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Choral Conducting

I am teaching Choral Conducting for the first time. I am using Jordan's book on The Choral Rehearsal. Has anyone used that text? Do you have any suggestions how and what you did? Also, I want to include standard SATB rep for them to prepare perfromance practices and conduct that is representative of the major historic periods. Does anyone have suggestions on selections that have worked best? 
Thank yo for any and all help.
 
on December 16, 2015 5:41am
I've lost track of how many conducting courses I have taken, but I can tell you this -- the most valuable lessons I have learned about choral conducting have come form singing in choruses and watching other conductors at rehearsals.  I strongly recommend that you include auditing requrements in your course.  Have your students sing in choruses and visit rehearsals at local churches, communiry choruses, schools, and even barbershop and speciaty choruses.  Maybe even require that they take notes on various aspects of how these rehearsals are managed: attendace taking, warmups, interaction between the conductor and singers, dealing with problems like balance, intonation, learning notes and wrong notes.  Their time will be better spent there than in a library.  In over a half-century of singing in choruses and conducting, there is not a single conductor that I have not learned something from, and often it's the worst conductors that deliver the most valuable lessons.  And let me share the most important lesson I have learned from other conductors;  (drum roll please) "Don't waste the valuable time of your singers!"  They came to sing, not to listen to long speeches, unless of course, you a  gifted story teller, and don't do it too often.
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on December 16, 2015 8:17am
Bravo, Adrian; that's excellent advice! Another very useful resource I'd recommenf is Prescriptions for Choral Excellence by Shirlee Emmons and Constance Chase. It's not organized as a textbook but more as a handbook that deals with the specific problems that choral cunductors are apt to encounter by offereing a diagnosis and prescription for each It's the kind of book that one will go back to time and again for help. I'd probably suggest it to students at the end of the course as a good addition to their toolbox.  
on December 17, 2015 8:11am
My 3 cents:
1) You must know exactly what you want, from moment to moment, in a piece.  (So that means you have to know it very well.)  If you really know what you want, your singers will be able to tell, no matter what you do with your hands.
2) Ask for what you want, simply and positively.  (Example: say "Bring the pitch up" rather than, "You're flat.")
3) Learn left-hand independence.  This can be tremendously helpful for cueing timid or lost singers.
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