Interest Sessions & Workshops Descriptions


Developing Vocal Technique in the Choral Rehearsal:  Improving Vocal Technique Through The Warm-Up

These sequential sessions will focus on the essentials vocal music educators and church choral directors need to build healthy, vibrant voices in singers of all ages. Alignment, breath motion and flow, voice placement and registers, articulation, expression, intonation, and rhythmic awareness will be explored using vocalizes that are appropriate in a choral setting, and physical and mental exercises designed to strengthen the body's core and brain's neural networks. The effect of age on the voice as well as specific techniques to rejuvenate the aging voice will also be addressed.

Revitalizing Your Conducting Gesture and Rehearsal Technique

Insights, review and renewal of conducting gesture and skills for church and public school choral and instrumental conductors/educators will be the main focus of this workshop. Special attention will be given to strengthening and clarifying physical presentation, self-analysis, and matching gesture with the musical ideas embedded in the score. This workshop will also provide creative and practical rehearsal strategies to move beyond the notes and the rhythms and “bring the music to life.” Phrasing, articulation, rhythmic interest, and text will be explored using the three main learning modalities: visual, aural and kinesthetic.

Creating Community Through Choral Text

The foundation of choral music is the connection between the music and the text. In performance one of the challenges directors encounter is engaging the choir in expressing the text, and for the singers to invest in the text and music. In this session text will be explored in a two-prong approach: (1) Mechanics of the text and (2) Connection to the text. Creative and practical strategies for engaging singers in expressing, understanding and unifying the text will be explored.  

Rehearsal Techniques: Beyond The Notes

These sequential sessions will provide creative and practical rehearsal strategies to move beyond the pitches and the rhythms and “bring the music to life” even during the initial learning stages. Phrasing, articulation, rhythmic interest, and text will be explored using the three main learning modalities: visual, aural and kinesthetic.

Building Literacy and Musicianship Skills into the Choral Rehearsal: RHYTHM

Far too often singers are musically illiterate when they enter the choral setting and directors aren’t sure how to develop elementary skills in younger and older singers. Working from the premise that singers learn musical skills in much the same order as they do language skills, participants will explore how we ‘learn’ music through hearing and imitating patterns before reading (translating notation into sound) and writing (translating sound into notation). The pedagogy also includes a sequence of instruction that results in a strong link between sound and notation. The TAKADIMI rhythm- pedagogy system, a beat-oriented system whose originators see it as evolving from Gordon’s syllables, will be incorporated. The rhythm syllables can easily be adapted to elementary through adult choral and instrumental rehearsals in the church and K- Collegiate setting. Specific techniques for developing rhythm reading readiness, literacy, audiation, musical memory, dictation, improvisation and elementary composition will be addressed.

Building Literacy and Musicianship Skills into the Choral Rehearsal: TONAL

Helping singers become musically literate is central to the school and church choral curriculum. While there is much agreement about why we should teach sight singing, there is less agreement about how we should teach those skills.  Are we teaching students to be independent musicians or savvy symbol decoders?  This session will present real world concepts to implement a sound before symbol approach to teaching tonal literacy—an approach that will help students learn to read music from the inside out.  To aid the development of aural-oral tonal skills, a sequence of vocal pitch exercises will be presented in a graphic form that can be utilized in the choral rehearsal setting via transparencies or an LCD projector. Specific techniques for developing rhythm reading readiness, literacy, audiation, musical memory, dictation, improvisation, elementary composition and application of rhythm literacy skills to choral literature will be addressed.

Building Literacy and Musicianship Skills into the Choral Rehearsal: MELODIC

These sessions will focus on melodic reading skills and applying the skills to choral literature that reflects the skills of the singers.

Totally Tonal!

In order for students to understand music, they must build a vocabulary of tonal and rhythm patterns, comparable to a vocabulary of words in language.  This session will focus on the acquisition of tonal skills at the aural-oral level, the foundation upon which all higher-level skills are built.  To aid in the development of aural (listening) – oral (performing) skills, Dr. Krueger developed a series of sequential vocal pitch exercises and chord progressions and portrayed them via graphs.  Since interval quality and quantity are both visible on the graphs, major, minor, augmented and diminished intervals and chords can easily be seen and then transferred to the staff where only interval quantity is visible.  The exercises also support the development of audiation, vocal technique and application of skills to literature.    

Infusing Improvisation into the Ensemble Rehearsal

Vocal improvisation is central to developing musicianship and demonstrates the student’s comprehension; it is analogous to conversation in language. In spite of its importance, improvisation is rarely addressed in the choral and instrumental setting.  Many teacher-conductors lack experience improvising and/or lack training to teach improvisation, consequently they are afraid to tackle it. During this experiential session, improvisation will be defined, the irreplaceable benefits will be explored, and specific, sequential techniques for teaching improvisation will be experienced.

Developing a Community of Empowered Literate Musicians: Literacy through Literature

This session will present techniques that apply a Sound-Before-Symbol literacy approach (tonal, rhythm, melodic) to choral literature.   Participants will examine sequencing tonal and rhythm concepts, selecting repertoire to reinforce students’ previous knowledge and literacy skills, and the steps to determine ‘what’ they need to know to be successful on a particular piece. The implementation of tonal and rhythm literacy to choral repertoire via curriculum maps will also be explored.  

Developing Part-Independent Singers 

Singing in harmony is an exciting, rewarding experience for singers of all ages.  In this two-part session the development of singers’ part-singing skills, including the use of a part-work sequence for more efficacious teaching, will be addressed.  The sequence is designed to help singers acquire the ability to independently sing a voice part in a multipart context.  The ultimate goal is to develop singers who are able to fulfill their potential as self-sufficient choristers.  The principles and techniques presented may be adapted to any level or age of singer.


Selecting Repertoire to Benefit Your Singers AND Please Your Audience

This session will focus on “how” to evaluate and select age appropriate repertoire that makes a difference in young singers’ lives; allows you to grow as a conductor and musician; reflects your philosophy and supports your educational goals; and also holds the interest of the audience and the students.


Diagnose, Document, And Deliver: Embedding Assessment into the Ensemble Rehearsal and Music Classroom
This session will address practical assessment tools and strategies that the conductor-teacher can easily embed into their daily instruction.  The presentation will delve into summative and formative assessments and share strategies for developing student self-assessments and effective assessment routines.


Engaging Students Through Meaningful Activities 

In this session, conductor-teachers will experience practical and creative activities, games and rehearsal strategies that ignite student engagement, lead to a shared learning environment, and provide for formal and informal assessment that can be embedded into daily instruction. Explore activities designed to practice musical elements, foster active listening, improve musicianship skills, encourage musical and vocal independence, and promote individual accountability.