The December 2015 issue of Choral Journal featured an interesting conversation with top conductors and singers in the United States. The panel included four conductors—Simon Carrington, Joshua Habermann, Simon Halsey, and Craig Hella Johnson—and five singers—Dashon Burton, Esteli Gomez, Kathryn Lewek, Kelley O’Connor, and Kyle Stegall.
The author asked the panel questions about, among others, what qualities and skills make a singer marketable as a full-time professional musician and how conductors can better prepare young singers for careers in the field. The subject of today’s ChoralNet blog is this question: How can students glean the skills they will need in the professional world from singing in choral ensembles?
Below are just a few of the responses from those on the panel. The full article is available to download as a PDF or read in e-format online online at acda.org/choraljournal. (Note: You must be logged into the acda.org site as a member in order to access the Choral Journal online.)
Simon Halsey: With good conductors and voice teachers, plus touring and visiting, plus summer schools, bravery, and daring, they should be able to put together a great education for themselves. Be constantly question, asking, listening, and visit.
Simon Carrington: A small one-on-a-part choral ensemble is its own training ground; all the members have to work at the speed of the fastest and not the slowest. There is a built-in culture in an ambitious ensemble that sets its own standard to which all members must aspire.
Joshua Habermann: The ensemble experience offers an opportunity to sing a variety of literature in a variety of ways. Whereas in private voice lessons a student might be exposed to thirty minutes of music for a jury, or perhaps as much as a recital-length program, most choral ensembles cover several times that much music in one semester. Learning to move quickly through that breadth of literature, to work both independently and also with careful listening across a section, is all part of a high-quality choral experience.
Esteli Gomez: Here is a chance to mention the importance of kindness and the “works well/plays well with others” concept. No singer is an island: even the soloist in recital or in front of an orchestra is absolutely a collaborator. Singing well with others leads, ideally, not just to high-level collaboration in performance, but to a heightened capacity for communication, which translates to nearly every field.
Click here to read the full article with useful and fascinating answers to many more questions. Click “Search Archives” and choose December 2015 from the dropdown menu.
Your turn! How do you think students glean the skills they need in the professional world from participating in choral ensembles?