Looking for some ideas for lesson plans when you’re not running a choir rehearsal. Here are a few!
A History of Black Music in America
Dr. Jeffrey Allen Murdock, 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year, presented a spoken and sung overview of Black music to high school students at the Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain’s Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. At 35 minutes, it is a great discussion starter, grounded in song.
Voice Tutorials for Use with High School Vocal Students
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Tesoro High School Choir Assistant Director Mikayla Feldman* began converting a number of vocal technique lectures that she typically did for her classes into a YouTube series to keep her students entertained and engaged during online education. The project evolved far beyond anything she expected: 24 videos on voice technique and vocal health, 13+ videos on music theory, and a 16-video series on performance anxiety, for which she interviewed Dr. Kristina Driskill, DMA.
She wrote the following introductions to each of her playlists and is making the videos available to ACDA members and the public free of charge. You are welcome to use them with your students and classes!
Vocal Technique & Vocal Health
There’s so much to vocal technique, trying to talk about it all can seem overwhelming! That’s why I broke it down into bite-sized pieces in a vlog-style format specifically catered to teens. Created in consultation with Dr. Rebecca Sherburn, DMA – Director of Voice at Chapman University – this series addresses all the major pillars of vocal technique including breathing, phonation, vocal registration, resonance, and articulation, and pulls from the well-established pedagogical methods of McKinney, McCoy, and Thurman & Welch. I also lay out some practical tools for mixing and belting using some of the latest approaches to contemporary singing from Mary Saunders Barton, Jeanie Lovetri, and more – all in straight-forward language designed to demystify vocal mechanics. The series also includes 9 episodes on vocal health, maintenance, and injury, where I address common questions and myths surrounding these topics.
Almost everyone has experienced performance anxiety in some way, whether it’s on stage, public speaking, taking a test, or otherwise. But many people are surprised to know that there are actually scientific reasons for why it happens. To explain more about the origins of performance anxiety and ways to become more confident, I sat down with Dr. Kristina Driskill, DMA – a veteran performer and teacher who wrote her doctoral dissertation on the subject. Broken into 16 bite-sized pieces that cover topics like symptoms and strategies to navigate performance anxiety, detaching shame from mistakes, learning how to practice effectively, and discovering one’s purpose, this series is sure to resonate with young people as they hear their deepest fears destigmatized and gain practical tools to become more self-assured artists and individuals.
Music theory doesn’t have to be complicated! This series includes videos on a wide variety of music theory topics, and is designed specifically for high school choral singers. Covering time signatures, major scales, key signatures, articulation, tempo, repeats, and more these videos lay out each concept visually and are packed with memory devices to help simplify concepts that students can often find tricky.
*Mikayla Feldman serves as the Assistant Director for the Tesoro High School Choir Department, a nationally recognized program under the direction of 2017 Grammy Educator of the Year, Keith Hancock.