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The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

GUEST BLOG: “The Times They Are a-Changin’” by Sundra Flansburg

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’, by Sundra Flansburg
 
Our ACDA student members have been on my mind of late.
 
That’s partly because we saw tremendous success with student members during our fall membership drive, when states added almost 1,000 new student members in two months. It is also because of all of our member types, we are most likely to lose students when renewal time comes around.
 
This is one of our challenges for the year, then. I am increasingly aware that we cannot treat every ACDA member alike. Students have grown up in a totally different world than us older, more seasoned people have. Their interests, their modes of communication, their expectations are different, and we ignore that at our peril. Need a reminder? The Beloit College “Mindset” List is an enlightening one.
 
That said, much of what ACDA offers other members – conferences, Choral Journal, ChorTeach, connection with colleagues - seems to appeal to our student members. ACDA student chapters have been around for over 40 years. We are starting to shine a brighter light on chapters by including student chapter updates in Choral Journal (the first will appear in the April issue in the Youth and Student Activities R&S column, by Amanda Quist).  Jason Paulk, editor of the “Student Times,” a regular feature in the Choral Journal, is working with our editorial staff to help make more students aware of the publishing opportunities especially for them in Choral Journal. (See the Youth and Student Activities webpage for more information.)
 
One new initiative that ACDA will launch this fall is the ACDA Mentoring Program. This program will match students and new choral teachers and conductors with their more experienced peers for a range of guidance and support.  Robert Duff and Amanda Quist are currently conducting a pilot test of the program in the Eastern Division, which will allow us to tweak the program prior to its national rollout. You’ll be hearing more.
 
Are you a student? Are you someone who works with students? What are our challenges? What other ideas and suggestions do you have?
on February 25, 2014 9:00am
Music schools generally teach accurate theory, good technique, nice repertoire/style, and pretty phrases.
But we might trip and "fall into the hole" in regard to communicating and dealing  with people.  Sometimes that means their students/member-singers, but I sense that most directors understand where their singers come from, and relate to them through the music.   The greater challenges as I see them are in are learning to deal with administrators, parents, and non-supportive  - or even supportive! - communities.
What about a workshop, where you invite some parents, admins, a pastor, a parent/student who has had a great experience with their Choral Dir., and one whose experience was ... [read "horrendous"] really unfortunate.  Each, without naming anyone, can describe the qualities and actions that made the programs either great, or poor, and how the best/relevant qualities could apply to their situation.  This could be filmed and emailed out, and/or put on a site, available only to those with Choralnet passwords.
In most matters of life, if we can see the worst and the best examples, we can pull ourselves along the line.  Also, this will give the newby directors (and remember, this can be any age!) a chance to hear what the expectations/hopes/fears are from these folks' perspective, {those listed: admins, students, parents, etc.} and share their own vision.
As I've interviewed lately, I have asked, "What would your best Choral Director (/Music Minister) be like?" [Maybe I can weave some of this into my goals.]  "And what would the worst one be like?" [Warns me not to mess up here!]   After they share their perspective, I share mine, including my goals, what I would contribute, and the type of support I'd need/ hope for to get there.
We've had several forum-requests re; accompaniment issues.  Do you hear a workshop?
Also, I believe we have, somewhere in the annals of this great site, some "Do's and Don'ts" for Choral Directors.  Marie Grass Amenta has been diligently working on the eagerly-awaited Choral Etiquette for Directors.  Maybe some of us need to act it out (with singing, of course) and make an "What's it Really Like?" -type of movie.
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 27, 2014 6:18am
A great suggestion, Lucy! It seems like that might make a good session at a conference, or a state meeting. Have you thought about that?