Monday, February 22, 2016

To Audition or not to Audition?

I recently answered this question on a choral music forum, and I wanted to share it here!

Hello,
 
I have just taken a new middle school choral position. The previous teacher resigned in October, and there has been a series of subs in between. I know the previous teacher didn't hold auditions for 7th and 8th grade chorus. The school is grades 6-8. I am interested in how other people have handled auditions for middle school chorus. As far as I know, the administration is not the reason no auditions were held in the past. I am hoping it can be a recruitment tool, because I have found in other settings that raising the bar with an audition (even if pretty much everyone is accepted) can increase the appeal of the ensemble.
 
I look forward to your responses.
 
Thanks!
 
Amalie Hinson

Hi Amalie!

Many people audition their middle school students and have super programs.  It's an individual decision for sure.  In my own program, I've opted not to audition students to enter my program.  I have found that many students in this age group are very nervous to sing alone, but they are often very enthusiastic about being a part of a large group performing ensemble.  I have also found that the best recruiting tool is to make choir an enjoyable place to be.  We have to laugh with them.  We have to give them structure.  We have to share our passion with them.  They will see it and respond to it.  For example, I love musical theater, so each year, we do a musical theater revue that is our major fund-raiser for the year.  I audition the kids for that show, but it is completely voluntary.  it's awesome to see children who've never auditioned for anything overcome their fear.

Wishing you the best of luck as you embark on your new journey!

Dale

2 comments :

  1. Love the heart behind this. What do you think of auditions for voice placement only? I've thought of going this route and telling kids in advance "you're in if you try." Secondly, do you have an alternative suggestion if space becomes limited? I can't do more than 40 in my room, and I have a schedule similar to yours. What to do with 20 kids if 100 audition?

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    Replies
    1. Auditioning for voice placement can work well too! I don't do it because my classes are huge...most are between 70 and 84. I listen when they are singing in two or three parts, and I can determine which students are succeeding with holding the harmonies, and I move them accordingly. I find that the ranges of the music for this age group don't really require too much in terms of demands on the ranges of children.

      I also like the idea "You're in if you try". Showing up makes a huge difference. That is how I treat my musical revue. If they prepared the song and sing it, they are in.

      Limited space is a good problem to have. What I've found is that when situations like that arise, we start finding the required solutions. If you are already close to having that situation, start brainstorming. Can you move that rehearsal to the cafeteria stage? Or into some other large location? Is the large band room open at that time? That sort of thing...

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