One of the major roadblocks choral directors face is the struggle to recruit male singers. Speaker Phillip Keirstead of Masteller Middle School gave an informative workshop on just how to fix this growing epidemic. When he entered Masteller Middle School’s choral program, he started out with less than 10 boys. The following year, his numbers more than quintupled. How did he do this? His methods are actually quite simple. First of all, he suggests making chorus an elective rather than a mandatory class. Boys who are forced to take chorus will likely dread it or just take it for the required amount of time and then leave. Some other helpful tips:
- Make it fun! Throw in some gimmicks such as fun choreography. It may look cheesy but it will be enjoyable for them and for the audience. Guys love audience feedback; it raises their self-esteem.
- Show them that singing is cool. If you can, bring in a male a cappella group to show them that it is cool for guys to sing!
- Have them dress well. Guys like to dress up from time to time.
- Pick the right repertoire. It should not only be music they like but it also needs to fit their range.
- Include fun pop songs that the students are familiar with, but don’t be afraid to balance these with pieces that really challenge them.
- Make performances over the top. Not only will each concert be a crowd pleaser, but also the guys will have a great time learning and performing.
-Christian Brand, ‘19