Voice for Life as a General Music Curriculum?
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 453
    I will begin a new job as parish music director in about three weeks, part of which involves teaching general music twice a week in the K-7 school of a sister parish. This is a very rural region of the country, and the sister parish and school are in a small town and very closely associated with each other and with the entire local community. The school has, I believe, just about 40 kids altogether.

    The structure of classes is that I get K-2 for thirty minutes a day, twice a week, and 3-7 for thirty minutes a day, twice a week, as well as a 15-minute prep period for liturgical music with the whole school and a weekly all-school Mass. I plan, select, and execute all the music for the Mass. I also plan, although do not always execute, the music for the sister parish to which this school is attached (which is executed largely by volunteers).

    Now, there is already a band teacher who also gives private instruction in instrumental music after school, so I don't feel a lot of pressure to introduce instrumental music into the general classroom.

    I'm wondering if the Voice for Life program might not work as a good curriculum for my music classes, treating the entire student body as a single large choir, singing for the all-school liturgies every week, and then gradually involving them in the parish music more and more? My classes are both inter-generational and age-segregated, and I could easily use the liturgy prep period to "put things together" between the grades.

    I know this program has been implemented successfully as an after-school enrichment, with great results, and I will have the advantage of compulsory attendance at rehearsals. It also has the advantage of giving every music class theoretical and historical enrichment while also achieving practical goals and performances.

    Thoughts? Reservations?
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • doneill
    Posts: 176
    The main issue with Voice for Life is that it is awfully thin for a school curriculum, being designed for after-school programs. I would suggest taking a look at A Young Singer's Musical Journey workbooks from Hinshaw, which can be adapted easily as homework or class assignments. Starting in the fall, I am using that for Grades 3 and up; I wouldn't recommend it for K and 1, possibly 2. For those grades I am using Alfred's Expressions in Music, which uses some solfege and focuses on musical literacy. It's designed for public schools, so I try to incorporate some Catholic theology in the lessons when I can, as it ties in. Also take a strong look at the Ward Method, which has daily lesson plans designed for Catholic schools.

    I'm becoming aware of more programs like yours that aim to do good work in the schools - so great to see.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 802
    Your situation would be good for Ward Method, except that in the second and third year you would be adding new students to the class while the continuing students would be ready to move on.

    As said above Voice for life is designed to supplement an after-school choir program. Ward is a comprehensive method. Perhaps one of the other suggestions above would work for you if you want to follow a book, but I would still mix in as much Ward methodology as you can.
  • janetgorbitzjanetgorbitz
    Posts: 907
    We have Scott Turkington teaching Ward I in Pittsburgh this summer... and we do still have a few spaces left. http://musicasacra.com/cmaa-summer-courses/
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 453
    Does he offer classes closer to home? I'll be a little over an hour away from Minneapolis.