I am about to enter year thirty-five in teaching…thirty-six if I count my first part-time job. My first two years of employment for the Bernards Twp. School District were in the middle school…I was hired to build a choral program which would move, after two years, to the high school. The middle school teacher was retiring. The high school choir of eight singers was being led by the Orchestra Director.
Through a number of incarnations, my program now consists of five choirs; three curricular – two during the school day. We run a straight nine period day. My SATB Concert Choir (Guys grades 9-12, Girls grades 11-12) is period 8, which is also a lunch period. My SSA Chorale (Freshman and Sophomore girls) is Period 9. They are always scheduled at the end of the day because we have a full-time accompanist who plays for all ensembles. The third curricular offering is the auditioned A Cappella Choir Honors which meets as a zero period on Monday nights from 7-8:30p. I have a women’s choir (Voices of Ridge) and a men’s choir (Ridgemen) which are created from the membership of the A Cappella Choir.
At this point in my career, many have suggested that I “write a book” about my choral experience and teaching style. While I have discovered that I do like to write, I am not certain who would purchase or want to read such book. As an alternative, I have decided to maintain this blog for one school year; documenting my job and my thoughts as the year goes by. I have often said that I would truly love to work in an environment of like-minded driven musicians who are passionate about what they bring to the young people in their classrooms. I think the conversations that may result from sharing this blog may create that very environment! I think it may also cause me to feel as though I am team-teaching, even though the “team” will only be present on the screen.
So, as I am about to embark on this journey, I invite you to subscribe to the blog and read along; comment and share wherever and whenever you’d like. Pass along the link to those whom you think might benefit from this exchange. I would especially like to invite younger teachers to read and respond; question and share. They are the future of our craft and I have a particular commitment to mentoring and sharing with new directors those thoughts and ideas that have worked for me.
Very best of luck to all of you!
Here’s to a solid start to another year!