GUEST BLOG: "The Students' Challenge to Directors" by Taylor Jack Conley
Date: August 6, 2013
THE STUDENTS' CHALLENGE TO DIRECTORS, by Taylor Jack Conley
Dear Choir Directors,
We singers are lazy by nature. It’s part of being human, really. We will accomplish as little as you let us if you set the standards low enough. Yet, if you raise that bar higher, we will attain and accomplish feats unimaginable.
So, why not raise your standards? We really don’t need the music for those six different octavos we’re singing in our next concert. In fact, with enough practice, we don’t even need the music for some of those larger works you’re having us sing. Sure, we can use our music on Bach’s B minor Mass, but that’s a huge work. Big works don’t have to be memorized as part of general practice.
The plain, black folder that contains our safety net isn’t truly necessary. We can do it, I promise. If only you would set the standards to a higher level, we could connect with you and the audience on a whole new level without our faces buried in the music. Our memorization would allow us to have better posture and be watching you for every single cue and direction; and we know how much you would enjoy the extra attention. Those folders, the nuisances that they be, have a tendency to draw faces into them and occasionally even go tumbling to the ground sending pieces of music flying all over the performance space. Just imagine the sound we could produce with our faces up, towards the audience at all times and allowing great singing to happen by better neck posture. Imagine what a wonderful performance that would be without worrying about folder cues, muted sounds, and folder splats to dampen the musical mood. What a performance that would be! Oh, you want to fit all of us on an insufficient amount of risers? We needn’t worry about fitting our folders in there as well; we don’t need them due to our memorization! We could also accomplish a great deal as musicians by being deeply connected to the music and text through memorization. We could sing our hearts out, and let our minds do the work.
What we ask is a simple task: challenge us. Make us work to be better musicians and performers. Will you step up the plate and lead us into a new level of musicianship and performance practice? We will only ever do what you ask us to, hardly anything more will happen spontaneously. If we, in doing the bare minimum, don’t accomplish great things ourselves, we leave a vacancy for someone else to seize the opportunity. Why not let your students achieve musical greatness under your guidance?
We, as students, ask you to bring us into a new level of performance that can amaze the audience, ourselves, and you. Challenge your students and you will not be disappointed.