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Choral Artistry provides a practical and organic approach to teaching choral singing and sight-reading. The text is grounded in current research from the fields of choral pedagogy, music theory, music perception and cognition. Topics include framing a choral curriculum based on the Kodály concept; launching the academic year for beginning, intermediate, and advanced choirs; building partwork skills; sight-reading; progressive music theory sequences for middle to college level choirs; teaching strategies; choral rehearsal plans as well as samples of how to teach specific repertoire from medieval to contemporary choral composers. As part of the Kodály philosophy's practical approach, authors Micheál Houlahan and Philip Tacka employ two models for learning choral literature: Performance Through Sound Analysis Pedagogy (PTSA) and Performance through Sound Analysis and Notation (PTSAN). Both models delineate an approach to teaching a choral work that significantly improves students' musicianship while engaging the ensemble in learning the overall composition in partnership with the conductor. The final chapter of the book includes rubrics to assess the effectiveness of a choral program. This book does not purport to be a comprehensive choral pedagogy text. It is a detailed guide to helping choral directors at all levels improve the choral singing and musicianship of their students from a Kodály perspective.
Sound Advice is a valuable resource for college students, beginning teachers, and experienced conductors of children's choirs. It covers the vast array of skills needed by today's conductor and will benefit all choir directors who want their choirs to reach a higher level of artistry. This book will be useful on many levels: for the college student studying the child voice and elementary teaching methods; for the teacher beginning to direct choirs in schools, synagogues, churches and communities; for experienced children's choir directors who wish to know more about orchestral repertoire for treble voices, conducting an orchestra, and preparing a children's choir to sing a major work with a professional orchestra. The underlying educational philosophy is sound; the author sees development of musicianship through singing as the primary goal of a children's choir program. This philosophy differs dramatically from the traditional concept of the conductor as all-knowing and the singers as receptacles. An outstanding aspect of the book is how the author leads the reader to an understanding of how to teach musicianship. Developing literacy in the choral setting is a mysterious, amorphous process to many conductors, but the author clearly outlines this important process with practical suggestions, well-documented examples, and a clear reading style which will reach readers on many levels. The comprehensive repertoire, skill-building sheets, and programs for all types of children's choirs will provide teachers with immediate and highly valuable resources.