Band Directors Teaching Choir-Help! I’m not a pianist! Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Here at Stanton’s, we’re aware of the rising number of music teachers working outside of their specialty. Cutbacks have forced many instrumental specialists to begin teaching choir-but never fear! In this series, we will try to give some advice on where to start, as well as recommending some “tried and true” products that will help you become a great choral educator!
Wishing you had paid more attention during class piano in college? Or cursing your mom for letting you quit going to lessons so you could play Little League? You’re not alone! True, some choral directors are accomplished pianists, but many are not. Here are some tips if you find your skills aren’t up to par:
Accompaniment CD’s-While a live accompanist is always best, there are accompaniment CD’s for much of the school choral literature. The CD will generally include 2 tracks, one with a full performance and one with just the accompaniment. How can you tell if a piece has an accompaniment track available? It’s usually printed on the first page of the octavo, or you can always check our website.
Sing Along Tracks-Some publishers (most prominently Carl Fisher and BriLee,) offer free, online resources for learning their music, including recordings of the piano accompaniments and even individual parts. If you can only play one part at a time, hook your computer up to the classroom stereo and have it play another part so you can rehearse two at a time.
A Cappella Literature-Maybe you are up to learning one or two accompaniments but not a whole concert’s worth, so consider an a cappella selection. It’s not as scary as you think! A cappella pieces are available at all difficulty levels and voicings, and force your students to work on intonation, tone, balance and blend. If you doubt your students abilities in this area, start out with one voicing below what they usually sing: If you usually sing SATB, try a 3 part selection; if you usually sing 3 parts, use a round or partner song to practice this skill.
Don’t be shy about asking for help, especially if you are new to the choral world. As always, the experienced choral directors at Stanton’s are thrilled to help you select materials, make recommendations or give advice. Contact us at 1-800-42-MUSIC, extension 1 or visit our store. We look forward to seeing you soon!