Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Charting (and conducting) individual movements

Mozart Requiem:  Kyrie

Mozart Requiem:  Dies irae

Mozart Requiem:  Rex tremendae majestatis

Mozart Requiem:  Domine Jesu Christe

Full Scores for Analysis

You will be assigned one of the following works.

Mozart - Requiem Mass (full score)  Source:  IMSLP

Mozart - Coronation Mass (full score) Source:  IMSLP

Faure - Requiem Source:  IMSLP

Haydn - Lord Nelson Mass

Brahms - Ein deutches Requiem, op. 45 Source:  IMSLP
According to the directions in Precision Conducting, do a full score analysis of the work according to the instructions on page 4 of the book (also below).

Instructions from Sharp, Precision Conducting:

Choose a large musical work that is divided into multiple sections or movements (preferably one that you are preparing for an upcoming performance) and make a chart similar to the one shown for Messiah. Note that in that example of a full-score chart, movements, text source, difficulty, solos, voicing, keys, page references, movement references, and instrumentation are indicated. Use columns similar to those found in the Messiah example, but be aware that the work you choose to chart may necessitate new categories or columns in order to demonstrate important aspects of the score.

Examples of areas that may be uniquely present in some scores include larger issues related to form, spoken drama, rehearsal track numbers, numbers found in alternate scores, number of measures in a movement, durations, emotional intensity ratings, or any number of sections that could be analyzed and added to the full-score chart. Always remember that the point of this chart is to provide an overview of the full work at a glance.

Choral Conducting - Course Calendar - Spring 2012

See my plan for Choral Conducting here:


Conducting Terms for Spring 2012

Here is a list of the conducting terms that students will master in Spring 2011.


Note that there is a "Quizlet" here for help in learning:


Monday, November 7, 2011

For Unto Us - cue assignment

Some advice, tips and information for the Cue Test on Wednesday: 

1. Breath with the entering part.
2. Use left hand (L.H.) for every primary cue
3. Make sure that you involve the L.H. early and not as an afterthought.

 Primary cues: 

Primary cues to get: m. 7, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 30, 33, 34

 Secondary cues: 

 Indicate every "S" cutoff that you can: m. 11, m. 15, 17, 21, 23 **do not worry about "s" cutoff in m. 24-25 Get the "D" cutoff here on the beat: m. 32, 35

Other notes:

I will NOT be using a recording this Wednesday.

  • Minium tempo:  Quarter note = 80 b.p.m.
  • Maximum tempo:  Quarter note = 105 b.p.m.
  • Your ability to keep a steady beat will be 15% of the grade.
  • I will use the grading sheet below for each student.
Conducting - Cue Test - For Unto Us
Conducting - For Unto Us

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Adjusting Class Schedule

I'm adjusting the class schedule just a bit.

Here it is:

Monday, September 26:  Work on conducting skills in class
Wednesday, September 28:  Terms test 2, work on conducting skills test
Monday, October 3:  YouTube Review 2 Due at beginning of class
Wednesday, October 5:  Video Test 2 - MidTerm


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Presentation on 9/12/2011

Here is what we did in class on 9/12/2011:

  • Reviewed test results. 
  • Examined conducting assignment. 
  • Reviewed expectations for conducting test. 
  • Practiced conducting gestures for prep and pattern individually with feedback from teacher. 
  • Presentation in class:

Conducting Evaluation

Here is the link to the evaluation form for Gesture Test #1.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Magical Eye

March 1999 Dickson J

The Expressivity of Language - and Synthesis with Choral Music

Today we begin a language unit - discovering the journey of textual-musical synthesis in great works of music.

Your tasks:

For Wednesday, April 20:  
Find, read, take notes, and annotate two articles by John Dickson in the ACDA Choral Journal (accessible online using your ACDA membership)

1.  September 1993:  Musical Pride and Textual Prejudice:  The Expressivity of Language in Choral Music
2.  March 1999:  Score Study:  A "Magical Eye" for Musical Blueprints

Be ready to discuss in class.

For Friday, April 22:  
Find a poem that means something to you.  Bring to the class, read it expressively.  Tell why this poem touches you.

For Wednesday, April 27:  Write a poem about something that is going on in your life right now.  Be prepared to read it to the class.

For Friday, April 29 and Monday, May 2:  Find and present a piece of choral music that you have analyzed from a musical and textual standpoint.
Sample questions to ponder:

  • How does the music support the text - or does it?
  • How should your conducting gesture reinforce the textual message from poet and composer?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Sibelius and Chant Discussion

We talked about this today:


  1. acknowledgement that class wasn't comfortable using Sibelius to transcribe assignments
  2. acknowledgement that computerized music notation was a skill we needed to have when we represented ourselves as a musician with a degree
  1. acknowledged that the notation of chant was a barrier to performing it
  2. we reference it in history books, but don't know how to sing it
  3. talked through some of the lessons we already learned from this first exercise:
    • the first thing on the page was the C clef - showing us where "Do" was - not a note to transcribe
    • when we see notes stacked on top of each other, we sing the bottom one first and then the top one
    • if we see notes almost stacked on top of each other, we sing the notes left to right
    • little vertical lines in the chant were breath marks
A plan:
  1. we will familiarize ourself with Sibelius once again with little projects along the course of this semester
  2. we will use chant for the first project - first learning what the chant symbols mean - and then we will put it into Sibelius notation
  3. we will spend part of a class period in the computer lab using the basics of Sibelius in rendering musical notes and text underlay
  4. once we can transcribe the chant accurately into modern notation, we will conduct it

Conducting exercise 2-7

Videos are up.  Please send me an EMAIL review of this by Friday 5:00 p.m.  Use "Conducting Review 2-7-2011" as your subject line, please.


Here is a compilation of all my feedback to the class - maybe I said things slightly different to another student and you can get something out of it:

  • Prep beat a little too big – (the whole pattern is a little large for me, but I like the confidence.
  • Mistake in Ms. 4:  you were OK until you showed it on your face!
  • A little more definiteness in your cutoff gesture is needed.  Otherwise, good improvement.
  • Prep:  a little too far away from your body still.
  • On sustain in M. 4, keep your left hand still.
  • Good work on the rest and nice improvement on getting rid of the violence
  • Arm too close to side to begin with.
  • Prep beat needs to swing out in a pattern – I recommend like you were bringing someone in on b. 4 (prep on 3)
  • Good fermata sustain and cutoff with prep.
  • Your 2/4 pattern needs to have a little groove in it – swing out on b. 1 in a “J” pattern instead of straight up and down.
  • Good LH sustain
  • 4/4 pattern is a little stilted in b. 2 & 3, but you are coming along nicely
  • If you are going to swing out for prep beat, you need to start with hand closer to center of body.  You are starting too far out and having nowhere to swing arm.
  • Slight indecision with m. 4.
  • Slight indecision with prep for m. 7
  • Need more aggressiveness in bringing people in.  They need to see more energy from you if they are going to have enough confidence to produce a sound.
  • Also, your face needs to show some engagement and not distance.  I’m wondering if I’ve ever seen you smile during one of these conducting exams
  • Prep beat good, initial pattern good.
  • Forgot LH sustain in m. 4 and then ROLLED YOUR EYES.
  • On sustain fermata in m. 6, you needed to sustain the note a little longer before you went for the cut-off with prep.
  • Good job on the rest.
  • Slight indecision in m. 2.
  • Good job on the rest.
  • Starting too far out with arm/hand to give a prep on b. 3.  Bring arm in closer before you swing out, otherwise you start off a little off balance.
  • When your elbow moves so much it causes you to look labored in your conducting.  Work to refine your motion, using less elbow and less energy.
  • Don’t move LH when you put it out.
  • On chant section you really move elbow a lot.
  • LH phantom movements on cutoff of peace not really needed.
  • Conducting is all out to your right – move the whole thing in closer to your body.  Looks off centered.
  • Pleasant facial expression is comforting.
  • Good use of LH in sustain.
  • Good on the rest
  • Great last facial expression in the video.
  • Good work but you are thinking far too hard. 
  • Work towards relaxing in front of people and becoming more at ease with the gestures you are making.
  • Good work on the basics in this exercise
  • More aggressiveness needed.  It looks like you are following the group and not leading.  You have to have the mindset that you are there an instant before the group – showing confidence in what you are doing so that they have confidence to perform under your direction.
  • When you put LH out there, do it with intentionality – don’t apologize for what you are asking to do.

Monday, January 31, 2011

More blogs again

Matt's blog:

Chris Barbee blog:

Enoch's blog:

Assignment - PLN

Read blog post describing "personal learning network" below, then:

1.  Create an RSS reader using Google Reader (or some other RSS reader)
2.  Subscribe to the blogs of your classmates.
3.  Find ten other blogs related to your future profession and subscribe to them.
4.  Find ten non-related websites to choral music and subscribe to them (blogs and websites that reveal your own interests and hobbies).

Due:  Friday (February 4, 2011)

Building your personal learning network

What is a personal learning network?

One of the common problems among high school choral director is professional isolation. Many directors serve as the only choral music teacher in a high school with few peers; the situation is amplified if the teacher is geographically located far away from cultural centers. The internet can help keep an isolated teacher networked to the latest developments from experts in a wide variety of fields.

For years, professionals have turned to books and journals as well as traveled to conferences to learn about the latest developments in their profession. In recent years, this activity has been supplemented or replaced by an Internet model where blogs, twitter, wiki’s and podcasts contribute significantly to professional learning.

Recently, educators have become more intentional about the creation of this professional support system and the term “Personal Learning Network” (PLN’s) has evolved to fully describe this activity. PLN’s are defined as “deliberately formed networks of people and resources capable of guiding our independent learning goals and professional development needs.”[vii]

One of the most highly valued aspects of a PLN is “crowdsourcing,” an activity where one person asks questions to the broader community about an issue. Fortunately, choral directors have enjoyed that luxury for years with ChoralNet. Recent developments in ChoralNet have provided additional networking opportunities. In July 2010, ChoralNet released a new tool called “Communities” with the intent of allowing “users to communicate regarding particular sub-topics of choral music and self-identify as a member of a subset of choral musicians.” With the recent merger of ChoralNet and ACDA, these communities and the message boards will continue to fulfill many of the professional needs of choral musicians for years to come.

High school choral directors can emulate the practices of other education professionals for further customization of their personal learning network by experimenting with a variety of online tools, including:

  • video (YouTube, TedTalks)
  • microblogging (Twitter, Plurk),
  • social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn),
  • social bookmarking (del.icio.us, Diigo),
  • RSS readers (bloglines, Google Reader)
  • wiki’s (pbworks, wikispaces), and
  • online presentation sharing (slideshare, sliderocket).

All of these tools fulfill the basic functions of a PLN: connecting with like-minded professionals, collaborating on projects and questions, and a vehicle for providing our own contributions to the profession.

New Blogs

Lauren Carpenter

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Course Syllabus: Choral Conducting

Look here for syllabus.

email to class 1/23/2011


Looking forward to our first class together.

A reminder: we will be discussing the first few chapters of the Stephen Covey book - the overview and the first three habits.

I plan on taking a grade in every class this semester, so do your best to be up on the reading.

A reminder: I posted about the reading here:


It is possible to download the "kindle app" for your computer and purchase the book electronically. You could have the book in five minutes - so - no excuses.

Love and peace,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Poster session

Dr. Nordlund and I are presenting a poster session based on the little conducting study we did last semester: