October 13, 2014

by Tina Niederbrach, R&S Chair for Senior High Choirs

niederbrachAre you a list maker? Grocery list, menu list, to do list by month, day, and year. If you have ever run a choral event or gone on tour, I am sure you have a one year out, six months out, and two weeks out detail list. I have known people who have five and ten year goal lists. AND for some of us there is that magical bucket list. Lists are thought-provoking and can also aid in the everyday details in the choral room.

Below are some of the lists I have been working from that I hope will trigger ideas for any and all of your list and music making.

People who can be a great resource for you are the Senior High R&S chairs at the state levels of ACDA. If they can't help you they can certainly point you to someone who can be of assistance. They are:

Heath Waller - Colorado
Jason Huneycutt - Missouri
Bill Perring - Oklahoma
Jason Sickel - Kansas
Gaye McClure - Arkansas
Robin Brockway Nichols -Texas

Thinking about and perusing literature is one of my favorite pastimes. I often begin with the lists below. Perhaps these names will trigger your own ideas list.

My favorite "GO TO" Masters

1. Mozart
2. Palestrina
3. Bach
4. Vivaldi

My favorite "GO TO" current composer list:

1. Andrea Ramsey
2. Jonathan Adams
3. Daniel Gawthrop
4. Kevin Memley

I always have a stack of music that I have pulled from conferences, publishers and colleagues performances. Those sitting on the top of the current "WOW" and "GORGEOUS" pile are as follows:

1. "Autumn" by Memley Pavane P1445 SATB acappella key of D/E flat
2. "Moonlight and Rain" by Memley Pavane P1470 SATB violin/piano key of C
3. "Stranger In the City" by Martin Alliance/API AP-1737 Solo/SATB piano d minor
4. "Travelin' Shoes" Spiritual arr. Uzee Brown, Jr. GIA G-6317 SATB acappella C Major
5. "Put Memory Away" Chilcott Oxford BC79 SATB piano E Flat/CM This is my favorite contemporary Christmas Carol. There is an exquisite marriage of text and music.ECShirmer
6. "Ascribe to the Lord" R. Powell arranged by W. Powell in an SAB texture Gentry JG 2459 key of c minor
7. "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" by Brunner CME48019990 SAB piano/oboe key of D Major (my favorite key for a mixed chorus)

I recently read an article in the September 2014 MEJ entitled "Motivation, Professional Development and the Experienced Music Teacher". The article was a great read and leaves me with my two final lists. The first list directly from the article (pg. 51) gives the eight stages of teachers from teacher education authors Judith Christensen and Ralph Fessler. They are:

1. Preservice
2. Education
3. Competency Building
4. Enthusiastic and Growing
5. Career frustration
6. Stability
7. Career Wind-down
8. Career Exit

From these eight stages perhaps you can find where you are and make a list that will project you to your next level. For me, the proverbial bucket list is becoming more of a necessity than a dream. On my bucket list I hope to include some of the following:

1. What do I want my students to learn, see, feel, and experience?
2. What literature do I want to share with them?
3. Is there something that I would like to experience?

Certainly we can't always be like Santa Claus "making a list and checking it twice", however, in this often frenetic world of choral music education, a healthy dose of list making will see us to the goals we set for ourselves and our students.