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College/University Voice Faculty and Recruiting

This is a question for college/university directors.  My question has to do with applied voice faculty and their role in recruiting voice majors.  In your view, is it primarily/solely the choral director's responsibility to keep voice studios full and ensure adequate numbers of majors to keep the studios full, or do applied voice faculty have at least some responsibility for recruiting and keeping adequate numbers of majors in their studios?  What kinds of things are reasonable to expect of applied voice faculty in terms of recruiting activities?  (Being at a small private school, in my own recruiting for choirs, I recruit both majors and non-majors with little distinction between the two.)
 
Thanks
DM
Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on April 29, 2014 7:58am
Dennis,
 
I do both at my institution: I conduct choirs and also teach applied voice. While I believe that choir directors can play a large role in helping students to decide whether or not to attend a particular institution, I believe that every applied teacher has the ultiimate responsibility for filling their studio. As you mentioned, recruiting for choir is a different animal than recruiting majors. I feel that recruiting for choir is relatively easy. Recruiting majors is much harder. It is as close to a "sales" job as you will find in academia. Applied teachers should be engaging in activities to help get the word out that they are a quality teacher and performer. These would include hosting "voice" days on campus, visiting local high schools with performance tours, adjudicating solo festivals, etc. Good luck!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on April 29, 2014 12:06pm
A vital choral program will attract good singers to a university program.  Voice teachers should then have the responsibility of not only training those good singers, but attempting to encourage (entice?) many of them to major in music.  It has to be a symbiotic relationship between choral director and voice instructor.  If the voice faculty put themselves at odds with the choral director, both the studio and the choral program will suffer.  At the very least, a certain amount of detente needs to exist, and there needs to be professionalism for one entity not to badmouth the other, which always puts the student in an awkward spot.  I feel it is helpful to have the choral person teach some private voice, or at least a section of voice class, to keep in mind the needs of the individual singer. (It wouldn't hurt to have voice teachers direct a choir somewhere along the line, for the opposite perspective).
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 1, 2014 6:38am
Yes, Stephen!
An MENC president [a few years ago] encouraged "Collaboration, rather than competition."  This would be helpful in many fields, but particularly high school and college vocal-Choral music.
-Lucy
on April 30, 2014 11:15am
I feel it depends on how your college/university structures the voice faculty positions. If the faculty are salaried and involved in shaping the overall program, have control over providing students with performance opportunities, and advise/evaluate students, then it is appropriate and expected they should market the program, and this should be included in their job description. If you only have part-time faculty, however, you can only expect them to do part-time work and understand their loyalties are divided.
 
On the other hand of the spectrum was my awful undergraduate school where the university paid voice faculty a per-lesson fee subsidy, and students had to pay the faculty directly extra per lesson on top of their tuition. The voice faculty had no on-campus offices and usually taught out of their homes. The only benefits were library privledges and no accompianist was provided-ever. In that case, it would be unfair to ask voice faculty to recruit for the program, and I doubt they would be enthusiastic to do so. 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on April 30, 2014 7:34pm
To add to Christopher Redfearn's thoughts, I think that a private instructor at a university can do just as much to recruit for the voice program. As a high school choir teacher i am often looking for guest clinicians from the collegiate level. Often, they work with not only my choirs but with my soloists who are getting ready for recitals and competitions. Many of my students have been motivated to audition for music programs because they are simply familiar with certain professors. So while a choir director may be more successul reaching out within the university, the private instructor can do every bit as much on the "incoming freshman" level.
 
Sincerely,
J.P. Kentros
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 1, 2014 6:45am
Yes, and hopefully the college professor becomes more aware of the classroom vocal/choral issues and endeavors, and can help address them.  Students "believe" us better if our words are reinforced; they also see that there are many ways to express techniques and acheive goals.  They begin to see the field/world of singing in a more balanced perspective.
I think it's great that you have them work with your "soloists who are getting ready for recitals and competitions."
- Lucy
on May 3, 2014 1:56pm
Thanks to all for your input.  I agree completely about the adjunct vs. tenured or tenure track distinction in terms of recruiting expectations for applied voice faculty.  For context, in my case, we have three full-time (two tenured, one tenure track) voice professors however one of them is leaving for another institution.  We would like to fill that vacancy but there are some questions about having sufficient load.  We also have two adjuncts but they teach non-voice majors exclusively (for which there is plenty of load.)
 
DM
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