A Report On Lifeline For Children’s Choir Directors

3079 words - 12 pages

Mrs. Bartle employs a little bit of four of each of the methods shared in (the vocal pedagogy) class. She uses a lot of the Westminister method but borrows from the others. The others she borrows from are Christiansen, Fred Warning and Wilson/Klein. Much of what she writes, is from her own life’s career experiences as a choral director. The first subject she deals with is the director’s attitude. A director should have a positive attitude. (p. 3, Bartle)

In chapter two she discusses the development of a child’s voice in a mechanistic way. She wants the ’flutety’ sound of a child’s voice developed, between the ages 6-8. (ps. 7-9) This reminds me of the Westminister method. She tells how to help a child that has problems sing on ’center’. (ps. 13-15.) She tells how to help children pronounce their vowels when they sing. She does this by demonstrating the position of the jaw with a rubber band. She also teaches children how to form vowels and diphthongs with their mouths. (ps. 19-21) She gives some mechanistic methods on how to develop good diction with nonsense word drills and by exaggerating consonants as they whisper words. (ps. 22-3) This reminds me of the Fred Warning emphasis on good pronunciation. She gives some reasons why a children’s choir may sing flat or sharp, and then gives some mechanistic ways to fix them. (p. 27)

A choir director must fix his own hearing, before they can get to ’first base’, with their choir members. They can do this by listening to some Bach chorales, then leave them for a week, come back and play them several times, then write them down on a manuscript. (p. 27)

She discusses the many ways of teaching children rhythm, but she also advises, ”let us not disregard the old”. (ps. 28-9) She also advises not to increase or decrease tempo during the performance, there shouldn’t be any surprises.

Any conductor should study rubato, by listening to some great artists in the past of keyboard, solo voice and chorale conducting. (p. 29) She gives exercises on how to achieve good balance and blend in a choir. (p. 20) How to conduct children’s choirs is discussed in the following pages of this book. She describes each ’step’ and how to do them carefully: how to introduce music to the choir, what the choir director should read, how to study a score and practice conducting it, if a conductor should mouth or use a baton while conducting. To produce artistically played music, she believes that strict technique must be combined with musical ability. (ps. 31-3)

She tells how to recruit for a school primary choir, grades 1- 3. In September she has the 2nd and 3rd graders sing familiar songs alone or with a friend. She then hands out letters to all the third graders, and half of the second graders. First graders are not in the music classroom until after Christmas. She wants about 55 voices in this choir. She then sends a letter home to the parents containing information on the time and place for rehearsals and...

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