you want their addresses as well) to email you at your new choir email address from the email address they use most often. They can simply type the word, subscribe, in the subject line and then you will be able to save that address to your address book. You can also have students or their parents ll out an information sheet (paper) with their preferred email address. You collect them and enter each yourself; however, there is more room for error with this approach and a much greater time commitment on your part. Create an email group with all the addresses you have collected for the current school year. Every time you have an announcement or important information to send home, you enter the group name in the TO eld, type your announcement and hit send. You can even add attachments containing permission slips, concert yers, fund-raising activities, etc. Facebook Did you know that there are over 500 million active Facebook users around the world? More than 250 million users log on to Facebook at least once a day, as of September 2010. Many students spend more time on Facebook than they do on their homework each day! A Facebook (FB) account is easy to set-up. Go to www.facebook.com and follow the instructions under Account. At rst, you may have some difculty nding your way around,
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Joelle Norris, Olive Branch HS, Olive Branch MS


(Reprinted with permission of Mississippi's Choral Advocate, Fall 2009)

My daughter never brings anything home to me!.I didnt even know we were selling Krispy Kreme donuts until last night and the orders are due today?.When is that concert? Weve all heard these statements numerous times and in various forms during the school year. It can be frustrating to send notes home to parents and then realize the messages arent getting there. Important information is often left crumpled at the bottom of a backpack, stuffed in a choir folder, or left on the risers for you, the teacher, to pick up after the class has left. We all know that effective communication with our students and parents is a sure way to better organize our programs and solve problems before they arise. Parents want to know whats going on. Making sure they have the information they need is the best way to keep them fully supportive of our choral programs. Within the past decade, the world of technology has presented us with new and improved vehicles for personal communication and dependable means of solving any number of problems such as those mentioned in the opening paragraph. These new tools can make our lives much easier.They can help us communicate with parents, students, and colleagues effectively and efciently. What are these tools? Email, Facebook, Twitter, and internet websites. Email Email messages cannot be left in the choir room or at the
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but after a bit of exploration, youll nd FB easy to use. The simplest way to use FB as a communication tool is to post status updates reminding your students about upcoming events, e.g., Mrs. Norris reminds all her students that they should get off Facebook now and go study for their sightsinging test tomorrow! You can create groups (similar to email) to send all of your students a message with minimum effort. The benet is that when someone responds to your message, everyone you emailed can see that response and the thread of other messages. FB is great for group discussions. I use it often for brainstorming ideas with student ofcers or setting up meeting times. You can also create Event Invitations to publicize your upcoming concerts or fundraisers. Students can forward the invitation with all the necessary information about the event to their friends and family on FB. NOTE: Recently, many school districts have prohibited teachers from using social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace to communicate with students. Make sure to check your districts communication policy. One possible solution would be to set up a FB account solely for your choir rather than using your personal account. You could also have a student you trust be in charge of posting updates for you. Either way, be sure that you save all communications about school/choir activities in case a problem arises. Twitter Next to Facebook,Twitter is probably the most-mentioned social networking tool in the news today. As an avid Facebook user, I didnt see the point of Twitter at rst. It seemed like a watered-down version of Facebook.You can add friends whom you then follow. You see their tweets which are like status updates in FB lingo. Twitter can be a helpful communication tool for choral programs in any situationschool, church, etc. To create a Twitter account for your choir, go to www.
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twitter.com and follow the sign-up instructions which are user friendly and self-explanatory. After you create your choir account, your choir parents and student singers can create their personal accounts and begin following your ensemble. Every time you tweet-post a short message--your parents and student singers will immediately get a text notication sent directly to their mobile devices. Twitter is a great way to send messages to parents and students in real time. Often, an email message may not be read until the information it contains has expired. With Twitter, you can be sure that the message is received immediately. Most students and parents have text messaging on their phones or Blackberrys which everyone carries all day, every day. To encourage students and parents to sign-up for Twitter, send an Email (through your choir email list) explaining the benets of Twitter and why they need to start following your tweets. Include precise instructions on how to set up the account. If you would like a print-out with my schools instructions for Twitter, visit www.olivebranchchoirs.com/ info and download it. Design a way to make your students want to have a Twitter account for themselves, e.g., during our last choir retreat, I posted a tweet giving an extra clue for the scavenger hunt we were having at that moment. Students who had not signed up for a Twitter account were obviously at a disadvantage. Another teaser: Offer candy or a pizza lunch, etc. Websites Websites are another ne tool for sharing information with your students and parents. Websites take time to set up, but you will make up for it when you direct student and parent questions to the choir website rather than having to repeat answers, in person, to the same questions over and over again. In the past, only a few tech people knew how to create web pages. Today you can nd user-friendly sites to guide you through the process of creating your own webpage. Try www. wix.com, a site that walks you step-by-step through the process.
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Start with a simple design and modify/enlarge your page as time moves on. Yahoo SiteBuilder is user friendly and allows you more freedom in designing your site. Items to consider including on your website include: choir events calendar, choir description page, an information page with details about upcoming events, audition requirements, links to resources and recordings, downloadable documents such as your choir handbook, school permission slips, and trip itineraries. If you arent currently using email, Facebook, Twitter or a website with your choir, choose only one or two of these tools to begin. If you get stuck, dont despair. One or more of your students will be happy to help you. Using the internet, another option is to do a Google search and nd step-by-step instructions or forums where you can ask questions about a specic problem. Whatever you decide to use as communication tools, make sure you are committed to them so that parents and students can adjust to your new methods of communication. Happy tweeting!

Change your thoughts and you change the world. Harold R. Mcalindon

Oakdale Prison Community Choir: A Person is a Person Through Other People


by

Mary Cohen, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Each Tuesday at 5 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters, fteen to twenty-ve men and women travel with me to the
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Iowa Medical and Classication Center (IMCC) known as Oakdale Prison in Coralville.There they join approximately twentyve imprisoned men to form the Oakdale Community Choir. I started the choir in 2009 after six years of studying, assisting, and directing prison choirs. Before moving to Iowa City, I assisted Elvera Voth with the East Hill Singers (EHS), a chorus of minimum security males incarcerated in Kansas at the Lansing Correctional Facility and other men from the Kansas City region (Go to www.artsinprison.org for more information on the East Hill Singers and to www.choralresearch.org for an article I wrote about a Robert Shaw sing-along that provided seed money to start Arts in Prison, Inc.). For six months I directed a subgroup of the East Hill Singers, the Osawatomie East Hill Singers, which was comprised of men incarcerated on the grounds of the Osawatomie State Hospital known by the Kansas Department of Corrections as Lansing South.These men were participating in a therapeutic community where they learned how to deal with substanceabuse issues. I have completed a number of research studies about prison choirs, so after assuming my new teaching position at the University of Iowa School of Music, I inquired about forming a prison choir where I could combine research, teaching, and service. In 2008, I met with Lowell Brandt, the warden of IMCC at that time, who supported the idea of forming a combined community-prison choir. Messages were sent to choral directors in the Iowa City area inviting interested singers to join the new choir. As of September 2010, we have had a total of 59 community people (outside singers), including University of Iowa students, faculty, staff, and individuals from the region, plus 51 men in the general population of IMCC (inside singers) participate in this unique choir. We usually have an equal number of outside and inside singers during a season, 22-28, although this fall we have been inundated with community members who want to participate. I am working with the prison administration to create a rotating schedule of community participants so that our numbers do not overwhelm staff and security. Warden Daniel Craig and his administration have been very supportive of this program, and we are grateful for their partnership.
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All participants voluntarily sing in the choir unless they are enrolled in one of the graduate classes I teach. These students are required to sing in the choir as a service/learning component within the course. Many students, outside singers, had misperceptions about prisoners and the criminal justice system. One wrote: When I rst started the project, I was not thrilled about singing in a prison choir. I thought the prisoners were going to be rough looking and not very friendly. I expected them to be in shackles and not interested in singing. I quickly learned that they were human beings, had feelings, and wanted to sing. I co-taught an undergraduate course on human rights. Those students were required to attend a rehearsal or concert. In their reections, nearly all noted that they learned that prisoners were people, too. It seems that television shows and movies tend to give the public a mistaken view of people in prison. The Oakdale Community Chorus performs two concerts in the prison gym at the culmination of the choral season. The rst concert is for other prisoners at IMCC and a few guests. The second concert is for outside guests including choir members families. During the concerts, a few singers read written reections about the songs texts and the theme of the concert. A writing component is included in this project, a feature designed to help build camaraderie, deepen thinking about the choral singing process, and provide a communication channel between choristers and me, the director. Introductions for the various works are drawn from the written reections. Our concert themes have included Peace and Place (spring 2009), Rivers and Rocks (summer 2009), Light in the Darkness (winter 2009), and More Love (spring 2010). We record each performance and send CDs to family members of the men in the prison. Upcoming concerts are scheduled for Tuesday, December 7, and Wednesday, December 15. A limited number of outside audience members may attend these performances. If you are interested in attending, contact me at mary-cohen@uiowa.edu. People who participate in music-in-prison programs derive multiple benets from their experience. As you know from working with choirs, in order for an ensemble to succeed, chorus members must subsume individual wants and desires and
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work for the good of the entire group. This process helps participants develop a sense of group responsibility, an important skill for everyone to hone, particularly for people behind bars. One community participant wrote, In four-part harmony, there is a process like weaving or DNA twisting as the strands of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass intertwine; the parts sung together are more beautiful and stronger than on their own. The coming together of both outside and inside singers is powerful as we move through the process of creating beautiful choral music during each semester. In addition to rehearsing and performing choral arrangements, I have also facilitated songwriting with choir members.To date, we have performed ve original songs. This past summer, I offered a songwriting workshop for men in the prison. These opportunities for self-expression give participants a sense of ownership in the choir and help build self-esteem through worthiness and competence. According to one of the men in prison, Since joining the choir, Ive noticed more self condence around other people. At rst I was scared, thinking I might not be good enough or maybe others would look down on me. I was greeted by the volunteers with grace and kindness. Another wrote: I feel more condent about myself. My self-esteem is much higher. I feel more important in knowing that there are people on the outside of prison that care about me. Two other prisoners have written about how the choir has helped them: Since the formation of this choir, Ive noticed numerous changes within myself in various areas. I was all about myself and didnt care much about others. The choir, through bringing me to a happier, well-adjusted place in my own thought, changed that. Another stated: I believe that being part of this choir, being a small part of something bigger than ourselves, something outside of ourselves and seeing the example of people who live outside of themselves can wake more of us up. . . . to who we have been and who we can be. In general, prison populations are hidden communities in our society. One perception is that when someone has committed a crime, he or she should be locked up and do time without the outside community thinking critically about societal or personal factors that contributed to the criminals behavior. One of the reasons I initiated a combined prisonerwww.acda.org/publications

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volunteer choir was to increase awareness of the problems facing our criminal justice system and to think more creatively, productively, and humanely about how to improve it. Rehabilitation does not happen on its own. An underlying foundational concept within this Oakdale choir, Ubuntu (see Fisher, 2006/07), means that a person is a person through other people. When people join together for choral singing, whether inside or outside a prison, participants develop human and musical relationships created in rehearsals and performances that affect their identities in a positive manner. Best wishes to each of you as you provide meaningful opportunities for those people lucky enough to sing and grow as people in your ensembles. Helpful Resources A recent issue of the International Journal of Community Music focused on criminal justice and music. International Journal of Community Music (2010). 3(1). doi: 10.1386/ ijcm.3.1.3/2. Vivien Stern wrote a simple-to-read book that covers the challenges of incarceration and crime: Stern, V. (2006). Creating Criminals: Prisons and People in a Market Society. New York, NY: Zed Books. Cohen, M. L. (2008). Mother Theresa, How Can I Help You? The Story of Elvera Voth, Robert Shaw, and the Bethel College Benet Sing-Along for Arts in Prison, Inc. International Journal of Research in Choral Singing 3(1), 4-22. See www. choralresearch.org Fisher, S. (2006/07).Why we need choral musicUbuntu. The Voice of Chorus America, p. 40.

Success isnt permanent, and failure isnt fatal. Mike Ditka

Dynamic (and Effective) Teaching with Junior High/Midle School Singers


by
Karen Sims, Maize South Middle School, Maize, KS (Reprinted with permission of the author)

Talk little, sing much. Focus on the three Es: eyes, energy and emotion. Where the eyes are, the brain is. Avoid working just for correct notes with singers. Become a master at identifying problems and then determining the most efcient way to solve them. Use the Socratic method. Ask questions requiring one word or short answers, e. g., Does that note go up, down, or stay the same? Then ask a specic student (not the entire group) for the answer. Keep the pace moving quickly and the students engaged. Lead students to make musical decisions. Dont tell students what they can discover for themselves. Work from what is good and positive to what needs correction. Always end with success. Avoid asking questions like Do you want to sing ...........? unless it really doesnt matter to you. As much as possible, work with ALL sections of the choir. Address the entire class, not just one section, as you teach.

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Have a plan; work the plan; and list the plan on the board. Make sure students know for what they are working. Hold them accountable and be ECSTATIC when they get it! Develop visual anchors and consistent signals to communicate with your singers. Be interesting to watch. Remember: What they see is what you get. Do not over-sing the easy sections of a piece or merely sing through the entire work every day. Start at other places than the beginning of the score. Rehearse based on the structure of the music, e.g. ABACA. Teach (rehearse) classroom and performance procedures: how to pass in the music, how to walk on to risers, how to transition from one activity to the next, how to ask a question during rehearsals, how to walk into the classroom. For most students, choir is a new experience. Train them intentionally. Have fun! Start traditions and establish a special identity as a team. Remember: T E A M = Together Everyone Achieves More. Give your customers, your singers, a reason to come back for more every day. Nip mistakes and errors quickly before your students form wrong habits. Always have your antennae up and your ears turned on. Let singers know you are listening and watching intently to their progress. Avoid TB -- Tired Butt! Include movement, a change in standing order, standing up when singers have an important musical entry, etc. in every rehearsal. Kids cant sit still; they have to move, so channel their energy! Relate as much as you can to the feeling in the music. Let students own the music; talk about what it means to them (at the right time). If you, the teacher, are taking a problem home, its time for action. Do something different; talk to a trusted colleague.

The voice is half-way between the mind and the heart. Remember to nurture all three in your rehearsals. A love of music is caught not taught. Your students may not always remember what you teach, but they will remember you!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Reection and Personal Growth


by Phil Hesterman, Trinity Lutheran Church, Grand Island, NE

(Reprinted with permission of Nebraska's Short Notes, Spring 2010)

In computer science, reection is the process by which a computer program can observe and modify its own structure and behavior. For musicians, the programming paradigm driven by reection is called reective programming. As choral directors and music educators, we practice reective programming within the human dimension. Reective programming involves giving careful consideration to the literature we have chosen for rehearsals and concerts. As the end of another school year quickly approaches, it is an appropriate time to reect on the year drawing to a close.Were there successes? I would hope so.Were there things that were not so successful? Undoubtedly. As an educator and choral director, I want to build on the ideas that were successful during the past year while trying to learn from the things that were not so successful. In the fairy tale Snow White, made famous in the 1937 Disney movie, the queen would ask the mirror on her wall, Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who in the land is fairest of all? The mirror always replied: You, my queen, are fairest of all. Always expecting the same answer, the queen was shocked when the mirror reported one day that Snow White was fairest of all.

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As choral directors, are we always expecting positive reections which stroke our egos? Are we prepared for honest feedback, honest thoughts given by others? For directors new to the eld, the idea of reection might be difcult at rst, since there are relatively few experiences on which to practice this helpful technique; however, reection is essential, I believe. Each day, one usually glances briey (maybe longer) in a mirror to check ones appearance before leaving home. Adjustments are made based upon what one sees. In the same manner, a choral director who looks into the mirror of past experiences--concerts and rehearsals--learns to make necessary adjustments to move forward and progress. College methods classes, practicum experiences, student teaching, workshops, and conferences are valuable tools. As the young choral director becomes more procient in working with choirs and developing a choral program, new avenues and new perspectives can bring into focus additional ways to improves ones teaching, conducting, classroom demeanor, etc. Professional interaction with music teachers in the eld and with other teachers in ones school setting are important since these colleagues can share their ideas about you, your teaching, and your program; they share their reections, their thoughts, with you. This takes courage on your part, but the rewards are great. Just as a glimpse in the mirror can give a person an idea if he or she is the fairest in the land, so a heart-to-heart visit with a trusted friend and/or colleague can shed light on how you are progressing--whether or not you are the fairest choral director in the land. Recently, a young teacher asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her because she was applying for a new teaching position and needed to update her professional portfolio. It gave me an opportunity to reect on how she had grown as an individual and as a professional. In the letter, I noted how passionate she was about teaching and how she is fully committed to her school and to her students. This young teacher has established high standards and expects her students to meet them. She knows that if she lowers the bar, her students standards will suffer.This individual makes it a habit to treat her students in a positive manner. She frequently shows them how they are part of something unique
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in her school. I appreciated the opportunity to provide a letter for this talented young choral director because it gave me an occasion to reect upon my own work. And, yes, I discovered that there are still things for me to learn as a veteran teacher and choral director. A choral directors methods and teaching strategies form a toolbox of sorts.These techniques and ideas form a resource for productive teaching. Ones collection of skills grows throughout the various stages of a teaching career, most likely shaping ones outlook with the help of reective programming. Take a look in your mirror with an eye toward the future as you continue to work at becoming the fairest in all the land.

Each time a person stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, that person sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. Crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. Robert F. Kennedy

A Systematic Approach to the Placement of Singers in Large Choirs


by Brian Lanier, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO
(Reprinted with permission of the author)

One of the most important factors for successful choral performances is the proper placement and distribution of voices within a choir. In order for singers to demonstrate acceptable
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levels of competence with musical elements such as balance, blend, intonation, and textual unity, it is paramount that each singer be placed in the section where he or she is most comfortable. By designing a plan based on the quality, range, and character of individual voices, a conductor is able to effectively guide performers to successful and satisfying results. In the case of small- to medium-sized choirs of eightsixty members, the task of hearing each individual singer is relatively easy.The conductor can arrive at a placement arrangement which satises his or her concept for choral sound; however, when the membership of a choral group is larger, there is typically not enough time to hear each singer and develop a plan for systematic placement. It is not uncommon for choirs at universities and in many cities to exceed 100 members. Some choruses number 150-200 or more members. Our university choir recently had 160 members meeting twice a week for 50 minutes per rehearsal. While it is exciting to have so many people involved in singing, this situation creates a dilemma for the conductor when it comes to voice testing and placement. How much time would be needed to hear each singer for even a few minutes? Too much! When faced with a large number of singers and little time to listen to individuals, a common approach has been to permit the singers to self-select their section (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and then sit in the area designated by the conductor. While this may be a quick way to get the group organized and begin the rehearsal process, it is not the most efcient or logical method. This article introduces the use of a guided approach to selfselection which can lead to a more balanced choir, more accurate voice placement within sections, and, ultimately, a more manageable choral organization. The Process As the singers enter the rehearsal room, each should sit in the designated areas by
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section (as in the usual self-select method). All members of the choir should complete a vocal placement form on which they write their name, their vocal part (if they have a preference), their gender, and the number of years they have sung in any choir (Figure 1). On the form above are two staves, one in treble and one in bass clef, with a series of note-heads from low to high range. The conductor leads each section through a series of vocalises during which singers are asked to circle their highest and lowest comfortable pitches. To help identify the singers highest comfortable pitch, use a three-note arpeggio (do-mi-sol) on nee-ee-ah starting in the middle range for each section (Figure 2). To simplify the form, accidentals should not be used. Singers are guided to add them as needed throughout the testing process. As the exercise ascends by half-steps, the conductor offers ideas which help singers understand basic concepts of good choral tone and comfortable singing, stopping occasionally to offer support and

Figure 1
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Figure 2 answer questions. To help singers identify their lowest comfortable pitch, use a ve-note descending scale (sol-fa-mi-re-do) on mah (Figure 3). Begin in mid-range and descend by half-steps. Help the singers identify their lowest audible pitches.

Figure 3 When singers in all sections have completed the form, collect them. Sort the forms from the highest pitches circled to the lowest. By noting the range of comfortable pitches on the forms, the conductor can design a type of vocal map. In order to create systematic and manageable seating, it is useful to consider the choir as having two major divisions-female and male voices. After sorting the information forms from highest to lowest comfortable singing pitches (male and female), assign each singer a number: 1 = highest voice among females, males, etc., 2 = next highest voice among females, males, etc., 3 = next highest voice, etc., until all singers of each gender have been assigned a number which corresponds to his or her indicated vocal range. Naturally, several singers will have circled identical numbers. In this case, the conductor may use the additional information on the form to help decide the particular number for these singers, perhaps noting the number of years sung in a choir or personal knowledge of a singers skills. Once the numbers have been assigned to each singer, decide how to divide the voices within the sections based on
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the repertoire to be rehearsed. This task works well when using the numerical system, e.g., if a choir has 90 female singers and 60 male singers, divide the vocal forces to t the repertoire. A workable division of SSAATTBB voices is shown in Table 1. The nal step for implementing this system is to place the singers in the room according to their number. Using 4 x 6 cards (colored cards work best), write a number on each (1 90 for females and 1 60 for males). In order to expedite the process and minimize confusion, use one color for women and another for men. Prior to the next rehearsal, tape the cards on chair backs in the desired formation for the rst work to be rehearsed. As singers enter the room, tell each person his or her seat number from a master list. Each singer then nds his or her seat with ease. Seating arrangements will vary, obviously, depending on the literature and the conguration of the rehearsal room.Table 2 is an example of a successful female voice seating arrangement in a large choir. A similar arrangement works well for male voices. By placing the singers in columns of ve, distinct sections are both visible and audible. Furthermore, if the conductor wishes to modify the balance within sections, it is easily accomplished by adjusting the part assignments through the use of the numerical system. A conductor may discover, during rehearsal, that there are too many soprano Is for a particular work or section. Rather than pointing to three or four and re-assigning them to the
Table 1 Vocal Part Soprano I Soprano II Alto I Alto II Tenor I Tenor II Bass I Bass II Starting number 1 21 46 66 1 15 31 42 Ending number 20 45 65 90 14 30 41 60

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Table 2 1 10 11 20 21 30 31 40 41 50 51 60 61 70 71 80 81 90 2 9 12 19 22 29 32 39 42 49 52 59 62 69 72 79 82 89 3 8 13 18 23 28 33 38 43 48 53 58 63 68 73 78 83 88 4 7 14 17 24 27 34 37 44 47 54 57 64 67 74 77 84 87 5 6 15 16 25 26 35 36 45 46 55 56 65 66 75 76 85 86

soprano II part, make a one-sentence announcement: The soprano I part will now include singers 1 16; soprano IIs are 17 45. An additional benet of this system is that this type of change will keep singers singing the same part seated close to one another. This system allows for numerical adaptation from one work to another and keeps singers informed and condent regarding their part assignments, eliminating guesswork and confusion. To help singers, write part-division information for each work on a chalk board. Once this information is common knowledge and new music is handed out, the conductor can refer to the visual division of parts, thus saving time. While the day-to-day management of a large choir can be a challenge, the use of a systematic approach for singer placement allows one to organize and create seating arrangements based on a carefully thought-out process, thus helping each singer experience success. I believe the implementation of this system can lead to healthier vocal production among singers, improved balance across the choir, more efcient use of time in rehearsal, and, ultimately, better performances.

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