How to build a choir at a small school
Date: March 27, 2010
I took a job for next year teaching K-12 music at a rural, small school (actually the school I went to!). I will be responsible for elementary music, high school choir (was told it is open to grades 9-12), beginning band, and high school band.
I need help in building a solid choral program there. They have really never had one. The director who was there for a long time was not a vocalist and did very little with the choir, and the ones who were in choir were only in it to get a fine arts credit. After he left a few years ago, another director was hired, who once again only worked on building the band.
In this case, when there has never been any interest or time invested into vocal music, how can I effectively recruit members and motivate them to learn to sing? The superintendent is VERY supportive of my ambitions (he is a singer), and so is the principal and the teachers. Parents in the community are supportive of the school, too, so I have a solid foundation to work with.
The superintendent asked if I could spend a day at the school sometime in the next month recruiting for both band and choir. As I said before, the kids in this school have no knowledge of choral singing. I was thinking of maybe having a school assembly in the morning where I talked to the kids about positive reasons to be in band and/or choir. Would it help to maybe have friends of mine come in and sing for them (friends who are choir directors)? If so, what kind of music? WOuld this even be worth it?
Or, instead of speaking to the whole school, would it be more effective to talk to one grade at a time? (this is a small school; each grade has about 40 students, max)
The superintendent also said that during my recruiting day, he would allow students out of class to come visit with me in the music room, "try out", etc. What would be an effective way of "trying out" kids that don't have any singing experience? (I don't mean "try out" as in being selective, as this school doesn't allow you to cut people from choir, but perhaps test their voice)?
He also suggested that maybe a week after my recruiting day, have an evening information meeting/session with parents about my goals. I like that idea, because it would show that I want to involve parents in what I do. Any ideas for this?
I am basically starting from scratch. Any help would be appreciated.
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