My foremost objective is to help prepare students for a life beyond college: A life that is productive and contributes to the betterment of society: A life that provides personal satisfaction and fulfillment: A life wherein the student thinks autonomously and forms considered opinions based on observation and thoughtful analysis. Music Majors
Music schools and conservatories must graduate professionals who are well-skilled in rudiments such as sight reading and aural comprehension in addition to their skills in instrumental and vocal performance. Students will be successful when they sight read fluently and act like professional musicians. Graduates who practice professionalism in school and master the tasks of professionals are most likely to succeed. This success comes down to practical and quantifiable skills.
- Objective: Excellence in sight reading
Having worked for nearly ten years in New York, and having hired dozens of professional singers, I have a keen awareness of what is required to succeed as a professional singer. The vast majority of vocal graduates will initially earn their living by performing gigs in churches and choruses. It is how every aspiring opera singer and Broadway star builds a resume. As such, in order for a singer to be rehired by any conductor, that singer must be able to read most choral literature at sight.
In addition to designated sight reading classes, this critical skill can be reinforced in choral rehearsals by regularly subjecting the choir to reading novel literature of every historical period. Rhythm flexibility can be strengthened in vocal warm ups and exercises as can the use of mixed meters. In short, the rehearsal is an ideal environment to help students improve their musicianship skills.Objective: Distinguishing between various performance styles
In today’s market, there are plentiful opportunities for performers and singers who are aware of the various performance styles practiced in different historical periods and geographical locales. Hence, singers who can use their voices in a variety of ways—with and without vibrato, for instance, or learning how to ornament Baroque and Classical arias—are more likely to be employed. Since our goal is to enable our graduates to earn income in their chosen field, we do them a great service by exposing them to as many performance styles and methods as possible.
Selecting a wide range of repertoire, from every historical period and place, gives the students an opportunity to learn how to perform different styles in a forgiving environment. It is important, however, for choral conductors to work closely with voice faculty—to teach singers how to sing straight tone or minimal vibrato in a healthful manner. No one wants students to leave school with vocal problems. Professional singers work everyday in performances that require straight tone; there is certainly a healthy way to produce it. Our job is to teach them how.