Spring Concert Time, Already?

 

This is a Web Quest for secondary choral music students or for choral music teachers desiring to find resources on the web. It was designed by Sahara Waiters, Choral Director at Seneca and Central High Schools, as a web project for the EDTD675 Web Use and Publishing class.

 

swaiter1@jefferson.k12.ky.us

 

So often, choral students complain about the choices of music their conductors make when preparing for a concert. If you are a student, do you remember the last time you said, "This is stupid! I hate this music, I wish we were singing something else!" Well, Music Maker, here's your chance to make a change! Your conductor has fallen ill, and as the Assistant Conductor, you've been given the opportunity to research and find concert material in which to prepare the choir for it's Spring Concert.

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Your Challenge

  • Decide upon a general theme of your concert.
  • Go to the web and research choral music currently available.
  • Choose pieces that will fall under the general theme.
  • Listen to a variety of pieces and select those that are most appropriate for the singers' abilities and voicings. Keep in mind that you are an instructor and sometimes pieces are selected for instructional purposes as well as for entertainment.
  • Try find enough music to fill at least an hour's worth of music.
  • Design a program and write program notes.

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Resources

Listed are a variety of publisher's sites. Use one or more of the following sites to find appropriate music for your concert.

 

  1. http://www.choralmusic.com/ Contains titles by Ruth Elaine Schram. Church and School music options available.
  2.  http://www.musicanet.org/ It would be best to use the simplified search first. Start out with at least one criteria, search, then go back and add another criteria, search, etc. until you are satisfied with the selections found.
  3. http://www.majormusic.com A listing of music for choral groups. No sound examples available.
  4.  http://www.jwpepper.com/cgi-bin Choose the School music menu and proceed.
  5. http://www.hinshawmusic.com/products/index.html Contains lists of titles
  6. http://www.demiq.com Contains lists of titles
  7. http://www.smcpublications.com/catalog/music/choral/index.html Contains lists of titles
  8. http://www.gladdemusic.com/ See copies of scores and hear midi files from the composer Bradley Nelson.
  9. http://www.jaymar.com/choral.htm Contains lists of titles and examples of scores.
  10. http://www.maleckimusic.com Interactive catelog for ordering music for chorus, band, school, church, piano and more.
  11. http://www.handlo.com A listing of music in public domain. Scores can be purchased and directly downloaded in Acrobat format. Ready to photocopy. Licenses purchaser to copy sufficient number for choir upon the act of payment.
  12. http://www.hinshawmusic.com Listing of titles
  13. http://www.halleonard.com Titles are listed in abc order but are not organized by style or voicing.
  14. http://www.southernmusic.com Check out archive for Pop and Show Choir titles in various voicings.

 

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 The Process

  • Decide upon a general theme of your spring concert. Will it be a traditional theme with pieces from one or several historical eras? Will it be all fun music such as music from musicals, Disney, or pop music?
  • Be prepared by choosing more than one option in case you can not find enough music to fit your theme.
  • Investigate several of the resources indicated above. Some sites have real audio clips for previewing. Choose music that will be appropriate for your group's ability. Choose a variety of voicings.
  • Order one copy of each choice and preview. When you have received the music, play through and analyze each piece for appropriateness of vocal range and level of difficulty. Make definite decisions and order enough copies for your choir members. Please don't photocopy. It's against the law, you know!
  • Now you're ready to plan rehearsals, prepare the singers, and type your program! Good luck!

 

 

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Learning Advice

Okay, everyone is now prepared to perform. What's next? You are now ready to organize your concert. Think about your audience. Thinks of the student's stamina. Vocally challenging music may need to go at the beginning of your program. What is the level of sophistication of your audiences musical experiences? Keep in mind that students must constantly by challenged with a variety of music. Your selections should not be "dumbied down" just because of the student's or their parents underdeveloped appreciation for variety of musical styles and genres.

Consider the performance order of the individual pieces. Pieces by the same composer can be performed in blocks. Mini works can be either at the beginning or at the end of a program separated by a brief intermission. Group individual pieces in a way that intersperses up tempo numbers and slow numbers. Provide verbal transitions by the conductor or selected students. speaking directly to the audience. Audiences welcome brief introductions and/or interesting anecdotes to further enhance their listening experience.

Make your concert program eye catching and engaging. Using free graphics or icons heighten the overall appearance of your program. Include the names of the performers, soloists, accompanists, and guest artists. Students cherish something tangible to remember the choral experience, especially when they feel that it was a wonderful performance. Parents are proud to see their child's name in print!

The following notes are directed toward the adult user:

Provide adequate introductions to new music and engage in activities that further the understanding of the music. Activities such as having students summarize the text, improvise on a motive or melody in the music, or use the internet to research the composer, lyricist, or poet.  Have the students write program notes for the works, individual pieces, or featured composer. After students have completed the drafting, editing, peer conferencing and rewriting processes, choose one or several of the best examples of student's work to be featured in the concert program.

 

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Conclusion

 

There is nothing more frustrating to a new teacher or an experienced teacher than to feel like every program or every combination of pieces has been performed. We don't want to get bored with a standard repertoire, neither do we want to feel helpless in our desire to find new music. I challenge you to continue to look for that next great piece. Continue to challenge your students or choir members to step eagerly into new musical adventures. Finally, continue to encourage and broaden the musical awareness of both the performers and the audience.

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