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This module represents the beginning for a discussion regarding the organization and management of a choral department. While the focus is on a department in a school the concepts can be adapted to community or church choirs. This module includes discussion questions, projects and suggested readings.

Management of a choral department

The ability to organize and implement the various activities of a choral program is extremely important to the success of the department. Choral conductors who are unable to properly organize a choral program will be constantly hampered in their attempt to establish a complete choral department. Administrators who do not feel qualified to judge the conductor's musical achievements do feel competent to judge his organizational abilities. Administrators also deal with the organizational qualities of a director on a regular basis while they view the musical achievements only sporadically. They may consequently evaluate the choral director on the basis of his management capabilities as much, if not more than his musical capabilities.

Careful planning will also free the choral director from last minute flurries that often get in the way of musical preparations. The necessity of efficient planning cannot be overemphasized.

Discussion questions

1. How can a director learn to pace himself if he is to conduct four or even five choral ensembles every day? Does teaching choral music require more stamina than that of the average or even good history teacher?

2. What time of the day is best to rehearse the top-performing group?

3. There are certain immovable objects in every school schedule. What are they, and how can one use them to an advantage?

4. If possible, find out the amount of money a nearby school is allowed for a choral budget. Determine how you would best spend that money.

5. Beyond the essential needs of a choral department, such as music, folders, etc., determine the order in which you would wish to buy desirable items, such as tape recorders and the like.

6. What type of wearing apparel do you prefer to see high school choirs wearing?

7. Do high school students enjoy wearing period costumes for madrigal ensembles?

8. Are choir officers always necessary? How can a director avoid letting the election of officers become a popularity contest?

9. What other methods of publicizing concerts can you think of? What, in your experience, has been the best means of publicizing concerts?

10. What type of people usually attend the choral concerts? How can you interest others?

11. What other activities do you think would be worthwhile to a choral department?

12. How important are extensive tours to the development of a good choral department? Is a four-day tour twice as good as a two-day tour?


1. Work in the choral library for several hours to determine firsthand how the choral music is processed and filed.

2. As a prospective purchaser, commercial firms that produce risers, uniforms, and music will be interested in sending you their catalogs. Compare items and prices. Develop a uniform budget for a choir of fifty based on catalogs received.

3. Develop a complete choral department budget for a school year. Include such items as piano tuning, contest and festival fees, music repair, and other similar items.

Suggested readings

Hertz, Wayne S. "Physical Facilities and Equipment." Choral Director's Guide. Edited by Neidig and Jennings. West Nyack, N.Y.: Parkers Publishing Co., Inc., 1967.

Hoffer, Charles R. Teaching Music in the Secondary Schools, chap. 6. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Co., Inc., 1964.

How to Promote Your Band (A Manual of Public Relations). Elkhart, Indiana: H. and A. Selmer, Inc., 1957.

Klotman, Robert H. Scheduling Music Classes. Washington, D.C.: Music Educators National Conference, 1968.

The School Music Administrator and Supervisor: Catalysts for Change in

Music Education, chap. 8-10. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973.

Sherritt, Doug. "Choral Library Computer Filer." The Choral Journal December, 1986.

Synder, Keith D. School Music Administration and Supervision. 2d ed., chap. 7-9. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1965.

Sunderman, Lloyd F. Choral Organization and Administration. Rockville Centre, L.I.: Belwin, Inc., 1954.

School Music Teaching: Its Theory and Practice, chap. 7-8. New York: The

Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1965.

Weyland, Rudolph H. Guide to Effective Music Supervision, 2d ed., part 3. Dubuque: Wm. C. Brown Company, Publishers 1968.

Winning Public Support for the School Choral Group. Chicago: E. R. Moore Co.

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Source:  OpenStax, Choral techniques. OpenStax CNX. Mar 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11191/1.1
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