My first reading session of the day was "Developing Critical Thinking Skills with Singers- Teaching Transfer in the Choral Rehearsal" with Dr. Matthew L. Garret and Tefsa Wondemagegnehu. In this workshop we were guided through critical thinking in choral music in three main steps: Transfer, Create, and Evaluate.
For "Transfer" we discussed how a "warm up" can turn into technique building exercise. To demonstrate this we practiced decrescendos in a technique building exercise, and then applied it to Jake Runestad's "Goodnight My Love" (JRMusic JR0047) This exercise was not only enlightening, but extremely fun because we got to explore this wonderful piece of music!
To take this one step further we examined "One Boy told Me" by Timothy C. Takach (www.TimothyCTakach.com). This was an exciting and tricky piece, so we used one of Garret and Wondemagegnehu's technique building exercises to really solidify the rhythm. Their process of (1) Metronome, (2) Conduct with cues, and (3) Conduct without cues even helped out the room of advanced choral conductors!
Something I really took from this section of the workshop, is that I should always clarify to my students when I begin using technique building exercises, because they need learn HOW to transfer the exercises, not just apply them.
In this portion of the workshop we got to work together with the people around us (a great way to meet people!) and create our own sight reading exercises with specific specifications- as if we were a high school group composing sight reading pieces for a younger choir! This was so much fun, and definitely got me thinking how I could incorporate composition in the choral classroom.
In this section we also did some group improvisation (similar to the circle song workshop) and it was GREAT!
My favorite exercise from this portion was when we sang through Jake Runestad's "Peace Flows Into Me" and then had our own peers evaluate the voicing.
-Rebecca Saltzman (ICACDA President and Senior)
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