Unforgettable Extension Opportunities for Your Choirs

SBO Staff • ChoralJanuary/February 2020Music Ed: Mentor Minute • February 17, 2020

Having an outstanding choir program is half the battle. The other half is keeping the students, and yourself, encouraged and engaged year in and year out. Fortunately, there are some great extension opportunities available to your choirs. Let’s outline a few.

Electrify Your Choir

Rockstar Laura Kaye has created a program where you can bring her and a choreographer to your school for an unforgettable experience. Over the course of a typical two-day visit, your vocalists will be transformed into a high-energy rock and roll choir; complementing your existing curriculum by giving students an alternative approach to their traditional choir experience.

You can host the clinic as choir-only or incorporate your band or orchestra as well. At the end of two days, you put on a concert that feels and sounds like a rock concert. Imagine what this will do for the confidence and performing abilities of your students. To learn more about Electrify Your Choir, visit electrifyyourchoir.com.

Bring in a Troupe

The Young Americans is a troupe of 40-plus performers who will descend upon your students and teach them how to sing, dance, and perform. They host a clinic over three days, and at the end, put on a concert using your students. For many who have participated in this type of event, it has been transformative.

A program like this doesn’t have to be limited to choir students. Any student in your school could be invited to participate, which in turn acts as a recruiting activity for your choir program.

Many universities around the country also have a similar performing group as part of their music, dance, and theater programs. Call your local universities to see if bringing in one of their show choirs or theater groups to work with your students is an option.

Host a Virtual Clinic

Online conferencing technology is so good now that you can easily leverage it in your classroom. Invite a composer that created one of your program songs to come and hear you sing, then do a question and answer interview with your students. Alternatively, you could invite a clinician to provide your choir with a helpful critique. By using online conferencing, you save on the expenses of bringing a clinician into the room, and allows you to engage clinicians from anywhere in the world. You aren’t limited to location, only to connectivity.

Have a Choir Exchange

Along similar lines, you could connect either in person or virtually with another choir. Perform for each other, then perform a song together. You could even make a day of it by sharing lunch and giving the students time to work together.

Though there are some challenges with doing this virtually, it is still a great option. Just as with clinicians, you aren’t limited just to choirs in your area. An online choir exchange means no one has to travel and you could even exchange with a choir on the other side of the world.

Go one step further by having both choirs prepare one part of a two-part song. Each choir records their version, which is then submitted to a video editor that can stack the two performances together to make a single, unifying piece.

Participate in a Virtual Festival

The World Choir Festival + Clinic is the first virtual festival created specifically for choirs around the world to showcase their performance and receive relevant feedback. It’s a simple, travel-free option to supplement your choir’s performance opportunities or be the capstone event of your year.

The process is simple: record your best performance, submit it for showing, then watch at your assigned time. Clinicians will provide feedback on your performance, and you can invite friends and family to watch from anywhere around the globe.

Each of these extension opportunities has the ability to transform and engage your students, all while showing that you are a true innovator in your school. Which one will you try first?

An experienced K-8 music educator, Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, manage, and grow thriving school music programs and have long and happy careers. She holds a bachelor of music from Brigham Young University and a master of business administration from Western Governors University. Elisa uses her vast and diverse skillset to help nonprofits, businesses, and music educators around the world. She serves as the conductor of her local community band, a columnist for SBO Magazine, and maintains a private lesson studio. Elisa is a nationally recognized speaker, the host and producer of the Music Ed Mentor Podcast, founder of the International Music Education Summit, and author of The Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive.

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