No “Nonsense” Syllables: Making sound choices in warm-up, rehearsal, and performance
Bradley Naylor, Ohio University
We’ve all experienced that moment in rehearsal: despite an eager choir, the tempo is too
fast, the language too difficult, the melodic line too challenging. Our instinct to remove the
text to address underlying issues is a good one; but, what “nonsense” or “off-text” syllable
ought we substitute? “Sing it on loo, or da, or nee,” we say. Perhaps count-singing or on
solfege? In our choral warm-ups, the vowels, phonemes, and syllables that our singers use
focus their voices, build a unified ensemble sound, and prepare the choir to navigate
complex sonic landscapes. The careful choosing of off-text rehearsal syllables can clarify rhythms, dramatically improve intonation and balance, and carve out beautiful melodic lines. This session’s broad appeal to a wide range of conductors will equip attendees with these
served since 2017 as Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Activities in the OHIO
University School of Music (Athens, OH), where he teaches courses in conducting and choral
literature and conducts the OHIO University Singers and the Singing Men of Ohio.
Bradley is active as a professional choral singer as well, appearing the the Lancaster Chorale
in central Ohio and with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale in New Mexico and at recent
conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. Dr. Naylor serves on the board of
the Ohio Choral Directors Association as the Repertoire-Specific R&R chair. Bradley holds
degrees in music and conducting from Brown University, the Indiana University Jacobs
School of Music, and the Yale School of Music. He resides in Athens with his wife, Elizabeth,
and their children, Abby and Luke.
A Moving Rehearsal: Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Choir
Gregory Ristow, Oberlin Conservatory
Experience a choral rehearsal in motion. From warmups to Dalcroze-style choreography, we’ll use movement from Eurhythmics and vocal pedagogy to enhance the singing, learning and community experience of making music together. The session will lead to a group singing and plastique performance of the Lacrymosa from the Mozart Requiem.
Gregory Ristow is associate professor of conducting, director of vocal ensembles, and chair of vocal studies at the Oberlin Conservatory, where he also teaches courses in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. In the summers, he conducts and teaches Eurhythmics at the Interlochen Arts Camp. He has given workshops on Eurhythmics for teachers and performers around the United States and abroad. His writing on Dalcroze’s pedagogy has appeared in the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, the American Dalcroze Journal, Being Music (Journal of the Canadian Dalcroze Society), and Theory and Practice.
He holds the Dalcroze Certificate from the Juilliard School (Robert Abramson) and the
Dalcroze License from the Longy School of Music (Anne Farber & Lisa Parker), and has completed additional Dalcroze studies with Herb Henke, Marta Sanchez, Stephen Moore, Karin Greenhead, Ruth Alperson, and Louise Mathieu.
Re-Thinking Kinesthetic Approaches to Rehearsing
Korre Foster, Austin Peay State University
Singers, especially novice singers, respond well to kinesthetic learning and teacher-conductors benefit from a knowledge of kinesthesia. Re-thinking movement and alignment may be applied to posture, conducting gesture, phrasing, warm ups and singing technique. This presentation identifies habits we tend to have as teachers, how to improve upon them, and teach using more kinesthesia within the various parts of a choral rehearsal. (With Power Point. Previously presented at TN-ACDA.)
Dr. Korre Foster is Director of Choral Activities at Austin Peay State University where he leads Chamber Singers, Governor Singers and the University Choir. He also teaches choral literature, choral methods, choral conducting, and supervises student teachers and graduate students. In 2014 he led the APSU Chamber Singers in performance at the TMEA Conference in Memphis. He has been invited to speak at the 14th and 16th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, the 53rd National Conference of the College Music Society,
the 30th Annual Conference of the Society for Interdisciplinary French Seventeenth-Century Studies, and the 9th International Conference of the Association for Word and Music Studies. In July 2015 he directed the Académie de Musique in Paris in a concert of American choral music. He has represented the state of Tennessee on the board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization since 2012.
Learning from “Oops”: Strategic Risk-Taking in the Choral Rehearsal
Scott Rieker, Frostburg State University
Especially in music, we often have a concept of the “right way” things should be done, and we guide our students toward that end. I have done ground-breaking research into strategic risk-taking and productive “failure” in the creative process and discovered empirically that allowing for risk-taking by learners and creating an environment of individual experimentation—even within the context of traditional rehearsal—has a statistically significant impact on musical performance. Using experiential learning and providing practical, usable-tomorrow examples, this session will provide a research basis for and empower educators with strategies to implement risk-taking in the classroom.
No More Spells and Witchcraft: Formant Tuning With Your Ensemble, Demystified
Formant tuning is more than glorified vowel modification. It is a voice science-based
approach of altering pronunciation to maximize healthy tone and minimize tension. This session will explore the science of formants in an easily understandable way and then provide demonstrations of how exploiting this knowledge can lead to in-tune singing and healthy ensembles.
Dr. Scott Rieker—Director of Choral Activities and Choral Music Education at Frostburg State University—conducts the Chamber Singers, University Chorale, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Troubadours tenor/bass choir, teaches conducting, coursework in music education, and supervises student-teachers. Rieker received his doctorate in Choral Music from the University of Southern California (USC) with specializations in Music Teaching and Learning, Vocology, and Composition. Rieker earned a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Rieker previously taught music in the Des Moines (Iowa) Public Schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. An active composer and arranger, with his works performed by choirs around the world and published with Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Rieker studied composition with Drs. Morten Lauridsen and Veronika Krausas, among others. He is a Past-President of the Iowa Music Educators Association (IMEA) and engaged in groundbreaking research on strategic risk-taking in the choral ensemble.
Introverts in Your Ensembles: Teaching Strategies For Your More Reserved
Jay Dougherty, Marietta College
Studies show that at least one third of the population are introverts. Introverts aren’t necessarily shy, but they’re usually quiet and introspective. They don’t often raise their hand in class, but they likely know many of the answers. They rarely do anything that draws attention to themselves because that kind of attention is draining. Many current teaching strategies can hinder an introvert's potential. Group work, spontaneous social interaction, and inconsequential small talk can send an introvert into panic and their performance in the classroom can diminish as a result. As musicians, we strive to help all our students succeed. This session will present attendees with current research on introversion and how this knowledge can best be put to use in the music classroom.
Dr. Jay Dougherty is the Director of Choral Activities at Marietta College in the Mid-Ohio Valley where he teaches all campus choral ensembles, choral methods, beginning conducting, and advanced choral conducting. His area of research is in choral intonation, overtone reinforcement, and teaching strategies based on personality types. He lives in Vincent, Ohio with his wife and five daughters.