Hello, I am new, and so is our parish children's choir
  • Hello! I'm not sure if there is an Official Forum Section for introductions or not, so I will keep this brief. I'm a teacher...of things other than choir, and I'm starting a children's choir at our parish this year. We homeschool and I led a small homeschool choir/music class last year, so I am not entirely new to directing children's choirs. On the other hand, I have quite a lot to learn.

    I am in possession of both Ward method books and am going to use some of the techniques. I also have Lee Gwozdz's Toys That Teach DVD and materials, some of which I used last year. I used Michicko Yurko's "Blue Jello" approach to teaching rhythm with some success, and I convinced my library to order Kenneth Phillips' Teaching Kids to Sing book so that I can check it out over and over instead of buying it myself yet.

    So I feel like I have some good resources in terms of vocal development for the kids. I went to one of the chant workshops in Alabama about five years ago and acquired books which then became fixtures on my bookshelf because I wasn't in a choir that was looking to start chant...I went primarily for my own edification.

    I'm going to assemble a folder for the kids with some fairly simple and traditional hymns, Mass parts, and a few of the hymns from the Ward hymnal. I have been a little vague with parents about what our "repertoire" will be because we aren't a Latin-using parish...at all. So I'm going to try to sneak things in gradually.

    Anyway, any suggestions are welcome. I know it would be ideal for me to have a degree in music and have taken Ward classes, etc., but I figure the parish has to start somewhere, since there's no children's choir at all right now. So they get me.
  • Beautiful!

    I went to one of the chant workshops in Alabama about five years ago and acquired books which then became fixtures on my bookshelf because I wasn't in a choir that was looking to start chant...I went primarily for my own edification.


    this is how it works. I'm convinced that everyone who finds himself/herself at a workshop is being called to make a difference in some way at some point.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    you might also want to check out the voices for life curriculum published by the royal school of church music. its graded, has a student workbook and touches on all aspects of church choirs.
    also, heally-willian has a collection of childrens anthems that are wonderful.
    good luck.
  • I second Don Roy's recommendation of the RSCM "Voice for Life" Series, also explore "Pueri Cantores." Their work-shops
    for directors & festivals for choristers are first-rate.
  • AngelaR
    Posts: 259
    Dear DMSpeed, take heart, you are doing a very good work! I was in your shoes just two years ago when I started my job as a music teacher at a local parochial school. I've been coming at things backwards, with no piano background, and no training for working with kids. I took Ward I classes at Catholic U this summer and am now fully implementing it at the school. My kids are getting better and better at singing, and a class even sang at the local Cathedral for a huge school Mass this month!

    I found some of the Kodaly resources very helpful in finding creative ways to work with kids individually in matching pitches and learning about the different elements of music, although these might be more suited to the classroom than to the choir. Ward Method I very highly recommend!