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Conducting Videos and Books

Thanks to all of you who responded to my question. You've been a big
help. I received a lot of advice which I won't include here but will put
to good use (e-mail me privately if you want a copy of it). I am however
sending the list of rehearsal technique resources. Here was the question
I posed as an oboist who has recently acquired the job of church choir
director: "Does anyone have any suggestions about how I can become a good
choir director? Are there any instructional videos available about choral
conducting or choir rehearsal techniques? Should I take private voice
Bonnie Newton
Salt Lake City

Some of the Responses:

"101 Things to Say to your choir to improve their sound 100%" by Douglas
Lawrence. Published by Thomas House Publications, it is about 2.5 hours
worth of great helps.

"What They See Is What You Get" by Rodney Eichenberger from FSU - Florida
State Univ. - Tallahassee

Chorister's Guild, which mainly deals with children's choirs, has an
excellent 2-part videotape on conducting by Jane Marshall. The format's
a little hokey, but Jane has ideas you won't find any where else.

Robert Shaw videos

ACDA has a some videos on conducting with Doreen Rao, they use children,
but conducting is pretty much the same.

"Group Vocal Techniques," (by Fraukke Hausemann and James Jordan) which
comes with a book and warm-up cards. Several music stores probably carry
it, but I know you can get it through the bookstore of Westminster Choir
College in Princeton, NJ.

Henry Leck has several videos that focus on children's choirs but will
give you many great ideas for warm-ups and vocal techniques for your

Christine Jordanoff and Robert Page have a video and workbook out called
"Choral Triad Series." You may have to look up the the Duquesne
University web page (Pittsburgh, PA) to dig up an email address to ask
how to get one.
There are great posters, technique and rehearsal outlines in there.

set of three videos by Dr. Eph Ehly (Warner Bros.). Warner Bros. has
complied a series of clips from All-State Choir Rehearsals featuring Dr.
Ehly. Ehly is perhaps the most sought-after clinician in the United
States today. He is the head of the Choral Music Division at the
Conservatory at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Complete Choral Warmup Book by Russell Robinson and Jay Althouse,
published by Alfred Music. Not only does it have great warmups but also a
section in the front on how to get a good choral blend. I highly
recommend it.

Lloyd Pfautsch's Mental Warm-ups for the Choral Director

Daniel Moe's Basic Choral Concepts (published by Augsburg).

Garretson, Conducting Choral Music, 8th ed. It's very comprehensive; for
instance, you get an appendix with choral composers listed, typical
octavos, typical collections. Sacred music is a huge part of the choral
repertoire, so it should help you in your church job.

Decker & Kirk: Choral Conducting, Communication

Heffernan, Choral Music: Technique & Artistry.

Conducting a Choir: A Guide for Amateurs. By Imogen Holst - this book
has lots of good advice for beginning choral conductors despite its
subtitle. Oxford University Press. It's a paperback, not very expensive,
and you can often find copies of it in places like B&N, Borders, Walden
Books, etc.

Kenneth Neidig & John Jennings, _Choral Director's Guide_, published by
Parker Publ. Co.

"Immediately Practical Tips for the choral Directors" by John Bertalot -
regarding NON-musical aspects of choir directing. It covers the things
we didn't learn in music school, like managerial issues and the politics
of being a choir director. It's also an entertaining read, if a little
on the "folksy" side.

The Modern Conductor, by Elizabeth A.H. Green (Prentice Hall Publishers)

"Up Front! - Becoming the Complete Conductor" (ISBN 0-911318-19-4). The
book contains essays by top choral conductors and covers everything from
tone to rehearsal technique.

"The Grammar of Conducting" by Max Rudolph,

"The Choral Experience" by Ray Robinson and Allen Winold

Lloyd Pfautsch's "Choral Therapy"; Basic choral vocal technique in less
than one hundred pages.

"Choral Conducting, Focus on Communication" by Harold Decker and Colleen
Kirk; a textbook covering everything but the organizational stuff.

"Evoking Sound" by Jim Jordan

"Teaching Kids to Sing," By Kevin Phillips has great ideas if you're
going to be doing children and young teens.

Other Ideas:
Choral Journal, the monthly publication of the American Choral Directors
Association. Maybe join the organization, which runs marvelous
conventions, usually with a lot of how-to classes. The journal
frequently runs ads for conducting instruction videos.

VoiceCare Network, based at St. John's College in Minnesota (summer
workshops give you a 7-day week of concentrated work on vocal technique,
Alexander method, and carrying your vocal technique into your conducting,
which is essential.)

Presbyterian Association of Musicians or the Fellowship of United
Methodists in Music and Worship Arts.

American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)

American Guild of Organists (AGO).

Check with your local 4-year college or university and see if they offer
a Choral Conducting class

Choral Music Experience Workshops with Doreen Rao et al.

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on November 16, 2008 10:00pm
How do you handle a singer(lawyer) who thinks he is a cross between Pavarotti and Domingo. Has a wobble that is so pushed that it is so hard to blend. Has a ego that goes beyond Hubris. Does not think he knows it all, he knows matter of fact that he knows it all. People in the choir ask me to explain something, he has got to run his big mouth. I am so tired after practice from tolerating him. When he does cooperate and places the tone to where it doesn't stick out it is pretty good, but that is seldom. I try to make choir practice fun, enjoyable, a learning experience. He fights it tooth and nail. Excuse me for carrying on so.