Blog

From the Top: November 2018

Submitted by NCDA President, A.J. Reimer

 

I’d like to officially invite you to a party I’m hosting. A lot of cool people are going to attend. There will be live music. AND prizes! Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

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Games in the Music Classroom

I am always trying to incorporate movement and games into my classroom. It’s difficult for me to come up with games that fit our learning targets, so I reached out to a colleague for some help. Many of you may know Patty Fox, who is the Director of Vocal Music at Logan Fontenelle Middle School, in the Bellevue School  District. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Patty on several occasions, and am always amazed at her ability to create fun games that students love, practically out of thin air. I asked Patty to share a few games that she uses in her own classroom.

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Pride: Product vs. Process

We are currently preparing for a concert with a University choir. This concert is a wonderful opportunity for our kids and community to experience music making at a completely different level, to further develop a goal image for their own sound, and to see the discipline a great choir exudes. If this is such a wonderful opportunity, why am I so nervous? It’s in these moments that I feel the most stress, pressure, and desire to do well. As a result, I am more irritable and less empathetic, a worse teacher, to be sure. When I reflect on a challenging day, I often ask, “why am I experiencing this fear and stress?” Going further, “what’s the source of my desire to do well? Is it pride? Is it a desire to have people think I’m a great teacher? Am I working with my students’ best interests at heart?” When I get anxiety about a specific performance, it almost always stems from selfish motivations.

I am reminded of what Allen Hightower said at this summer’s NCDA conference. “Have you, have we, sometimes been guilty of using the choir to fulfill our own needs for success?” This statement hits startlingly close to home.

It’s my goal to use these words, and others from his presentation (which can be found in the NCDA blog post archive) as reminders to spend these last few weeks of preparation with a renewed focus on my students and their experience, on joy and expressivity over perfection, on process over product.

I write this blog as reminder to consistently demand excellence from myself, not only in the music, but also in a personal, relational sense. Additionally, I share this as an encouragement to anyone who may be bogged down with difficult rehearsal prep, feeling stressed because of various obstacles, or struggling finding the joy in the process. Return to what inspired you, to what made you want to be a teacher and share that joy with your students!

Best of luck,

Hunter Boe

 

We Need a Nice Bike In Our Lives Today

Submitted by District 1 West Rep, Lacey Franzen

I started into school for the first day with students three weeks ago. It was a brilliant day outside and one that made me excited to be in the school system for another year. It was also helpful that my daughter was exuberant to be back at school to see her friends (and go to class, I’m sure). How cool!

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Fill the house with singing and your hearts with praise! Psalm 147

Fill the house with singing and your hearts with praise! Psalm 147

 

I am finishing up some score selection for my choir today. I am constantly struck by how the Holy Spirit moves to help me find exactly what the Lord needs in worship for each week. I don’t say this without knowing that there will be work, and sweat, but hopefully no blood, involved in getting these pieces up and ready.

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From the Top: September 2018

Submitted by NCDA President, A.J. Reimer

 

As I was picking out music for my Freshmen choir this year, I found that I had an entire stack of music that I was bored with. I have completely fallen into a rut of doing the same thing, again and again. The music is still great, but I needed a change. Fortunately, NCDA has resources available for exactly this thing!

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From the Top August 2018

Submitted by President, AJ Reimer

 

On July 11 we officially welcomed Lyn Bouma and Matt Hill to the executive board as our new secretary and treasurer. The following week, the five of us met individually to get to work. We have a lot to talk about!

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Cornell Runestad Award 2018

Jim Elsberry is the recipient of the Cornell Runestad Lifetime Achievement Award

Crete, NE — July 10, 2018 – James “Jim” Elsberry was posthumously named as the recipient of the Cornell Runestad Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim’s son, Austin Elsberry, accepted the award on behalf of his father at the NCDA Awards banquet on July 10, 2018. The Cornell Runestad Award, presented by the Nebraska Choral Directors Association, is to be given to a deserving choral director in Nebraska. It is intended to honor those professionals that have made the commitment to singers in Nebraska through choirs under their direction. The inspiration of their artistry has touched many lives, and has set the bar for the many directors who follow in their paths. In short, they have left a legacy.

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Repertoire Selection for Children: Amanda Stevenson, Children’s Choir R & R

Watching the faces of our singers as choral repertoire becomes part of them is one of the great joys of being a conductor. The integration of musical meaning and human understanding can only occur if we provide participants with quality repertoire that is developmentally appropriate. Selecting the appropriate repertoire for an ensemble to support effective study and meaningful performance is one of the most important jobs of a music educator. Before selecting repertoire, you must know where your students are musically and where you would like for them to be after the performance. In this blog post, I’ll approach the task of choosing choral music for children by considering several different factors.

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Justice Choir: A Movement and a Resource

For centuries, music has played a pivotal role in social and political movements. From the Civil Rights movement in the United States, to the anti-apartheid movement of South Africa, to the “Singing Revolution” of the Baltic states, music has been a powerful force to unite, propel, disrupt, and change.

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