I’ve been laid up for the last 3 months since I had surgery on my ankle in early May. I missed the last month of school, and was very restricted in movement. So, when you’re sitting with nothing to do but ice and elevate your ankle, it’ a great time to start preparing for the new year!!
There are many things that need to be done to get ready for your extra-curricular elementary choir. Here’s my To Do list of things you can plan and prepare for before the very first day of school.
I. Plan your dates
When you do this, make sure to send emails to administrators and other school personnel.
Also, make sure your dates are put on your website so parents can see them anytime they check your website.
2. Write (or Update) your Choir Handbook
Things that should be in your choir handbook:
* Mission Statement
* Choir Uniform (including the cost, deadline for turning in the money)
* Method of communication with parents. Will it be by email, phone calls, a newsletter or Remind? Include how you want parents to communicate with you, for instance, your email address.
* Attendance Policy, including days of rehearsals. In my choir, students who have missed 3 rehearsals without a medical excuse (email, note or phone call from parent) are removed from choir.
* Performance Policy.
* Late Pick-Up Policy. If you have an after school choir, you don’t want to be hanging around for 30 – 90 minutes after the end of your rehearsal waiting for someone to pick up the child. And yes, I have stayed over 90 minutes waiting on a parent. I have a very strict policy that makes the students responsible for their pick up being on time. If you are firm, it will reduce the days you have to stay very late. I have removed students for being picked up late.
* Behavior Expectations and Consequences
Here is my Choir Handbook for 2016 – 2017:
3. Prepare/Print your Audition Forms
Here is the audition form I use:
Also, plan how you will conduct your audition and how you will organize the auditions. I have students sign up on a sign-up sheet in the hallway outside my classroom door. They have several dates to choose from.
4. Prepare Enrollment Forms
I require that all students have an enrollment form filled out by their parent before they can join. Firstly, this insures that the parent knows the child is involved in the choir and approves. It gives me phone numbers to call when the student hasn’t been picked up on time. And it gives me email addresses for communication. This year, instead of using a paper form, I decided to use a Google Form for parents to fill out online.
5. T-shirt Order Form
If you haven’t chosen a uniform for your choir, now is the time to decide. You will need to design the shirt and find a company that can produce it inexpensively for your students’ budgets. If you don’t have a company, contact other choir teachers in your district for a recommendation.
You will also need to decide if you want years put on the t-shirt and if you want student names put on the t-shirt. I decided not to put years or names on the shirt so the t-shirt can be worn year after year. I change the design and color every 5 years. I hope to make it economical to students to wear the 2 years they are in choir and then even hand it down to a younger sibling/cousin.
6. Select Repertoire
What is your criterion for your concert program? What is the level of difficulty that your students need to be singing? What kinds of songs should be included?
Consider the following when choosing your repertoire:
- Do you have songs from other cultures?
- Do you have any Art songs?
- Do you have songs in other languages?
- Do you have some upbeat/fun songs?
- Is there a way to use a soloist in any of the songs?
- Are there any A ‘Capella songs?
- Are the songs well-composed?
- Do you have any Folk Songs?
- How many songs do you need for the program?
- Can you learn these songs in the amount of time you have?
Here are some harmonic categories that you can use in the elementary choir:
- A Cuckoo Flew Out of the Woods by Wayne Bisbee
- All the Pretty Little Horses by Brian Finley
- Ani Ma’amin by Paul Caldwell/Sean Ivory
- Art Thou Troubled by Handel/Jean Ashworth Bartle
- Bist Du Bei Mir by Bach/Jean Ashworth Barlte
- Dormi, Dormi by Mary Goetze
- Ferry Me Across the Water by Lyn Williams
- Fidelia Omnia Mandata Ejus by Pergolesi/Tom Shelton
- Hine Ma Tov by Betty Bertaux
- I Know Where I’m Going by Earlene Rentz-Turner
- I Never Ate A Cloud by Wayne Bisbee
- Kyrie Eleison by Sonja Poorman
- Little Birch Tree by Mary Goetze
- Lullaby by Nancy Telfer
- Path to the Moon by Eric Thiman
- Pie Jesu by Tom Shelton
- Song of the River by Mark Patterson
- The Mending Song by Dan Kallman/Arnold Lobel
- The Wind by Wayne Bisbee
- This Little Light of Mine by Ken Berg
- Two Grieg Children’s Songs Vol. 2 by Edvard Grieg/Darcy Morrisssey
- Echo songs
- Every Night When the Sun Goes In
- Oh, Won’t You Sit Down
- Up Above My Head
- The Water is Wide
- This Old Hammer
- Goin’ Down to Cairo
- Sail Away, Ladies
- Way Down Yonder in the Brickyard
- Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
- Songs with Ostinatos or Descants
- Partner Songs
- Alabama Gal/All Around the Brickyard
- Cindy/Liza Jane
- Josey/Hurry Up Liza Jane
- This Train/When the Saints Go Marching In
- All Night All Day/Swing Low Sweet Chariot
- Dixie/Yankee Doodle
- Skip to My Lou/Rock-a-My-Soul
- A Ram Sam Sam
- Ah, Poor Bird
- Let’s Put the Rooster in the Stew
- Now All the Woods are Waking
- We’re on the Homeward Trail
- Vine & Fig Tree
- Two Part Songs (Some songs on this list have a variety of harmonic compositions such as: echo songs, call/response, ostinatos, partner songs and rounds).
- A Hope Carol by Tom Shelton
- A La Nanita Nana by Ruth Elaine Schram
- African Noel by Victor Johnson
- Born, Born in Bethlehem by Donald Moore
- Child of Tomorrow by Mark Patterson
- Cuckoo by Benjamin Britten/Jane Taylor
- Hold Fast Your Dreams by Louise Driscoll/David L. Brunne
- Holy, Holy Night by Jean Anne Shafferman
- Light the Menorah by Marti Lunn Lantz & Lois Brownsey
- Manger Carols by Gary Parks
- On a Cold Christmas Day by Mary Donnelly & George L.O. Strid
- Sahayta by Ben Allaway
- Salangadou by Susan Brumfield/Henry Leck
- Sarasponda by Ruth Boshkoff
- Sleep, Little One by Mary Donnelly & George L.O. Strid
- The Star by Mozart/Paul Carey
- Yonder Come Day by Judith Cook Tucker