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High School Choral Structure Proposal

Greetings all:
 
I am currently teaching in a high school program with 4 curricular choirs
freshman choir of 32 girls and 3 guys
non-auditioned concert choir with 33 girls and 4 guys
advanced women's ensemble of 25 girls
advanced mixed ensemble with 25 girls 8 basses and 4 tenors.
 


I am writing a proposal to change the structure  to:
9-12 non-auditioned beginning men's 
9-12 non-auditioned beginning treble
advanced (auditioned) women's 
advanced (auditioned) mixed
 
The girls in our freshman and non auditioned mixed are limited by these few guys in terms of repertoire, and skill. These guys need some more one-on-one attention... This proposal I'm writing seems to be the best bet for us, for now for many reasons.

I need hard evidence of a choir program made up like this that is successful. If you have data of a choral program of this structure working, please send it my way--I am most appreciative! My proposal can't exist without evidence.
 
Thank you in advance!
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on November 30, 2013 4:48am
This is largely what we do - we have the guys and girls at the beginning level separate (which is a GREAT set up since they have different issues), then they can audition (or not) into other groups after their ninth grade year.  It will help with retention since those who are serious about making progress are separate from those who are less serious about it.  The guys really do need more individual help with pitch, etc., and making a TB choir will also help with their innate goofiness.  :-)  You are definitely on the right track, in my opinion.  I don't know what "data" I can give, but if you want to see our set-up, go to http://cms.blueblazers.org/index.php?id=26 to see our course offerings and descriptions.  Good luck!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 30, 2013 7:10am
Thank you so much for your response, Bill! I need data about retention...how many men quit before as opposed to now with the structure you have. The number of men in the program before and the number of men now...etc. Do you have any of that documented somewhere? I guess I should ask, what was your structure before this?
on July 4, 2014 5:56pm
Sorry, this was the set up for long before I came to this school in 2000.  Our retention has been good the past few years, with students of both sexes wishing to remain in a single-sex choir, which is possible in our set-up.  Either they aren't confident enough to audition for a mixed choir, or they simply enjoy the atmosphere or sound of singing in a single sex choir.
on November 30, 2013 7:38am
Hi James,
 
Not sure what the size of your high school is, but I taught in a school in Kansas where I had some of the same numbers you currently have.  (We had approximately 500 students in grades 9-12). I inherited a program that was structured in the same way you are describing and was allowed to make the changes you are proposing.  Here were some of my results:
Detentions and behavior related issues decresed by 60%.  (especially with the boys - who responded much better and got WAY more accomplished in a single gender choir at the freshmen level)
The the level and quality of music I was able to select was much higher and more rigorous after I made the change.  The freshmen choir (with only 6 or 7 boys) could barely handle SAB music (which I had to modify anyway!) and students could tell this was not a successful situation.  After a couple years of the beginning gender choirs, I went from 2 part music (TB and SA/2 pt. treble) to both of the beginning ensembles being able to perform TTB/TBB and SSA/3 pt. treble literature.  The number of students earning 80% and above on singing and rhythm reading quizzes and test scores increased by 35% and frankly, I became a better teacher!  Guest clinicians who had worked with my choirs in the year before the change and the years after also noticed a distinct change in student attitude, behavior, and overall performance level.  In my opinion, your proposed change is exactly how you build a solid choral program.  
 
Applauded by an audience of 2
on November 30, 2013 6:56pm
Thank you so much, Jason. Do you mind if I ask you the name of the school? I will use those numbers in my proposal. or at least the name of the school District?
Thank you very much!
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