ACDA Repertoire & Standards - Senior High School
Suggested Guidelines (from conductors leading singers)
Know the vocal range of each ensemble. Choose repertoire that sits in that range comfortably but also will occasionally challenge the singers to strengthen the high and low vocal registers as well.
Choose selections which are historically significant and also new compositions – seek repertoire that has stood the test of time as well as those that are new, interesting, and representative of world cultures.
Include a cappella selections as well as accompanied ones. The accompaniment must enhance the selection as well, and be an integral part of the composition.
- Educational value
Choose repertoire that strengthens musicianship skills, vocabulary, exposes singers to historical practices and also strengthens vocal ability.
When possible, commission new works and allow singers the opportunity to meet and work with composers.
- Presentation (Instrumental accompaniment, movement, etc.)
A choral program should demonstrate balance between varied historical selections (unless genre specific as indicated in the mission of the program), including varied tempo, mood, text, and color.
- Performance practices
Allow the 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 the background of the piece, and present the music in a way that respects the historical and cultural significance of the work.
The use of movement should be well thought out, and respectful of the culture and art of the music.
- Instrumental accompaniment
Seek musicians within the community, school and choral ensemble who would offer the ensemble exposure to different accompanying instruments. Utilize the highest caliber of musician possible to enhance the product and overall artistry of performance.
- Choral Vocal Production
- Vocal Health
- Conductor/teacher must be aware of individual vocal health and developments in the group.
- Changing voices
Conductor must have knowledge and skills to assist with changing voices, both boys and girls.
- Teach basic healthy vocal habits including breath support and control, vowel formation, tongue placement, tone quality.
- Teach general vocal health including the importance of hydration, sleep, avoidance of smoke, caffeine, coughing, etc.
- Vowel formation, placement of the voice in the resonating chambers, and breath support are important to vocal health and intonation.
- Learning to listen, teaching the ensemble to listen to one another, and analyzing the ensemble's tone will assist with intonation.
- The individual singer's understanding of pitch in the context of the scale and chord will also aid intonation.
- Conductors should be conscientious regarding seating placement within the ensemble.
- Place singers with similar voices together in order to avoid tension in the voice or over-singing due to contrasting vocal quality.
- 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.
- Teacher/conductor should be knowledgeable about the performance practices of historical repertoire; Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, etc . . .
- Vocal Health
- Rehearsal Techniques and Instruction
- Ensembles should be given the tools and 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 the repertoire. Conductor/Educator must address pitch literacy at the readiness level of the ensemble. Strategies can include recognition of intervallic direction/melodic contour, interval identification, and solfege or kinesthetic relationships such as hand signs and physical relationship within the body (knees = do, hips = mi, shoulders = sol or comparable).
- Rhythmic literacy can be taught using numbers (count-singing), ta/ti-ti or similar processes.
- Professional Growth and Development
- Copyright literacy
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.
It is important to the growth of the teacher to network, continue to share, and learn from colleagues. Such activities will enhance the leader and the singers alike.
Choirs should have opportunities, whenever possible, to hear good models as well as demonstrate what they do well. Sharing with others enhances both the ensemble and individual singers.
- Continuing Education for Conductors/Educators
- Attend performances. Learn through listening and observing colleagues.
- Artistry is a process. There is always something new to be learned: new techniques, new philosophies, new processes.
- Copyright literacy
- Recruitment & Retention
- Have a mission statement, and know the educational and artistic goals of the choir.
- Travel whenever possible. Trips of any size, international, domestic, or local, promote community within a choir and represent the community beyond its borders.
- Be a part of the local community. Seek support of and offer support to local and regional teachers /educators.
- Develop clear concise materials for marketing. State the goals and the mission. Promote diversity and strong educational values. Marketing materials can be either in print or through the internet, which can reduce costs. Seek community magazines/newspapers that wish to highlight activities for students.
- It is the hope that economic challenges will not be the primary factor prohibiting students from pursuing choral music. Whenever possible, offer financial assistance and seek arts supporters that will financially assist with such a goal.
- Encourage current members and parents to promote the choir throughout the community.
- Audience Development & Education
- Educate the audience through program notes and demonstrations. Conductors should be community arts leaders injecting music/singing into community events.
- 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.
- Promote the work and artistry of high school choirs within ACDA and other professional organizations.
- As a choral art, promote knowledge of the voice, repertoire and conducting gesture through work with other 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; www.menc.org.
National Standards for Arts Education:
- Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
- Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
- Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
- Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
- Reading and notating music.
- Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
- Evaluating music and music performances.
- Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
- Understanding music in relation to history and culture.