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American Choral Directors Association

Repertoire Children's and Community Youth Choir

Children's and Community Youth Choir R&S Standards

  1. Repertoire
    1. Selection
      1. Variety representing historically significant and new compositions � seek repertoire that has stood the test of time as well as those that are new, interesting, and representative of world cultures
      2. Choose repertoire with well written, age appropriate lyrics that will challenge the singers to interpret, relate to, and portray the poetry to an audience. Lyrics that children can connect with and spur thoughts and conversations of the world and how it effects them
      3. Know the vocal range of the ensemble. Choose repertoire that sits in that range comfortably but also will occasionally challenge the choir to strengthen the high and low vocal registers as well.
      4. Be sure the accompaniment adds artistic merit to the work
      5. Choose repertoire with educational value, that strengthens musicianship skills, vocabulary, historical exposure
      6. When possible, commission new works and allow singers the opportunity to meet and work with composers
    2. Presentation (Instrumental accompaniment, movement, etc.)
      1. A choral program should demonstrate balance between historical value (unless genre specific as indicated in the mission of the program), tempo, mood, text, color
      2. Allow repertoire to dictate performance practice � various cultures and periods require certain performance practices and tone colors. It is the responsibility of the conductor to study the score, research background of the piece, and present the music in a way that respects the historical and cultural significance
      3. Use of movement should be well thought out, respectful of the culture and art of the music
      4. Seek musicians within the community, school and choir who would offer the ensemble exposure to different accompanying instruments.
      5. Utilize the highest caliber of musician possible to enhance the product and overall artistry of performance
  2. Choral Vocal Production
    1. Vocal Health
      1. Conductor/teacher must be aware of individual vocal health and developments in the group
      2. Changing voices � conductor must have knowledge and skills to assist with changing voices, both boys and girls
      3. Teach basic healthy vocal habits � breath support and control, vowel formation, tongue placement, tone quality
    2. Intonation
      1. Vowel formation, placement of the voice in the resonating chambers, and breath support are important to vocal health and intonation
      2. Learning to listen, teaching the ensemble to listen to one another, other parts, and analyze the ensembles tone will assist with intonation.
      3. Conductors should be conscientious regarding seating placement within the ensemble, singing next to like voices so tension does not develop due to contrasting vocal quality surrounding the singer
    3. Style
      1. Modify tone color to fit style. When healthy vocal habits are established, singers can modify the tone in a healthy manner to imitate the timbres found in world music
      2. Teacher/conductor should be knowledgeable about the performance practices of historical repertoire; Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, etc . . .
  3. Rehearsal Techniques and Instruction
    1. Literacy
      1. Ensembles should be given the knowledge to be independent musicians. Literacy is important to independence and should be taught in the manner that is most comfortable for the conductor, whether that be through solfege, available sight-singing resources (books), or through the repertoire
      2. Conductor/educators must address pitch literacy at the readiness level of the ensemble. Whether it be through recognition of intervallic direction/melodic contour, interval identification, and solfege or through kinesthetic relationships such as hand signs, physical relationship within the body (knees = do, hips = mi, shoulders = sol or comparable) and teaching games for younger ensembles.
      3. Rhythmic literacy can be taught using numbers, ta/ti-ti or similar processes, or kinesthetically creating visual "notes" in the children for the ensemble to "read" as they learn rhythmic relationships.
  4. Professional Growth and Development
    1. Copyright literacy
      1. ACDA and its affiliates prohibit use of photocopies or duplications of published/copyrighted material at all conventions and events. Likewise, ACDA will not support such practices in any setting.
    2. Networking
      1. Conductors/Educators - It is important to the growth of the teacher to network, continue to share, and learn from colleagues. Such activities will enhance the leadership and the singers alike.
      2. Ensemble � Choirs should have opportunities, whenever possible, to hear good models as well as demonstrate what they do well. Sharing with others enhances ensembles and individual singers.
    3. Continuing Education for Conductors/Educators
      1. Attend performances. Learn through listening, observing colleagues
      2. Artistry is a process. There is always something new to be learned. New techniques, new philosophies, new processes.
  5. Recruitment & Retention
    1. Have a mission statement, know educational and artistic goals of the choir
    2. Travel when possible. Trips of any size, international, domestic, or local, promote community within a choir and represent the community beyond its borders.
    3. Be a part of the local community. Seek support of and offer support to local and regional teachers/educators.
    4. Develop clear concise materials for marketing. State goals and mission. Promote diversity and strong educational values. Marketing materials could be print or through the internet reducing costs. Seek community magazines/newspapers that wish to highlight activities for children.
    5. It is the hope that economical challenges will not be the primary factor prohibiting children from choral music. Whenever possible, offer financial assistance. Seek arts supporters that will financially assist with such a goal.
    6. Encourage current members and parents to promote the choir
  6. Audience Development & Education
    1. Educate audience through program notes and demonstrations. Conductors should be community arts leaders injecting music/singing into community events.
    2. Collaborations with professional ensembles, high quality adult choral or instrumental ensembles, area children's choirs, dance organizations, and artists draw attention to a program while educating and exposing everyone involved to new opportunities in the community.
  7. Advocacy
    1. Promote the work and artistry of children's choirs within ACDA and other professional organizations.
    2. As a choral art, promote knowledge of the voice, repertoire and conducting gesture through work with children's choirs

From National Standards for Arts Education. Copyright � 1994 by Music Educators National Conference (MENC). Used by permission. The complete National Arts Standards and additional materials relating to the Standards are available from MENC: The National Association for Music Education, 1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Reston, VA 20191;

National Standards for Arts Education:

  1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
  2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
  3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
  4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
  5. Reading and notating music.
  6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
  7. Evaluating music and music performances.
  8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
  9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.