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teach it once and then students can use it. Such things as the Rule of Dissonance, Rule of Baroque style (or any style period), Rule of Word Stress, Rule of Dynamic Contrast, Rule of Singing Line (whatever is appropriate the piece: < >, or <<<<, etc.), Rule of Texture, ANYTHING!


There is no magic in any of these sample rules. Rules should reflect those behaviors valued by the teacher and should engage students more in the rehearsal process. Rules provide an opportunity for students to use higher order thinking skills because when an expectation is established (the rule), students must determine if it was met, or why not, if it was not met. From this beginning, students can develop judgment about applying rules; if something doesn’t sound good, what could the choir do (what rule could we apply?) to improve the sound. Rules can be an excellent means for establishing independence with singers who lack formal training.


Certainly there is no one magical way to teach. The magic comes from a teacher; the person whose judgment determines what literature


and what pedagogy will best suit the needs of singers in each particular choir. When choral teachers broaden their knowledge of repertoire and teaching stratagies, this simply means they have a much broader range of choices; the implication being that broader choices of literature and pedagogy allow more subtle discrimination by the conductor/teacher. Staying professionally current is essential.


Teaching middle/high school singers in developing choirs to become independent musicians can be boring drudgery or highly rewarding. The distance between these two perspectives in developing choirs, however, is probably quite small. One bridge that could lead from boring drudgery to highly rewarding is indeed staying current with best practice across the years—-and this should perhaps be our top priority!


Bowers, Judy. “Classroom Management in Choral Settings.” Florida Music Director, 1999, Vol. 53, No. 3, pp 8–11.


Bowers, J. (2011). Structuring Success in Beginning Middle School Choral Ensembles, in Teaching Music through


Performance in Choir, ed. Frank Abrahams. Chicago: GIA Press.


Bowers, J (2008). Building Early Choral Experiences, The Middle School Program. In, Holt, M and Jordan, J. The School Choral Program: Philosophy, Planning, Organizing, and Teaching, Chicago: GIA Publications, Inc.


Choksy, Lois (1981). The Kodaly Context. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.. Madsen, Clifford K., and Terry Lee Kuhn (1994). Contemporary Music Education.


Raleigh, NC:


Contemporary Publishing Company..


Judy Bowers, Professor of Choral Music


Education at The Florida State University, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral music and music education, and conducts the Women’s Glee Club.


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February/March 2015


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