By Andy Beck
Greetings, music educators! As the school year comes to a close and final performances, evaluations, and grades are complete, I’d like to extend a warm invitation for you to join me at a summer reading session near you. I’ll also be hosting a “Celebration of Song!” Reading Session alongside Sally Albrecht. Together with fellow music educators and other outstanding clinicians, we will explore and discover new choral and classroom materials, handpicked and highly recommended. What can you expect when you attend? Here are some highlights:
We will SING.
The very best way to select a piece of music is to sing it. And just imagine the beautiful sounds we will make in a room filled with choral directors and music educators. Along the way, I will emphasize teaching techniques, programming suggestions, and creative performance ideas for all of the materials included in your complimentary packet.
We will LAUGH.
After all, you’ve taken a day out of your brief summer vacation to attend, so let’s have some fun. We’ll probably share a chuckle at ourselves or each other, have a giggle at a clever novelty song or two, and every so often, we’ll crack up at a humorous anecdote about our ever-entertaining students.
We will SHARE ideas.
Over the years, I’ve gathered some useful teaching tidbits that I enjoy sharing throughout the day. If you have a great tip you’d like to impart, please do. We can all learn so much from each other. And with your permission, I’ll pass your idea along to the many other talented music educators that I will have the opportunity to meet this summer.
We will GET ORGANIZED for next year.
Be sure to bring a pencil so that you can keep lists and mark materials that you enjoy as we review them. Then later you can take a closer look at each item and even purchase or order on the spot. There will be outstanding choral music, vocal warm-ups, sight-singing materials, teacher texts, musicals, and more. By the end of the day, you will be well on your way to having everything you need for the coming school year.
We might even DANCE.
Those of you who know me will attest to my enthusiasm for easy and effective riser choreography. On a few pieces, I may invite you to try a few of the moves, and I’ll model effective ways to teach these routines to your singers.
We will INSPIRE each other.
I get so much from my interaction with music teachers like you. Your dedication to education is truly inspirational! In return, I’ll do my very best to demonstrate positive teaching strategies, offer words of praise and encouragement, and share ideas that will motivate you and your students alike. When all is said and done, you’ll be recharged and ready to embrace the coming school year.
There’s no doubt about it—music teachers are amazing. We are passionate about our craft. We care deeply about our students. We embrace music as a powerful art form. We realize that, through our music and our everyday actions, we teach so much more than music. Through the choice of repertoire, not only do we educate those who are in our classrooms, but we also entertain and inspire hundreds more who attend our concerts. Along the way, we face challenges, but never lose sight of the song that lies within. I look forward to sharing my song . . . and hearing yours.
See you soon!
Andy Beck is the Director of Choral Publications at Alfred Music. A prolific composer and arranger, he has over 450 popular choral works, vocal resources, and children’s musicals currently in print, including the highly regarded method books Sing at First Sight, Foundations in Choral Sight Singing, and Vocalize! 45 Vocal Warm-Ups That Teach Technique.