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Choir directing


jonadkins
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I am about to have increased responsibility for directing our choir, after having played for several years, and was wondering if there are messagebords of the quality of this one devoted to directing/conducting. I realise that many contributors to this forum will also have responsibilities in this area.

 

This is a superb forum, and I have learnt a great deal from it, and I'm sure I will continue to do so. I'm sorry if this is not the place, being as it obviously is an organists' forum, but any suggestions re. MBs, or alternatively advice, shared experiences would be most welcome.

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I can't think of any quite like this, but I'd be willing to start one if there was someone else to share the moderating. (As has been seen here, a modicum of benign moderation is probably essential.)

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I can't think of any quite like this, but I'd be willing to start one if there was someone else to share the moderating. (As has been seen here, a modicum of benign moderation is probably essential.)

 

I'm happy to moderate.

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Having had years - nay, decades - directing church choirs of all levels of attainment, attended countless choirtraining courses, lectures, demonstrations &c., as well as passing the RCO choir-training diploma in 1976, I finally found some material, just over a year ago, which surpasses by many miles everything I have ever come across on the subject and it all comes from the USA. Let me say at the outset that I have never been the greatest fan of anything connected with the USA but they do seem to have an incredibly good system of pedagogy for teaching things like choir training. Increasingly I suspect their educational systems are currently better than ours.

 

You could look at www.singers.com where they have some useful books, videos and DVDs.

 

Better still, go to http://www.giamusic.com/music_education/index.cfm

Anything involving James Jordan - books/DVDs/Videos - is worth getting. He works with the Westminster College Choir of Rider University and was a student of Elaine Brown. One of his own best graduate students has been Matthew MeHaffey who has, himself, now written several books. You get incredible clear, sensible and logical help with all aspects of choral singing, vocal technique, blend, intonation,accompaniment, conducting, rehearsing &c., &c., &c., They are infinitely better than anything you will ever come across on an RSCM course or in magazines like Organists' Review or Choir & Organ. You learn about getting choirs to improve their intonation by listening harmonically, you learn about applying Laban to conducting and you learn many other things as well.

 

On a personal and pastoral level (for every choir director must be pastoral and deal with people) James Jordan's short book "The Musician's Soul" is about the best I have ever read on the subject. It has additional chapters by his former students, including one very moving chapter by Matthew Mehaffey. In that short book you learn, amongst other things, about mimetics and centering.

 

There is much helpfuladvice on a revolutionary system, developed by James Jordan's regular accompanist, whereby the pianist is able to help choirs stay better in tune during rehearsals.

 

All these purchases from the USA arrive in the UK quite quickly. Occasionally you have to pay customs duty. I have spent literally several hundred pounds on this merchandise over the past year and I consider it amongst the best use I have ever made of my money. It has totally changed my whole outlook on, and technique of, choir directing. Those who like to conduct church or chamber choirs in the manner of Boult conducting a large symphony orchestra will probably disagree with a lot of it (and, sadly, there are people around who want to conduct church choirs &c., in that way) but that is their problem.

 

Malcolm

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Those are good resources.

 

Referring to the first question, though, is it a discussion board like this one which is wanted? Or is the need served by access to materials like those in the links Malcolm has given?

 

(Thanks ajt - much appreciated.)

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Thanks for the responses and offer to start things, drd - The links to material on directing (like giamusic - very forward-thinking) are great, but one of the things I like about this site is the opportunity for mutual support and ideas-sharing.

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I am about to have increased responsibility for directing our choir, after having played for several years, and was wondering if there are messagebords of the quality of this one devoted to directing/conducting. I realise that many contributors to this forum will also have responsibilities in this area.

 

This is a superb forum, and I have learnt a great deal from it, and I'm sure I will continue to do so. I'm sorry if this is not the place, being as it obviously is an organists' forum, but any suggestions re. MBs, or alternatively advice, shared experiences would be most welcome.

I'll post what I suspect you and others may well be thinking...

 

How about having such a section on this forum, please, Mr. Mander, Sir, considering that most organists are also involved in choir training?! It could be fun and, I'm sure, very worthwhile! :(

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Possibly the best solution would be for there to be a new section on this board, with a range of suitable forums within. If our hosts agree tht is.

 

Otherwise, as said I would be happy to set one up at a different URL, which would take a few minutes to do.

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How about having such a section on this forum, please, Mr. Mander, Sir, considering that most organists are also involved in choir training?! It could be fun and, I'm sure, very worthwhile! :(

 

Yes please! It does seem like there's a huge cross-over of interests and a ready made user base that would be more difficult to establish from scratch.

Steve

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Yes please! It does seem like there's a huge cross-over of interests and a ready made user base that would be more difficult to establish from scratch.

Steve

 

Completely agree! The synergy works well, and it would be really good to have choir-based stuff included with the organ discusssions....

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and a ready made user base that would be more difficult to establish from scratch

That's the key, isn't it? That, and the nuisance of swapping over to see what mostly the same people had to say on the other side.

I can quite see why Manders might want to keep the board as a whole 'on topic', though.

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May I then suggest that all those who would like our generous hosts to consider it might like to sign up below, so to speak?

 

I, for one, think it would be a splendid and worthwhile addition to this discussion board, and hope that Manders may be willing to extend their generosity, should they see fit.

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There has been already a significant number of 'choral' topics and I do not recall any adverse reaction from the Mander moderator. Most of us here, I contend, spend much of our time playing the organ in the context of the church service and the vast majority of organs are, surely, designed with choral accompaniment as a significant aspect of the overall plan. I hope that a section for the choral side of things might be thought useful.

 

And while I'm on the line, would I be treading on too many toes if I suggested that 'The Organ and its Music' and 'Nuts and Bolts' should merge under the former title, with a new third category 'Church Music and the Organ', although I'm sure many others can think up much snappier titles.

 

Translation of the above dose of verbal diarrhoea: sign me up!

 

David Harrison

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For those whose choir directing responsibilities include a need for pre-Vatican 2, or better quality post-Vatican 2, music and help with performing it - either Roman or Anglo Catholic - could do worse than look each day at the New Liturgical Movement website. They sometimes have useful music that can be downloaded free.

 

Malcolm

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And while I'm on the line, would I be treading on too many toes if I suggested that 'The Organ and its Music' and 'Nuts and Bolts' should merge under the former title..

 

 

DONT mention that David! I did once in a thread a year or so ago, and got shot down in flames by JPM himself!

Richard

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There's a programme about choral accompaniment at 18.30 on Radio 3 tonight (Sunday 18 April) dealing with the "challenges and highlights of this under-appreciated job." Sarah Baldock, Iain Farrington and Jeffrey Howard are featured.

 

I'm sure that it will be on the BBC play it again system for those accompanying their own choirs at that time.

 

P

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