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Seven community children's choirs in Florida

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SEVEN COMMUNITY CHILDREN'S CHOIRS IN FLORIDA:
FUNCTION IN THE COMMUNITY,
ORGANIZATIONAL PATTERNS,
AND CONDUCTORS' THEORIES AND PRACTICES








BY

MARY JEANETTE MCGREGOR HOWLE


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1999
























Copyright by
MJMH

1999













ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

A great many people have allowed me to spend time, money and labor on this

study. While I have tried to remember to express my appreciation on each occasion, there

is no doubt that I have often been remiss.

My advisor, Dr. Phyllis E. Dorman, has been very patient and supportive. Her

good advice, loan of books, and willingness to go beyond the call of duty have been of

tremendous help and have been a model of good teaching.

Other committee members have also readily loaned books, answered questions,

and provided advice, and for that I am grateful. To Dr. Russell Robinson, Dr. Charles

Hoffer, Dr. Arthur Jennings, Dr. Budd Udell and Dr. Linda Lamme I offer my sincere

appreciation.

Robena Cornwell and her staff in the music library have often been of great help.

Their willingness to stop their own projects and help a patron in distress is highly

commendable.

My parents, Clara and Angus McGregor, are due gratitude and love. They were

unfailing in their encouragement of their children, advocating that we aspire to worthy

goals and doing whatever was necessary to help us realize those ambitions. The high

value they placed on a good and continuing education planted the seed for this work.

iii








My husband, John, has given time, money, and interest, that I may go back to

school. His expertise with the computer has been invaluable, but, without doubt, it has

been his love and support that have made this work possible.

My daughters, Virginia and Katherine, have also been supportive and

uncomplaining. My desire to teach them to strive to realize their dreams has been one of

the prime motivators of this work.

Special thanks go to friends who kept prodding me to completion. Dr. Janice

Haworth, Paul and Peggy Mains, and Dianne and Lamar Walker have provided

unwavering friendship through many of the joys and sorrows of my life, and they are

special people.

To each of these people, I offer my warmest and most sincere appreciation.














TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS............................................................................................... iii

LIST OF TABLES......................................................................................................... vii

ABSTRA CT................................................................................................................. viii

CHAPTERS

I INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................... I
Statement of Purpose........................................................................................... 1
Statement of the Problem ..................................................................................... 2
Questions Investigated......................................................................................... 8
Delimitations...................................................................................................... 10
Assumptions....................................................................................................... 11
Definitions.......................................................................................................... 11
Community Children's Choirs............................................................................. 13

H REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..................................................................... 15
Introduction........................................................................................................ 15
Historical Overview ............................................................................................ 15
Vocal Philosophies............................................................................................. 26
Related Research................................................................................................ 39
Summary............................................................................................................ 46

1II M ETHODOLOGY............................................................................................. 48
Introduction........................................................................................................ 48
Overview of the Study........................................................................................ 48
Procedures......................................................................................................... 49
Treatment of the Data................................................................................... 57








IV RESULTS AND ANALYSES........................................................................... 59
Introduction ....................................................................................................... 59
Summary of Results............................................................................................ 61
Summary.......................................................................................................... 102

V CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS................ 105
Statement of the Problem and Procedures.......................................................... 105
Discussion......................................................................................................... 106
Recommendations and Implications................................................................... 115
Directions for Future Research........................................................................ 117

APPENDICES
A QUESTIONNAIRE A AND RELATED MATERIALS................................... 119
B QUESTIONNAIRE B AND RELATED MATERIALS ................................... 125
C REPERTOIRE................................................................................................. 157
D COMMUNITY CHILDREN'S CHOIRS IN FLORIDA................................... 161

REFERENCES............................................................................................................ 164

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................................................................ 175













LIST OF TABLES

Table page

1. Areas of Concern...................................................................................................... 60

2. Number of Singers.................................................................................................... 70

3. Gender of Singers...................................................................................................... 71

4. ChoirBudgets............................................................................................................ 95

5. Annual Tuition per Student....................................................................................... 97















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

SEVEN COMMUNITY CHILDREN'S CHOIRS IN FLORIDA:
FUNCTION IN THE COMMUNITY, ORGANIZATIONAL PATTERNS,
AND CONDUCTORS' THEORIES AND PRACTICES

By

Mary Jeanette McGregor Howle

May 1999

Chairperson: Dr. Phyllis E. Dorman
Major Department: Music

The purpose of this study was to investigate aspects of community children's

choirs in Florida. Specific aspects of the investigation included (1) the name and location

of each choir; (2) the vocal training philosophy of the director; (3) the director's practices

that support the vocal training philosophy; (4) the use of vocalises; (5) the use of

auditions; (6) the use of training choirs; (7) the inclusion of a comprehensive music

education; (8) concert repertoire; (9) parental roles; (10) racial, gender and socio-

economic components of the community reflected in the choir; (11) funding; (12)

directoral motivation and commitment; and (13) where directors learn the skills needed to

viii










direct a children's community choir.

The investigation included a direct mailing of a questionnaire to seven children's

community choir directors in Florida. Information was also obtained from interviews and

concert attendance. Results indicated that male directors attracted more male singers; girls

far outnumbered boys in community children's choirs; minority children were the least

represented; and, in order for recruiting to be successful, a well-educated community

population of at least 200,000 that supports the arts was necessary.

The most frequently cited reason for disbanding choirs was the inability of the

directors to balance the demands of the choir with those of other commitments. Directors

focused on singing, not on the concepts normally associated with music education, and

they selected music for its aesthetic appeal more than any other reason. Directors

reported very little undergraduate training in teaching children to sing, and they learned to

conduct a children's choir through independent study and practical experience.

Each director in the study auditioned all singers; and no director accepted children

who could not match pitch. No provision was made for poor singers. Individual tuition

ranged between $170 and $500 per year; travel, uniforms and registration fees were paid

in addition to tuition. Scholarships were often provided for low-income children.













CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION


The American community children's choir is a relatively new phenomenon in the

long history of choral music. The community children's choir, comprising both boys and

girls, is unique in that it draws its membership from a broader constituency, rather than

from a single social, religious, or cultural organization. This type of organization is a

relatively recent addition to the previous choral organizations for children. Separate choirs

for boys and for girls have been in existence for centuries (Shaffer, 1992), and such choirs

have participated in both sacred and secular music in worship services and concerts.

These choirs have most commonly been church or school-based, rather then community-

based.



Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate facets of community children's choirs

in the state of Florida. It gathered information on (1) the preparation and training of choir

directors, particularly in the areas of child voice training; (2) funding; (3) parental roles;

(4) concert repertoire; (5) the development of singing skills; (6) corporate choir

organization; (7) the general music education of the singers; (8) scheduling rehearsals and










concerts; and (9) determining whether or not these choirs reflect the racial, socio-

economic and cultural diversities of the communities they represent.



Statement of the Problem

The Name and Location of Each Choir

Several researchers have studied the boy choir (Ackerly, 1983; Criswell, 1987;

Farrell, 1976; Rhoden, 1971; Sewell, 1990), Bolton investigated denominational

children's choirs in southern California (1982), and Farrior (1993) briefly looked at the

development of both community and church children's choirs in her study of Helen Kemp.

A review of the literature showed that Bourne (1990) included a Georgia community-

based children's choir in her study of director's instructional techniques, but there is no

study limited exclusively to community children's choirs in Florida that examines the

proposed questions.

This study did not cover the business and legal aspects of conducting children's

choirs, although they are highly important areas. They have been addressed by other

authors, particularly Welles (1995a and b).



The Vocal Training Philosophy of the Director

As directors teach their choirs, they follow various vocal philosophies. One school

of thought results in the distinctive sound of English boy choirs, while American boy

choirs are equally identifiable by a different, but no less distinctive, sound. Phillips (1993)

stated that teachers receive little training in the handling of the child voice, giving rise to










the question of where directors receive education in vocal methods for children, and

which philosophy, if any, of vocal training they follow.

To fill the gaps in their knowledge about children's voices, directors attend

workshops, read professional literature, and converse with colleagues. Knowing where

directors obtain their training is essential for the music education profession so that quality

materials can be provided in those venues.



How the Director's Practices Support the Vocal Training Philosophy

Choir directors need a mental concept of the ideal sound of children's voices, both

alone and in ensemble (Bartle, 1988, p. 7; Shrock, 1990; Swears, 1985, p. 51). Without an

idea of the desired sound and repertoire, achieving a quality product would be difficult, at

best. Once directors form their philosophies of vocal training for children's choirs, the

question remains as to whether or not they have designed activities that support those

ideas.



How Vocalises Are Used in the Choirs

Vocalises can form a part of the philosophy of vocal training used by the director.

They can be used merely to warm up the vocal mechanism or to perfect the literature

while the body is being readied for singing. Alternatively, vocalises may not be used at all.

The use and purpose of vocalises form part of the total approach to children's choir

singing. This study investigated them from that perspective.










The Use of Auditions

Auditions may be used either to exclude those with vocal problems or to correctly

place those who need additional singing help, and are another facet of the director's

approach to the choir. Both points of view have fervent proponents (Campbell & Scott-

Kassner, 1995, p. 154; Phillips, 1993; Haworth, 1992).

Farrell's study (1976, p. 40) emphasized the importance of auditions. He quoted a

respondent in his study who said that the philosophy of the choir can be discovered in the

audition. Bartle (1988, p. 110) stated that a judicious use of auditions can help to avoid

future problems, including those involving health, motivation and social skills.



How Training Choirs Are Used

If auditions are a part of the admittance process, directors must decide what to do

with children who cannot pass the audition because of singing problems. Some children's

choir organizations consist of more than one choir. A concert, or senior, choir is used for

most public appearances, while a training, or junior, choir gives problem singers time to

develop their vocal skills (Shrock, 1990). Some directors may have found that training

choirs are invaluable, while others may have found that the time and expense involved in a

junior choir are not worthwhile.



Comprehensive Music Education In the Choral Program

The national standards for music education, published under the title The School

Music Program: A New Vision (Music Educators National Conference (MENC), 1994),








5

stated that young children 'learn by doing,' and the first Content Standard for Grades K-4,

Grades 5-8, and Grades 9-12 was "singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of

music." Professional music educators believe that children can learn to sing expressively,

on pitch and in rhythm, many different kinds of songs. Equally desirable is the ability to

follow a director and to sing music with more than one vocal part (MENC), 1994, p. 13,

17,21).

While children who participate in a choir receive training in singing, directors may

also attempt to provide a deeper understanding of the music under consideration. To teach

the sounds alone, neglecting the relevant music concepts of rhythm, melody, harmony,

form, expression, and style, squanders valuable teaching opportunities. Music education

has been accused of just such waste in the past (Mercer, 1972), but it may be that

directors are now availing themselves of teaching opportunities that help children attain

the goals in the arts that every "student should know and be able to do" (MENC, 1994, p.

v).



Concert Repertoire

Bartle (1988, p. 194) urged directors to "be fastidious" when selecting music. She

and Swears (1985, p. 161) both advised directors to select music that is worth learning. It

would be useful to both new and experienced directors to know which compositions

choirs involved in this study have used. It may also be of interest to learn whether

directors use readily available lists, such as those published by the American Choral

Directors Association or the Music Educators National Conference.










The Role of Parents

Parents occupy an important place in the choral organization. The director may

gratefully receive their efforts in collecting money, sweeping the floor, arranging parties or

distributing music, or, fearing the "stage door mother" syndrome, purposely keep them at

a distance. The management of parents can be of utmost importance to the choir, since

they are responsible for the child's participation. The parental role is an important part of

the total choir picture.



Reflection of the Community

The ideal of the 'community choir' is an organization that reflects the racial,

religious, cultural and socio-economic groups of the community as much as possible.

Goetze (1988) made the case for the choral experience to be "available to more than a

chosen few," and special arrangements may be necessary to assure that transportation,

location, and finances do not preclude any child from membership. If music educators

truly believe that music is for everyone, an issue germane to this study is the recruitment

and retention of children from every area of the community.



Funding

While operating a choir without money is possible, it would be extremely difficult

to do so. Fledgling choirs can borrow music, schedule rehearsals in an obliging church or

community center and request that children wear the ubiquitous white shirt and dark

slacks uniform, but a growing and flourishing organization eventually needs to spend










money. How and where the director obtains these funds is of vital importance to the

continued existence of the choir.



Scheduling

Children have access to many different activities. Participation in sports, the arts,

church and school organizations and family activities takes time that may otherwise be

available for singing. Since the child has little input into rehearsal and concert scheduling,

but suffers the consequences of any conflicts that arise, membership in the choir frequently

depends on how well this issue is handled by the adults. This may be especially important

with children from specific ethnic populations whose religious festivals or cultural

celebrations may not coincide with mainstream American calendars. Thus, an issue which

is pertinent to this study is how directors arrange their rehearsal and concert calendars and

motivate their singers to commit the necessary time and energy.



Director's Education

Phillips (1985b) stated that beginning teachers are often "ill-equipped to handle the

child voice" because they are not adequately prepared to "face the problems encountered

in teaching children to sing." Undergraduate instrumental majors are particularly lacking in

voice training, he said, but they often take jobs that require teaching voice.

If formal education does not prepare children's directors to teach children to sing,

then it becomes necessary to know where directors are receiving their training so that

choral and music education groups provide adequate resources. It may be that










professional organizations, workshops, journals and informal collegial discussions are the

training ground for educators who are concerned about their skills in teaching children to

sing.



Questions Investigated

This investigation studied seven community children's choirs as they existed in the

state of Florida in 1998. A brief history and the size of the membership were obtained

from each choir. Information was acquired about the preparation and training of choir

directors, particularly in the area of child voice training; the organizational structure of the

choirs; and their repertoire and funding. Data were acquired to attempt to determine

whether or not these choirs reflected the racial, socio-economic status and cultural

diversities of the communities they represented.

The first question pertained to the history and purpose of each choir. During the

investigation, choirs were located the choirs and a brief history of the choir, consisting of

age and reason for founding, was obtained.

It was important to examine the voice training philosophy of the conductor

because this has a profound impact on the vocal sound of the choir. The sound is a direct

result of how that conductor views the child voice. Investigation of that philosophy

provided insight into how the director regards the child's voice, its use and training. What

the director thinks about children's singing plays a key role in determining the sound of the

choir, but equally important is the technique used to implement that philosophy.

Examination of custom accompanied investigation into ideology. The practices of










directors may include vocalises and auditions, and these areas were important to this

study.

In attempting to teach children to sing well, a director may use training choirs.

These choirs are for children not yet mature enough to perform. They are an instructional

opportunity for choristers, giving the child time to prepare for the more exacting needs of

a concert choir. Training choirs were examined as part of the director's approach to

training a child's singing voice.

The music being taught is another means of teaching vocal skills. It can also be

used to teach music concepts. While this practice is advocated in the professional

literature (Mercer, 1972), the question of whether or not it is actually used was deemed

worthy of investigation.

The selection of concert repertoire is an indication of the director's philosophy in

the areas of music education and vocal training. Preference for one composition over

another may be the result of a desire to teach a particular music concept or to polish vocal

skills. Information of this nature is helpful to composers, arrangers and publishers who are

seeking to meet the needs of the children's choir market.

While the music the choir sings is vitally important, so are parental attitudes, for

parental attitude can determine whether or not a child joins a choir, the degree of

enthusiasm the child exhibits, and the length of membership. The way in which the choir

leadership deals with parents may have a part in forming this attitude. This investigation

attempted to ascertain directors' perspectives on parents and how these interested adults

may best serve the choir.










If a choir is truly a community choir, it will include representatives from all

segments of the community, including the differing races, religions, and cultural and socio-

economic groups. This study sought to discover whether or not these choirs are culturally

representative of the areas in which they are based.

Without money, a choir's possibilities are severely limited. It is not possible to

purchase music, tour, or pay salaries. The tuition paid by singers is an important monetary

resource for the choir and this study investigated the amount of tuition and how the money

was used.

With the proliferation of activities and organizations for children, it may be difficult

for a director to design a choral program that will capture and hold the interest of young

singers. Concert and rehearsal schedules which do not conflict with the many other

practices, games and meetings which singers want to attend may be crucial to the

continued existence of the choir. This study sought information on how directors find

adequate singing time for their children.



Delimitations

1. This study was limited to community children's choirs in the state of Florida,

which has active choir programs.

2. Children's choirs in this study were those that included both boys and girls

whose voices were not yet changed. All children were capable of singing all of the vocal

parts.










3. The choirs in this study were community based. While they may have met in

school, church, or community facilities, they drew singers from, and sang concerts in, the

community at large.

4. This study focused on the directors and their perceptions of choirs. In addition,

the investigation examined the membership of the choirs. The opinions and attitudes of

parents and choristers were not included.



Assumptions

1. It was assumed that the directors of all choirs had an undergraduate degree in

music.

2. It was assumed that the directors understood a basic choral vocabulary. Words

such as "vocalise," "audition," and "pitch-matching" were not defined on correspondence

with the directors.



Definitions

Children's choir is a choral organization in which the participants have treble voices

with a range ofB' below middle C to 5th line F in treble clef (Nye et al., 1992, p. 237).

These children are typically aged eight through sixteen (Tagg, 1993), approximately

grades 3 -11.

Chest Voice is a heavy, usually loud, singing voice. It results in an inability to sing

notes in the top two lines and spaces of the treble clef staff (Bridges, 1993; Kemp, 1989,

p. 10; Phillips, 1992a, p. 43-44; Swears, 1985, p. 63).








12

Community choirs are not officially affiliated with a single church, school or other

organization. Choristers are drawn from the community and are not restricted to a single

organization (Bartle, 1988, p. 115).

Comprehensive music education is also known as 'comprehensive musicianship.'

It blends elements of performance, theory, history and literature and composition into

each lesson (Campbell and Scott-Kassner, 1995, p. 57).

Concepts include rhythm, timbre, melody, harmony, form, style, tempo, dynamics,

articulation. These elements of music are the larger content areas from which small

portions are selected for one lesson plan or unit of study (Nye et al., 1992, p. 58).

Conductor is also known as director. One who leads the musical ensemble.

Fundamentals of music include the basics of music: pitch, pitch names, scales,

intervals, key signatures, duration (Ottman, 1961, p. 1-14).

Head Tones/Head Voice refers to a light, concentrated singing tone in which the

vocal bands contract for the higher pitches. The spaces in the pharynx and sinus cavity are

used for a resonating chamber (Bridges, 1993; Crocker, 1978, p. 17; Kemp, 1989, p. 10).

This is different from a 'falsetto' voice (Phillips, 1992a, p. 50; Vennard, 1967, p. 250; 0.

Wingate, personal communication, April 5, 1997).

Problem singer is one who lacks some or all vocal skills. (See Vocal Skills below.)

Tessitur is the range in which most of the notes, not including occasional high or

low notes, of a particular part are located.

Training hoi is also known by other names such as junior choir or apprentice

choir. The primary function of such a group is to allow singers the opportunity to mature










vocally before becoming a member of the more advanced choir in the organization.

Vocalise is a melody sung on a vowel, often without text. Used to 'warm-up' the

vocal mechanism and prepare the body and mind for singing. These vocal exercises can be

used to prevent or correct poor vocal techniques (Erman, 1981, p. 53).

Vocal skills include the ability to sing

*independently

*with appropriate timbre, diction, posture and expression

*with accurate pitch and rhythm

*with good breath control

*with technical accuracy (MENC, 1994, p. 13, 17)



Community Children's Choirs

According to the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) (National

Directory of Children's Choirs, 1995), many communities support children's choirs today.

These choirs may provide the systematic vocal training and exposure to choral literature

that the school music teacher may not have the time, expertise or funding to provide. One

community choir director cautions, however, that "the community children's choir, no

matter how good, IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR CHORAL SINGING IN THE

PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! !" (Paulin, 1989).

Community children's choirs take music into a broader arena than the local church

or elementary school. The entire city provides both membership and audience. Children








14

have the opportunities to meet and perform with singers from other areas of the city, and

to learn music which may not be available in other programs.

A choral organization that includes both boys and girls is a relatively new idea.

Boy choirs have been in existence since at least the fifth century (Sample, 1966, p. 5) and

King Solomon used girl choirs in both temple and court (Drinker, 1948, p. 133), but the

combination of both boys and girls in a choral organization supported by the citizens of a

city, rather than the more narrow sponsorship of a particular organization is comparatively

recent. A study of this innovation, which began in the 1970s (Farrior, 1993, p. 122), will

add to the knowledge of this aspect of children's choral music.













CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Introduction

This chapter contains an overview of the research on children's choirs in the United

States. Since there is no research related to children's community choirs, the information

in this section was obtained from research done on denominational choirs, boy choirs and

girl choirs. The review focuses on studies that discuss voice training, vocalises, auditions,

and a comprehensive music education in relationship to children's choirs. This chapter also

presents a brief history of boy choirs, girl choirs and children's choirs.



Historical Overview

Boy Choirs

Evidence that boys have been singing in established choirs for centuries is

abundant. Boethius (480-524 A.D.) cited Plato's statements regarding training boys in

music, including his advice on the kinds of music that should be used (Strunk, 1965, p.

81). Choirs of men and boys sang the chant as early as the reign of Pope Sylvester (A.D.

314-336) (Rhoden, 1971, p. 417), and boy choirs were "common at Jerusalem by the

beginning of the fifth century" (Sample, 1966, p. 5).

In America, the Episcopal church established boy choirs and the schools for

training them in the 18th century. Trinity Church in New York and St. Michael's Church










in Charleston, S.C., trained boys to sing the metrical psalms and the chants of Morning

Prayer (Ellinwood, 1953, p. 42; Farrior, 1993, p. 114; Shaffer, 1992, p. 4). Parochial

schools for boy choirs sprang up, and the movement continued to expand until the early

part of the 20th century. By "the late 1900s" there were more than 20 boy choirs in the

United States, but this number began to decline by the 1930s (Farrior, 1993, p. 115).

The first two decades of the 20th century saw the apparent beginnings of boy

choirs that were not church sponsored. The first community boy choir seems to have been

the Roney Boys of Chicago about 1900 (Rhoden, 1971, p. 417); other boy choirs existed

in such diverse locations as Miami, Albuquerque, and Chicago (Rhoden, 1971, p. 105-

106). There is some evidence that boy choirs may evolve into children's choirs, since one

study (Criswell, 1987) documented a difference of opinion in the Episcopalian church

between those who favored keeping the choirs exclusively male and those who advocated

the admittance of girls (cited in Shaffer, 1992, p. 5).



Gir Choirs

While some experts consider boy choirs to be the musical ancestor of our present-

day children's choirs (Rao, 1989), the evidence of girl choirs can not be ignored. Girls

participated in choirs in the ancient Hebrew worship service. I Chronicles 25:5-6 states

that Heman had 14 sons and three daughters and "they all served under their father for the

singing in the house of the Lord" (Drinker, 1948, p. 133; cited in McRae, 1991, p. 24).

W. F. Cook, Jr. (personal communication, January 30, 1997) also refers to Psalm 68:25

which states that maidens played tambourines in worship. He takes the reference to








17

"maidens" to mean unmarried girls, with the reminder that girls married at a much earlier

age than today. King Solomon used girl choirs in his second temple and in his court

orchestra (Drinker, 1948, p. 133).

The ancient Greeks employed girl choristers in the worship of goddesses. They

assisted the priestesses, and were an important part of the "religious and musical life of

Greece until long after the beginning of the Christian Era" (Drinker, 1948, p. 91-92).

Church leaders in the second century sponsored girls in church choirs. One of the most

famous girl choirs was in the parish of Bishop Paul of Samosata. Other girl choirs existed

in Jerusalem in A. D. 392, being used to sing psalms and antiphons (Drinker, 1948, p.

161).

The most famous choral opportunities for girls were possibly those at the four

Venetian ospedali in the 17th and 18th centuries. There were eventually four hospitals, or

orphanages, that grew from trade schools into excellent music schools performing music

by Pergolesi, Vivaldi, and Hasse (Mariani, 1997; Meredith, 1997). Notable among these

was the Ospedali della Pieta, which Dr. Charles Burney visited in 1771. He attended a

performance and described the singing as "really excellent." In his writings on these

Italian conservatories, he made reference to girl choirs that sang the psalms in English

churches (cited in Neuls-Bates, 1982, p.67-68).



Children's Choirs

Boy and girl choirs were not a subject for debate in the early days of America, but

the poor state of church congregational singing was a topic of much concern. One of the










first music textbooks, A very plain and easy Introduction to the Art of Singing Psalm

Tunes, written by the Reverend John Tufts, was issued in the early 18th century (Birge,

1929, p. 7; Hitchcock, 1969, p. 5). This book and other books which followed attempted

to teach singers how to correctly sing the hymns used for worship. These early religious

leaders felt that a more knowledgeable congregation would sing the music as printed,

rather than adding impromptu "quavers" (Birge, 1929, p. 5), or "Turns and Flourishes"

(Bolton, 1982, p. 2; Hitchcock, 1988, p. 5; Van Camp, 1978).

The idea of children's choirs originated with the singing school, another attempt to

improve singing in the church. Singing schools began to be established in the early 18th

century (Birge, 1929, p. 8; Hubbard, 1908, p. 175). The Rev. Thomas Walter, an ardent

advocate of singing schools, wondered, in his 1721 essay, why people would assume that

singing skills were any more a matter of inspiration than reading skills (Hubbard, 1908, p.

175). The popularity of singing schools lasted for some sixty years and became a favorite

recreational and educational pursuit. Their importance to children's choral singing lies in

the fact that these schools were not for adults only, but included whole families. Children

received instruction in both music notation and singing skills (Farrior, 1993, p. 119;

Hitchcock, 1988, p. 5).

A desire to improve congregational singing led to several developments in

American music education, chief among them being music textbooks and singing schools

which taught music reading, notation, and singing skills (Birge, 1929, p. 7-11). Both

books and schools ultimately resulted in elementary school singing instruction as we know

it (Atterbury, 1991). While contemporary music education also teaches music reading and










notation, the latest national standards for music education strongly encourage concept

development (MENC, 1994). Knowledge about rhythm, melody, expressiveness,

harmony, form and style is included in a quality program of music instruction.

The Moravians, a religious movement that founded settlements in Pennsylvania

and North Carolina in the late 18th century, had a strong commitment to music education

and choral music. Their emphasis on music education and vocal instruction was not so

much a way of improving congregational singing as it was a means of maintaining

religious practices, cultivating aesthetic sensitivity, and preserving traditions. Moravian

children sang chorales and hymns for approximately forty-five minutes nearly every school

day, and, as they advanced into upper grades, added preclassical and classical sacred

choral literature to their repertoire (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 46; Hall, 1981).

Lowell Mason, an early 19th century music educator, was also concerned over the

sad state of congregational singing. As one means of improving hymn singing, he preached

that all children could learn to sing, just as they could learn to read (Chase, 1955, p. 158;

Heller and Pemberton, 1996). This was contrary to popular opinion, which held that only a

select few who were naturally gifted could learn to sightread (Damrosch, 1908, p. 21).

Mason's music method book, Manual of the Boston Academy of Music for Instruction in

the Elements of Vocal Music on the System of Pestalozzi, published in 1834, was written

for the purposes of music literacy and vocal training (Phillips, 1992a, p. 6). By teaching

children to sing well, he could improve singing in both the present and the future.

Under Mason's leadership, the children of Hawes Grammar School, a public school

of South Boston, on August 14, 1838, presented a choral concert in the sanctuary of








20
South Baptist Church (Pemberton, 1988). This concert was a major factor in establishing

music as a subject in public school curricula and helped to prove his assertion that

everyone could sing.

Vocal training for children, which had begun during the singing schools (Phillips,

1992a, p. 5-6), continued in the public schools. A goal for Mason and his colleagues as

they taught in the schools, as it had been for Tufts early in the 18th century, was to

improve the singing in the churches (Farrior, 1993).

Like his brother, Lowell, Timothy Mason promoted the idea that all children could

learn to sing. While Lowell achieved fame for his activities in Boston, Timothy's similar

work in Cincinnati, Ohio, is not as well-known. Like Lowell, he was active in the

establishment of music education in the schools and in teaching singing skills. Timothy led

a large children's choir in two concerts during October, 1838, at a meeting of the College

of Professional Teachers at the Sixth Street Methodist Church, Cincinnati. The children

came from several different schools in the city. In June, a children's choir was part of the

Annual Procession and Exhibition of the Common Schools of Cincinnati (Mark and Gary,

1992, p. 152).

An outstanding children's chorus, directed by William L. Tomlins, presented a

concert at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. Tomlins had begun to work with children's

groups for the Chicago board of education about 1890, and his choirs became the standard

for children's choral singing. He focused on producing a beautiful tone, borrowing

methods from both the rote and reading approaches (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 186).








21

At the turn of the century, Elizabeth Van Fleet Vosseller led children's choirs at the

First Presbyterian Church of Flemington, New Jersey (Ball, 1981, p. 10). Her work with

children's sacred music led others to become interested in children's choirs. Vosseller's

choirs were church-based, another attempt to improve singing in the church (Ball, 1981, p.

11).

Ruth Krehbiel Jacobs was a direct philosophical descendant of Elizabeth Van Fleet

Vosseller. Like Vosseller, Jacobs believed that the material available for boy choirs was of

limited use in children's choirs, and that, by teaching the child, she influenced the adult

(Ball, 1984). Because of her attempts to reach as many children as possible, and because

so many children's choir directors wanted her advice, she organized the Choristers Guild in

1949 (Ball, 1984). While the Guild existed primarily for church choirs, its advice and

suggestions worked well for community choirs as well.

As schools began to give music a place in the curriculum, singing schools declined

because the public no longer felt a need for them (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 90). Children

learned to sing in school, and thus did not need extra-curricular vocal instruction.

About the middle of the 19th century, a 'scientific' approach to education began to

be evident and it became desirable to evaluate the subject matter (Mark and Gary, 1992, p.

166). Music teachers developed lesson plans that dealt with knowledge about music that

could be regularly tested (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 167). It was about this time that

music series were written to help children learn to read music. These books dealt with "the

facts of music rather than the music itself' (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 176). Children

learned about rests, clefs, sightreading, scales, meter and music dictation.








22

This trend continued into the 20th century. "Science" gave way to "progressive" as

a euphemism for "modern," but the emphasis on the testable facts of music remained.

Music history, analysis, creativity, and rhythmic activities were incorporated into the music

lessons (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 187).

By 1923, Songs of Childhood, edited by Will Earhart, T. P. Giddings and Ralph

Baldwin, showed a turn toward a more aesthetic approach in its emphasis of music

appreciation and melody writing (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 188). The Music Hour,

originally published in 1929, continued the trend. The authors stated that one of the

purposes of the book was to show that "music shall make the child happier and more

sensitive to beauty and, as a socializing force, shall enable him to adjust himself more

sympathetically to his environment" (McConathy, Miessner, Birge and Bray, 1929, p. iii).

In the 1930s, the "song approach" became popular in American music education as

teachers tried to foster aesthetic experiences in their students. By singing beautiful songs,

it was felt, children would learn to sing and become attuned to the beauty of music. "It is

the duty, therefore, of every supervisor and teacher to devote intelligently directed effort

toward securing from the class a beautiful singing tone (McConathy et al., 1929, p. 1)

The vocal training, with its breathing exercises, which had been a part of music

classes, was largely abandoned (Farrior, 1993, p. 13 ; Phillips, 1992a, p. 10). Phillips

(1992a, p. 58) argued that this neglect of vocal training resulted in the general lowering of

the child singing range. "Pitch ranges of songs in the early basal series often required that

children sing to ft of the treble staff. Today, pitch ranges generally have been lowered..."

(Phillips, 1992a, p. 16). The pitch range of early music series may have been pitched high










to encourage head voice singing, not because children naturally sang in an upper range

(Nye, Nye, Aubin and Kyme, 1962, p. 5).

The legacy of the aesthetic approach is to be found in the scarcity of children's

singing methodology in current elementary methods textbooks (Phillips, 1985a, 1985b)

and in current elementary school music textbooks (Kavanaugh, 1982). The emphasis on

teaching music concepts through songs intellectualizedd music and minimized the need for

(singing) skills development" (Phillips, 1993). We find little in elementary music textbooks

today regarding the training of children's voices (Phillips, 1983, p. 4). As Phillips said:

Current elementary methods texts emphasize the song approach almost
exclusively. In most of these sources, it is rare to find any directives to the
actual training of the child voice, outside of simple pitch-matching
exercises. The song approach literature almost totally neglects such
parameters as tone quality, registers, dynamic level, duration, and range.
What are emphasized are the appropriate means by which to teach a song
by rote and large amounts of song literature. The mastery of singing as a
skill does not appear nearly as important as the use of singing to develop
awareness of basic musical concepts. (1985b)


In the 1960s, MENC became concerned that children could make music, but could

not understand the concepts that underlie all music. To counteract this, an emphasis on

analysis and listening surfaced in music textbooks as children learned to understand the

music they were making. Children sang in order to learn the concepts which could be

taught from the songs, not for the beauty of the music or for the chance to develop their

voices (Phillips, 1993).

Ruth K. Jacobs and the Mason brothers shared a belief that all children could learn

to sing (Ball, 1981, p.10, 1984; Coffman, 1987), a philosophy advocated by Lyon (1993),








24

Phillips (1993), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Committee

on Children's Choirs (Rao, 1989), Goetze (1988), Gould (No. 17), and Swears (1985, p.

3).

Phillips (1993) and Fortunato (1981) believed that singing is a skill that can be

taught. Fortunate said:

if a child does not walk on his first birthday, we don't immediately assume
that he is not "inclined to walking" and give him up as an ambulatory
failure... we realize our responsibility to provide increased exposure
(practice) and encouragement (motivation) and assistance (teaching).
(1981, p. 143)

The church choir movement blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s, nourished by

Helen Kemp, Choristers Guild (Farrior, 1993, p. 118), and choir directors who attempted

to teach children the joy of singing. Kemp's work, begun in the 1950s, became the model

for church musicians who worked with children's choirs (Farrior, 1993, p. 127).

While church choirs were growing during the early 1960s, the incidence of singing

in school began to decline (Rao, 1993a); this trend continues today (Lyon, 1993). Diaz

(1980) found that a fifty year span of music series published in the United States showed,

among other things, less emphasis on part singing. Growman (cited in Runfola and

Rutkowski, 1992, p. 696), in her study of an 80 year span of basic music series, agreed.

Phillips (1993) attributed this decline partially to the lack of singing instruction in music

texts, but other factors may also contribute to the minimal singing opportunities. School

music programs have broadened to include a wide range of activities (Harris, 1985/1986),

all of which take time away from singing. While the first Content Standard of the National

Standards for music education calls for "singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire










of music" for all grade levels, subsequent standards urge students to perform on

instruments; improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments; compose and arrange

music; read and notate music; and listen, analyze and describe music (MENC, 1994).

Singing and music reading are no longer emphasized, thus the need, once again, for

community choirs where children can learn to sing.

Some schools excluded arts programs, including music, from their curriculum as a

result of the 1970s "back-to-basics" movement, or as a result of funding cuts. Lack of

budget support resulted in less time for music in the school and music teachers began to

encounter difficulties in scheduling children's choirs during the school day (Rao, 1989).

Children's community choirs began to develop in the 1970s (Farrior, 1993, p. 122).

Declines in school budget and time allocations (Jensen, 1995) have led to increasing

interest and growth in community-based children's choirs. Children's choirs are not

associated with any particular school, do not depend on the whim of a principal or school

board's budget, and fill the need for singing instruction. The greatest growth and

development of community-based children's choirs has been more noticeable since the

1970s (Farrior, 1993). These choirs show a break with traditional goals of singing

instruction since they are not organized to improve singing in the church or to lead in the

worship service.

By 1983, the new concept of children's choirs was born (Rao, 1993a). These

choirs may have the benefits of being "a musical outlet for talented children, an important

addition to the musical and cultural life of our community, and, perhaps, a viable










replacement for the nearly non-existent choral singing programs in the public schools"

(Paulin, 1989).

With the growth of community choirs, a division of objectives has evolved, with

the schools educating for the consumption of the arts and the community-based programs

encouraging arts participation (Rao, 1989). Sinor (1997) worried that private performing

groups might "appear to relieve the public schools of responsibility for and cost of

providing appropriate music education." She speculated that a new elite based on

motivation and ambition, not, as had previously been the case, on financial means, might

come into being.

Since 1980, there has been a "children's choir explosion" as many new school and

community choirs have been organized (Campbell & Scott-Kassner, 1995, p. 153; Farrior,

1993, p. 124). Articles, books, clinics and workshops give advice to directors and

organizers who attempt to either fill in the void created by deleting school music programs

or to supplement the public school programs. Samuel Adler suggested that:

the expanding children's chorus movement is, to this composer at least, a
crucial development in an often discouraging musical scene and music
educational morass. I feel children can do anything as well as, if not better
than, adults, and the lasting musical effect is truly lifelong. (Adler, 1993)



Vocal Philosophies

Mursell and Glenn (1931, p. 278-279) made the point that "There are few fields of

work in music where one finds a greater profusion of impossible ideas, or wilder clouds of

mythology. The judgements of experts on points connected with vocal performance are










most extraordinarily varied and unreliable." But in spite of the many different points of

view, there were some areas of agreement. Among these were the concepts that good

techniques for children were also good ideas for adults, and that vocal training for boys

was no different than it was for girls. Age and gender did not make a difference in the

selection of method (Clippinger, 1929, p. 5; Crocker, 1978, p. 5; Ross, 1959, p. 181F;

Wilcox, 1935, p. 52, 57).

Authors also agreed that, while the technique may be unchanged, the amount of

work and the extent of knowledge that a child is capable of absorbing are not as great as

an adult's (Fields, 1947, p. 23; Phillips, 1985b; Ross, 1959, p. 181F; Weis, 1936, p. 3;

Wilcox, 1935, p. 52). In 1919, Giddings wrote:

the voice training necessary in the public schools is very simple and easy if
done in the right way. There is little training to be done except to see that
each child sings in an easy compass and does not strain his voice. (p. 181)

Field-Hyde (1947, p. 131) stated that "Something can be done with quite young

children, but it will hardly take the form of systematic study. Rather it will be in the

direction of restraining too exuberant energy." He went on to say that "More definite

training, ifjudiciously carried out, may begin at the age of eight or nine" (p. 132).

Ingram (1959, p. 82) generally agreed with this age range, recommending the age

of nine years for beginning voice training, although Gehrkens (1934, p. 89) believed that

"kindergarten and first grade or whenever the child first begins to sing" is the time to

"set up ideals of tonal beauty and habits of singing." Swears (1985, p. 8) gave directions

for developing the voices of six to eight year olds, including breath support and tone

production. Campbell and Scott-Kassner (1995, p. 127) agreed that "vocal technique can








28
be taught from the earliest songs by the knowledgeable teacher" and went on to state that

"children's voices can be greatly enhanced through training" (p. 131), although they

believed that private studio voice lessons are best left until young adulthood or later, when

the vocal mechanism has fully matured.

Ross (1959, p. 181G) placed the age for beginning vocal training a little later at

about ten years old and said that "children should be taught in classes." They should be

taught "normal quality, a singing diction, how to sing in the high and low voice, and how

to breathe for singing."

Ross did not suggest that children's voices are different from the adult voice in any

respect but immaturity. Since vocal methods apply equally to either gender or any age,

"how-to" articles and books written for adults, as well as those written for teachers of

young children, were used for this study.

There appear to be many schools of thought concerning the best way to teach a

student how to sing. Ross (1959, p. 26) listed 14 different "schools of teaching singing"

and stated that the list may not be complete. He described them as follows:

1. Bel Canto--"based on vocalization, registration, and vowel purity"

2. Emotional--"singing should be something you feel, rather than something you

do, and not a science"

3. Interpretative--"interpret everything you sing, even exercises"

4. Natural--"leave the singing instrument alone"

5. Psychological--"the mind sings, not the voice"

6. Resonance--"voice is resonance and nothing more"










7. Speech--"singing is speech which is prolonged and intensified"

8. Organic Co-ordination--"singing is the end product of the processes of

breathing, phonation, articulation and resonation"

9. Local Effort--"by controlling the bodily processes, one controls the voice"

10. Modem Scientific--"only science will teach you how to be a good singer....

vocal training should be considered as a special outgrowth of its parent sciences,

physiology and acoustics"

11. Phonetic placement--"vowel sounds should control the voice"

12. Psycho-Physiological Acoustical--"singing is a physical skill that requires a

definite procedure for technical development, and is psychological to such a high degree

that what the singer thinks and how he feels may unconsciously be reflected in the color of

his voice"

13. Register--"bridging the registers is an important and delicate process"

14. Respiration--"he who knows how to breathe knows how to sing" (Ross, 1959,

p. 26-27)

Many authors, while advocating one of the above methods or another not listed,

allowed elements of other philosophies to creep in. Clippinger (1929, p. 5-6) wrote that

"Like everything else tone exists first as idea," which is aligned with the psychological

approach, but went on to state that '"Every beautiful tone is scientifically produced,"

which the scientific philosophy advocates.

A variety of philosophies are found in Mursell and Glenn (1931). They stated that

"the application of science to the problems of vocal work. . is particularly valuable" (p.










278), that "the only essential difference between the use of the voice in speech and in

song is the introduction of definite pitch steps" (p. 279), and that interpretation is a vital

necessity in singing. "Greatness in a singer does not turn on the ability to do tricks with

the voice, but on the ability to express music with the voice "(p. 280). In the gendered

language of their day, they went on to stress that "we must give the child something to

express in his singing, and help him to express it. This is the foundation of vocal

education" (p. 282).

While Christy (1970, p. 3) primarily believed in the song approach, he also stated

that "singing is just as natural as speaking and, actually, is primarily elongation of the

vowels and extension of the pitch inflections commonly heard in the speaking voice,"

which is a tenet of the speech method.

Nordholm (1966, p. 17), Street (1927, p. 9), Bairstow and Greene (1946, p. 10),

Westerman (1947, p. 9) and Weis (1936) suggested that the beginnings of singing are in

speech. Weis said that "boys and girls learn to sustain the voice, thus producing the

singing tone. This leads to melodic production which is a more unusual form of expression

than the speech sounds of our language" (p. 5). Street (1927, p. 9) defined singing as

"The Artistic Intensification of Speech," and said that we accomplish it by changing the

power, pitch and duration of the syllables. Those who are studying singing are learning to

speak "higher, louder and longer" (Street, 1927, p. 11). Miller (1996) agreed that the

same functions of "vowel definition, consonant formation, and general language

perception" (p. 51) are needed in both speech and singing, but he went on to say that "the

requirements for singing far exceed the demands of speech" (p. 51), the major difference










being "temporal" (p. 52). Speech produces sounds much more rapidly than singing, and

the singer must pay close attention to "vowel definition" (p. 52).

"If children heard as much singing as talking" they would learn to sing "as easily

and naturally" as they learned to speak (Coleman, 1922, p. 100). Coleman went on to say

that a child's singing instruction can begin the day of birth by listening to family members

sing naturally and spontaneously. He believed that children learn to sing by imitation and

that a child who hears singing "habitually in his home, stands a fair chance of being able to

sing very early in his life" (Coleman, 1922, p. 100).

Wilcox (1935, p. 19) was a proponent of the organic co-ordination approach to

tone production, although the psychological approach is evident in his writing. "Voice

training, therefore, must usually concern itself in the beginning stages quite as much with

inhibiting the activity of interfering muscles as with co-ordinating and developing the

muscles which properly function in the human sound-producing mechanism." Before

singing, the singer must first think of the tone and allow the vocal mechanism to

"automatically come into normal coordination."

The psychological approach to singing attracted attention from Erman (1981, p.

50), who made the observation that the "careless negative comments" of teachers, parents

and acquaintances may contribute to the reluctance to sing, or to learn to sing. The

singer's mind is distracted and complete attention to singing is difficult. Concentration,

early training and an abundance of praise and encouragement can help to overcome these

obstacles.










Ingram (1959, p. 91) stated that there is a "twofold approach" to good

interpretation. She believed that it takes both mental and physical responses to present a

song correctly. "One the one hand...is the intellectual approach. We must understand the

text, the idea, the mood, and the spirit of the song... The second approach is the physical,

or rhythmic, response which children often feel instinctively."

A vocal method which dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries is "bel canto." It

reputedly produced voices of "great limpidity, extremely wide range, amazing flexibility

and beautiful quality" (Reid, 1950, p. 10) and sacrificed "every other consideration in the

interest of tonal beauty" (Reid, 1950, p. 19). This Italian method was based on instruction

in the rudiments of music notation, voice production and management, theory,

composition, correct pronunciation of vowels, interpretation and intonation (Reid, 1950,

p. 34-41).

Fields (1947, p. 328) surveyed 714 publications for opinions on the teaching of

singing. He used a wide variety of sources, including Good Housekeeping and Etude

magazines and "scientific papers and experimental reports" produced by "authors,

teachers, scientists and singers" (p. 266). While it is difficult to determine how many

vocal approaches he has documented, it is quickly apparent that there are many different

ideas about how to teach singing.

Even a cursory survey of literature on the subject reveals astonishing
inconsistencies and conflicts of pedagogical opinion. From a general
viewpoint, this diversity of opinion apparently arises from the fact that a
multiplicity of specific teaching procedures is being developed by individual
teachers without reference to the broader pedagogical principles underlying
them. (Fields, 1947, p. 3)










A method that is not widely advocated in current children's voice training

literature is what Phillips termed the '"formal approach" (1984, p. 11). In this method, the

voice teacher seeks to cure or correct specific vocal problems through the use of vocal

exercises. Christiansen (1932, p. 61) wrote that the development of "large lung capacity"

and breath control "is the principal work of the singer." Christiansen included a series of

exercises in his book that "are primarily for note-reading and tone-hitting" and "are

calculated to develop breath control and lung capacity" (p. 65).

Erman (1981, p. 53) agreed that exercises are valuable in "preventing or

eliminating faulty vocal techniques." She went on to caution that the drill patterns must be

varied and "creatively evolving" to sustain interest and motivation.

One method which currently finds wide acceptance, is the "song method."

Although Fields (1947, p. 66) devoted only a minimum amount of space to this approach,

and Ross (1959, p. 26) omitted it from his list of 14, other authors recommended it.

Christy (1970) discussed this approach by name, defined it, and gave reasons for its use:

The student starts singing songs immediately, endeavoring with the help
and guidance of the instructor to interpret each song as meaningfully as
possible under limitations of technic that then pertain... Experience has
demonstrated conclusively that the Song Approach, with emphasis
primarily on expression, is not only the most interesting to students but also
generates an enthusiasm and stimulus that result in an even more rapid gain
in technic. (Christy, 1970, p. viii)


Mursell advocated the use of the song approach:

Teach the whole song... Remember always that the song itself is the
thing. ... The time for analysis, for calling attention to this or that specific
detail or aspect of the music or the performance, is after the children have
become able to sing the song, and not before. (Mursell, 1951, p. 192-193)










Swanson also believed in the song approach:

The experiences and songs in this chapter center on singing as an activity in
itself. The related instructional objectives and listing of behaviors are
designed to be continual reminders that in an educational setting you must
point toward instructional goals, be they attitudes, increased awareness of
the expressive factors in music and the ability to respond to them, or
singing skills. (Swanson, 1981, p. 225)

Phillips (1985b, 1993), while not advocating the abandonment of the song

approach, believed that it needed to be used with caution. To teach singing by the sole use

of songs, neglecting the specific teaching of vocal techniques, is a dangerous business, he

believed. Children need to learn "good singing habits that will carry over from song to

song" (Phillips, 1985b). He went on to state that "care should be taken to avoid a return

to the days of vocal drill. Children must have time to react musically in the classroom, but

they must also be allowed time to develop the skills needed to perform musically"

(Phillips, 1985b).

Campbell and Scott-Kassner (1995, p. 131) stated that the "astute teacher" can

accelerate the development of children's voices by the knowledgeable use of songs, games

and drills. Ingram (1959, p. 87) discussed vocal exercises and the results that can be

obtained through them and stated that "exercises can be made from any sound, any word

which causes difficulty" (p. 88).

Bartle (1988, p. 7) believed that repertoire is inseparably linked to vocal

development. "Good repertoire enhances and develops a beautiful tone quality. Bad

repertoire undermines choral development." She went on to say that "many new skills

must be learned, and older skills reinforced, as the children learn new repertoire" (p. 26).








35

Kemp (H. Kemp, workshop, February 6, 1999; 1989, p. 28) was in agreement with

the mixture of song and formal approaches. She suggested a variety of mental images,

physical response and vocalises in conjunction with songs as techniques for teaching a

choir to sing. Stollak and Alexander (1998) agreed, stating that children can be helped to

understand the abstract concepts necessary for a good sound by the use of metaphor,

analogy, and simile.

Repertoire and techniques are of little use, however, unless the director has an idea

of the desired vocal tone. Before trying to teach a child how to sing, the teacher must first

know what the end product should be (Jacobs, 1942, p. 20, 27; Phillips, 1985b). "It would

appear that the first task of the director is to establish for himself a realistic mental concept

of the sound he wishes to hear from his children's choir" (Sample, 1966, p. 78). Unless the

conductor knows the desired sound, there is little chance of achieving it.

While directors may differ about the techniques they use to teach singing, they

agree that children can learn to sing. Age and gender are immaterial when it comes to

selecting a singing method, but the teacher must have the end product in the mind's ear

and both teacher and student must be willing to work toward that goal.



Head Voice versus Chest Voice

One concept of sound that is much discussed in the writing on children's singing is

the use of the "head voice." It is sometimes referred to as the "thin voice." Small (1998)

called it "a distinct and ethereal choral tone produced by children between the ages of

eight and fifteen," while Ingram (1959, p. 83) described the head voice as "a light,










floating, easily produced tone" and gave various techniques for cultivating that sound in

choirs. Newman (1995, p. 254) believed that a "teacher's object is to encourage young

singers to use the lighter head voice sound," later bringing that quality of sound down into

the range "between the head voice and the chest voice." He went on to suggest activities

that might accomplish that objective

Phillips (1985b) agreed that the lower, chest voice should only be used when the

upper voice is well established. He blamed the exclusive cultivation of the chest voice for a

rising percentage ofnonsingers, and a judicious use of both voices was recommended.

Weis (1936, p. 4) agreed that both voices should be used and that the head voice should

be developed first. Expert training is necessary for the use of the chest voice. Phillips

(1984) speculated that head voice singing must be taught, while singing in the chest voice

is a more natural occurrence.

Giddings (1919, p. 31) said that the two types of voices might be called the

"singing" and the "howling" registers. Children should be taught to sing softly, keeping the

song no lower than first line E, and a head voice will naturally result. Howard (1895, p.

46) agreed, stating that there are two principles of children's tonal production: "They must

sing softly" and "They must be restricted in compass of voice," as a result of which, the

chest voice "will never be heard" (p. 47).

Swears (1985, p. 62) believed that the head voice not only produces a "beautiful

sound but it also helps to extend the child's vocal range and to give greater flexibility to

the voice." The difference between head and chest voices is not merely one of range, she

stated, but also one of quality. The head voice is light and forward, while the chest voice










"may be heavy, dark or shouty" (p. 63). If the chest voice is extended into the upper

register, a definite, abrupt break in the voice may occur around the middle of the staff (A,

B, or C) as the child attempts to force the lower voice to sing higher notes. Bringing the

light quality of the head voice down into the lower range avoids the break, and the singing

will have a more consistent tone (p. 63).

Authors agreed that the head voice is the more desirable sound, and that children

should be allowed to sing in a chest voice only after the head voice has been mastered. A

head voice can be produced by singing softly and avoiding the lowest section of the treble

clef staff. This prevents the heavy, coarse sound heard by singers using a chest voice and

results in a lighter sound.



Range and Tessitura in Children's Songs

Perusal of children's music elementary textbooks from the earlier part of the 20th

Century (Giddings, Earhart, Baldwin and Newton, 1923; McConathy, Miessner, Birge and

Bray, 1944) shows a higher tessitura than is commonly found in contemporary textbooks

(Diaz, 1980). This finding corresponds with recommended song ranges of the same time

period. Hubbard (1908, p. 29) called for a range of first line E flat up to fourth space E

flat and Giddings (1919, p. 31) stated that "children of the kindergarten or first grade

should never sing below "E" (first line) or "F." They may safely sing to the "G" above

the staff." Gehrkens (1934, p. 93) agreed, saying that kindergarten children can sing songs

between first line E and fourth space E. As the child matures, the range broadens and, by

grade 5, has extended from first ledger line B to G above the treble staff He went on to










say that selecting songs with "a higher compass" will help those children whose "voice

production" may not be good (p. 94). Field-Hyde (1947, p. 136) believed that children

should generally not sing above treble clef top-line F, and that older children may easily

reach middle C and the A or B below that. Children should not be "made to sing notes

which they find difficult or tiring."

Mursell was among the first writers to suggest a change in the tessituras of

children's songs (Erman, 1981, p. 13). He stated that "the kind of high-pitched singing so

often required is not natural to them. Songs pitched too high tend to block just that kind

of spontaneous, expressive singing for which you should always aim" (Mursell, 1951, p.

187).

Newman (1995, p. 253) advocated a narrower range, stating that D to third line B

is the most comfortable range, only extending it from A below the staff to top line F for

upper grades. Campbell and Scott-Kassner (1995, p. 130) advocated a range that is

marginally wider: middle C to third space C for first grade, widening from G below the

treble staff to G above the staff for older elementary children.

Swears (1985, p. 162) advocated keeping the tessitura of music between middle C

and fourth line D, expanding it by one or two half-steps for "mature choruses." She went

on to state that "high f's and g's should be few and far between and sung on an open

vowel" (p. 163). Swanson (1981, p. 226) concurred, although she stated that four or five

tones centering around first line E are the first to be used by new singers.

Just exactly what needs to be done to teach children to sing well is a matter of on-

going conjecture and debate. As Street remarked, "we are still hunting for a universal way








39

of doing it easily and well" (1927, p. 10). Phillips (1992b, p. 570) agreed, observing that

there is no knowledge base that teachers can consult to know which techniques are useful.

No one method has proven to be the perfect technique of voice training, and the ideas and

techniques being used by current children's choir directors are the focus of a portion of

this study.



Related Research

Children's choirs may not exist solely for the purpose of performance (Mercer,

1972; Monk, 1987). Those directors who do not make opportunities to incorporate the

teaching of music concepts into the rehearsal miss the chance to influence the child's

future participation in, and appreciation of, music. Indeed, said Rao (1993a), "the value of

music performance in music education can be found beyond the concert stage in the

development of musicianship, the experience of enjoyment, and the psychological benefits

of self-esteem." Choirs that are considered to be of excellent quality often teach their

choristers to become all-round musicians, as well as good singers (O0eary, 1990).

According to Phillips (1988) "choral music education... is the whole process of

becoming a musically educated person."

Elliot (1993) agreed, claiming that astute listeners come from intelligent

performers. Merely listening to others perform will not aid in the development of

musicianship, for this can only be done by being involved in the music making. McRae

(1991, p. 35) stated that "choir experiences may be the only opportunity for musical

learning for some children."










In order to make the most of the learning experience, choral literature must be

carefully selected. In choosing music, not only must the musical elements of dynamics,

tempo, form and text be considered, but thought must be given to the skill level of the

choristers (Goetze, 1988). This may be one of the most difficult challenges that a director

faces: finding music and techniques that balance the needs of the next concert with the

objective of "developing thinking, feeling musicians" (Wis, 1998).

Rao (1993a) believed that there must be a balance between the challenges provided

by the literature the choir sings and the musical knowledge of the choir. By paying careful

attention to both sides of the equation, the choir can be moved to higher levels of both

performance and learning (Jensen, 1995; Goetze, 1988). This parallels the whole-language

theory which has been accepted in education, for knowledge and performance go hand-in-

hand.

Choral literature that meets the needs of children is sometimes obtained by

commissioning a work (Ferreira, 1993). Directors have found that commissions benefited

their students because the group not only received new music written with the specific

capabilities and needs of their choir, but the children "get in on the ground level of the

composing process, which helps them to understand the work and the creative thought

that go into the "ready-made" pieces they sing" (Nolan, 1995). Boonshaft (1996)

commissioned 27 compositions for his band and felt that it was "a great learning

experience for.., students." Many works and new commissions have recently been

written for children's choirs using texts from a wide variety of sources and with a variety

of voice parts (Smith, 1993).










A holistic approach to choral music teaches singers more than the notes on the

page. Children can be engaged in cognitive activities, in addition to the physical act of

singing, which enables them to solve musical problems and to understand a unique form of

meaning (Eisner, 1981; Elliot, 1993; Monk, 1987; Rao, 1993a; Roe, 1983, p. x; Sample,

1966, p. 75). As children decide appropriate instrumentation to fit the mood of a song,

compose descants, research the life of a composer, or adapt song texts, they gain a deeper

understanding of music.

It appears that teachers are endeavoring to teach more than just the physical act of

singing, for Stafford (1987) found that elementary school music teachers regarded "music

literacy" and "increased sensitivity to music" as among the most important outcomes of

vocal instruction. His respondents also said that teachers needed to know techniques

related to the production of good vocal sound, motivational techniques for singing and

how to assess their own singing instruction.



Vocises

Warm-up exercises and specific facets of the music under consideration are

included in this complete approach to choral music education. Rather than an abstract

exercise rushed through as quickly as possible so that the "real" rehearsing can begin,

vocalises should be used as a teaching tool (Brendell, 1997; Farrell, 1976, p. 110; Goetze,

1988; Jensen, 1995; Rao, 1993a; Robinson and Althouse, 1995; Whitten, 1996). Choral

learning is expedited by deriving the warm-ups from the music under consideration

(Coker, 1984; L. Gackle, workshop, February 2, 1997). "If 'drills' are to be used, let








42

them emerge from the songs" (Nordholm, 1966, p. 22). One of the techniques successfully

employed by the boy choirs studied by Farrell (1976, p. 156) was the use of "carefully and

sequentially developed" vocal exercises to develop vocal technique. Vocal warm-ups

"were seen as imperative to good vocal health."

Jean Ashworth Bartle, director of the Toronto Children's Chorus, agreed, stating

that her choirs begin every rehearsal with "exercises that develop the voice and ear." For

example, the children hum "major, minor, diminished and augmented triads in various

keys" (Shrock, 1990). She stated that vocal exercises "sung for their own sake... are

meaningless" and there needs to be a purpose to the warm-up (Bartle, 1988, p. 8).

Froelich (1979) found that neglecting particular aspects of a song, "such as pitch,

phrasing, rhythm, diction, or dynamics," all of which can be taught in vocalises, resulted in

groups that would not rate superior in singing performances. In his study of outstanding

children's choirs around the world, O'Leary (1990) found that the best choirs did not

necessarily have the most rehearsal time, but they made the most of the time that was

available. Using vocalises to work on choral problems enables directors to correct

difficulties and prepare the total child for singing.



Auditions

The question of whether or not to audition children is an area rife with

controversy. There are those who stated that children should not be auditioned, believing

that elementary age singing opportunities are developmental experiences (Haworth, 1992;

Swears, 1985, p. 17). Others believe that an auditioned choir gives the more advanced










singing student the opportunity to "experience a refined, higher-level choral program"

(Hollenberg, 1996). Bartle (1988, p. 110-112) believed in auditions, but looked for more

than vocal skills. In addition to singing, she had the child read poetry and answer

questions which required imaginative and thoughtful answers to gauge non-musical

qualities. This helped her assesses other areas, including physical health, social skills,

vocabulary level, organizational skills, ability to read language, and, of primary

importance, motivation.

Goetze (1988) also auditioned singers, but not for the purpose of elimination. She

believed choirs "should be available to all students who express an interest in singing,

regardless of their musical or vocal gifts," but only when you knew the abilities of the

choir could vocalises and literature be selected. In choosing material to use with the

singers, you can correct deficiencies and advance the skill level of the children.

Farrell (1976, p. 31) found, in his study of American boy choirs, that directors

looked at scholastic grades, previous musical experiences and musical aptitude when new

singers sought admission to the group. A "sense of individual musical responsibility" is "a

most important element in the success of the choir," according to Ortlip (1986), and can

be gauged at the time of the interview and audition.

Once a child has been accepted into a choir, placement in a junior, or training,

choir may be required. Some organizations use these choirs to give the beginning singer

the opportunity to develop vocal skills and assess the time and commitment that is

required of a member of the organization. It is both a learning and a trial period for both

the director and the singer.








44

Bartle (1988, p. 112) said that her new members, called "apprentices," are seated

beside an apprentice trainer for rehearsals and sing "as much of the 'home' concerts as

they can manage." She had a Training Chorus comprised of apprentices, children who

"have a lovely sound and excellent ears but not the skills to match" (Shrock, 1990).

Membership in either the Training Chorus or the Full Chorus "is based on skill

development rather than age" (Shrock, 1990).

While directors may or may not use auditions to eliminate children from the choir,

they can use them to assess other areas that are also important in a choir, such as maturity,

interest, and social skills. Information gained in this way is useful in planning repertoire

and concert schedules and in determining what vocal skills need to be taught.



Parents

Elementary age children commonly share the values of their parents (Swears,

1985, p. 16), thus making it crucial to secure and maintain the interest of all the parents

connected with a children's choral organization. Welles (1995a, p. 5) recognized the role

of parents, and says that these "dedicated individuals.. .help the Music Director take care

of all the details that are required for the chorus itself to function." This is especially true

in a new or small organization that does not have the funds to hire workers. But she was

careful to say that parents must always function under the guidance of the director (p. 6).

When possible candidates for the Board of Directors are discussed, she omitted parents

from her list of candidates (p. 8), although she later suggested "former chorus parents" as

potential Board members (1995a, p. 17.)










The Houston Children's Choir published a Parents' Handbook (1995-96) which

provided general information for both singers and parents. It stated that "Parents are not

permitted to attend any rehearsal. We also ask that parents not enter the rehearsal

building" except for certain specified activities. It also states that when parents are present

at any concerts, they "may not in any way interfere with the... staff."

The free labor available from the parents of singers can be invaluable. Volunteers

free the director from the endless details than can be involved in the administration of a

choir. Also, parents may posses skills and knowledge in areas such as law, finance or

advertising that the director does not have. Parents mustalways work under the leadership

of the director if the choir is to function smoothly and meet the goals that the conductor

has established.



Director Education

Phillips (1985b) said that many children "never learn to use their singing voices

confidently." This is not because the children are unable to learn to sing, but because they

are not taught to do so. He blamed some music education programs, saying that

undergraduates are not given the necessary training that will prepare them to teach

children to sing. This is especially true of those engaged in instrumental studies, for they

are often not required to study voice.

Music teachers who have had little, or no, vocal training, or whose training

focused on a mature voice that was capable of matching pitch and using a head voice,

may have a difficult time making the adjustment to immature voices with significant








46

problems. Ferreira (1993) concurred, stating that college students have the necessary skills

and the opportunity to do great choral literature, but they cannot always make the transfer

of what they know and have experienced when it comes to teaching children.

Phillips (1993) said that new teachers often have no idea what a child's singing

voice should sound like and do not know what to do to correct vocal problems. He called

on teacher training institutes to "do a better job of preparing teachers in this most

important area of child vocal production."



Summary_

With so many decisions to be made in the conducting and organizing of a

children's choir, directors and teachers needed additional resources to which they could

turn for help, and the ACDA National Committee on Children's Choirs was organized in

1979 (Rao, 1995). The first full meeting was at the 1981 ACDA National Convention in

New Orleans (Rao, 1989). The organizer of the committee, Doreen Rao, stated that the

main aim of the committee was to:

develop a national awareness of children's choirs: (a) as an instrument of
artistic excellence; (b) as a resource basic to music education; and (c) as a
means of reviving the joy of singing in American culture. (Rao, 1989)


Many community children's choirs currently exist across the United States, and the

work of these choirs and their directors has compelled publishers and composers to

improve the quality of the music they produce for these groups (Tagg, 1993). Books,










articles, workshops, festivals and research studies have expanded the knowledge base

available for directors (Tagg, 1993).

The work of children's directors appear to have long-term affect on the children in

their ensembles, for Long (cited in Humphreys, May and Nelson, 1992) found a significant

positive correlations between experiences in choral ensembles and an expressed preference

for "concert-type" music among elementary age students. Gawthrop (1997) concurred,

saying that involvement in the arts will create a life-long desire for artistic expression.

Children's choirs no longer exist solely to facilitate worship, but as a means of music

education and as a way to encourage aesthetic sensitivity in children.













CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY


Introduction

This study examined the community children's choir movement in Florida. Both

quantitative and qualitative methods were used to determine the extent of the movement

and the activities within that movement, since studies of this type should employ a

combination of survey, interview and concert attendance. This chapter includes

descriptions of the population selection process for this study, the instruments used to

gather data, and methods of data analyses.



Overview of the Study

The goal of this study was to expand our knowledge of community children's

choirs in the state of Florida. The methods of inquiry used to gather this information were

similar to those used by Bourne (1990): interviews with children's choir directors,

workshop attendance, questionnaires and concert attendance. While many children's

choirs exist in the state, including those in churches, schools and private organizations,

this study used only those choirs which met the following criteria: choirs of boys and girls

with unchanged voices, primarily aged eight through sixteen, whose membership is not

drawn from a single organization.












Determining the Population

The National Directory of Children's Choirs (ACDA, 1995) was consulted as an

initial source of information because it contained the names and addresses of 3,985

people (B. Tagg, personal communication, November 7,1995) who self-reported an

interest in children's choirs. The 'Children's Choir' section of the directory listed 91

addresses in Florida and 104 in Georgia, for a total of 195. Georgia was originally

included because it was feared that Florida might not have more than two or three choirs.

In June 1996, each of these 195 people received a questionnaire (Questionnaire

A) (see Appendix A) that asked if they directed a children's choir, for information about

similar choirs which they might know, and for the names of children's choir directors

whose work they admired. Each name in the returned instrument also received a copy of

Questionnaire A.

The questionnaires were mailed with a cover letter on University of Florida

stationery which explained the reason for the information request. A stamped, self-

addressed envelope was included. Approximately ten to fourteen days after the original

mailing, a reminder post card was mailed to nonrespondents. When a response still was

not received, they received a second letter and another copy of the questionnaire. If this

letter did not produce results, recipients received reminder telephone calls and e-mail

messages (Fowler, 1984, p. 54).

Informants were also asked about areas of concern for choirs in order that

information might be acquired which would aid in the development of Questionnaire B








50
(see Appendix B). The mailing of Questionnaire A ceased when the information received

was redundant. A total of 282 questionnaires was mailed. Eighteen were returned as

undeliverable, while 188 were completed and returned for a response rate of 67%. The

questionnaire revealed that seventeen choirs existed in Florida and Georgia was

eliminated from the study.



Director Contact

In January 1998, each of the seventeen directors received a letter which asked

them to participate in this study. This letter outlined the study and told the recipients what

would be expected of them and promised confidentiality. The letter contained a form

which the directors were requested to sign, stating that they consented to be a part of the

study. A stamped, self-addressed envelope was also enclosed in the letter. Several

attempts were made by telephone, postal cards and e-mail to contact those directors who

did not respond to the letter, requesting that they participate in the study. Responses to

that letter made it possible to determine that three choirs were not useable: one existed

only as a teaching laboratory for students at a large state university; one choir in a small

community had ceased to exist after one year; and one choir never formally came into

existence because the director had too many other commitments.

Of the fourteen remaining choirs, four directors did not respond to the request to

participate. Follow-up letters, reminder postcards, e-mail and telephone calls were all

used in an attempt to secure the participation of each director, but there was no response

from these four. Two other directors stated that their choirs no longer existed, principally










because the directors lacked enough time. Both directors stated that they hoped to

resume their choirs at a later date. Finally, one director declined to participate, citing too

many commitments. One director had temporarily discontinued his choir, citing other

commitments and health concerns, but asked to be included in the study. Seven choir

directors consented to participate in this study.

These seven directors received a questionnaire packet which included a cover

letter that told about the study, the purpose of the study, and how the information will be

used. Participants were guaranteed confidentiality, and any use of director's names would

be cited only with the written permission of the director. Instructions for completing the

packet, the questionnaire and a stamped, self-addressed envelope were included in the

packet (Smith, 1988, p. 229).

For those directors who did not return the questionnaire, a follow-up postal card

was used as a reminder. Telephone calls and e-mail messages were used to contact those

who still did not respond. Fuqua, Hartman and Brown (1982) state that follow-up contact

is useful in increasing response rates, although it is rare for more than three follow-ups to

be effective.



Developing the Instrument

A preliminary study (Questionnaire A) was created to find the choirs in Florida.

As part of this study, directors listed problems that they had encountered in their own

choirs. These concerns were compiled and similar comments were grouped under one

heading.








52

Questionnaire B used those areas which received the most comments. The areas

of choir organization, vocal training, vocalises, music education, race and gender, and

repertoire were also included because they were germane to community children's choirs.

The questions used by Farrell (1976) and Sewell (1990) were considered in the

construction of Questionnaire B. The length of their surveys, 115 and 150 questions

respectively, is approximately the same length as the 132 item document used in this

investigation.

Some of the areas Farrell (1976) included in his study were not included in this

research. Questions about the IQ, academic grades, and the previous musical experiences

of prospective singers were omitted, while the ethnicity and socio-economic status of

singers and the audition process were examined in both inquiries.

Farrell (1976) used a closed-form questionnaire with occasional open-form

questions, while Sewell (1990) asked his respondents to circle a letter which

approximated the answer. He occasionally departed from this format to ask for

information concerning academic grades or percentages of ethnic groups.

Like Farrell, Sewell also asked questions about academic grades and ethnicity. He

sought information about the use of vibrato in his singer's voices, as this study does.

Haworth's (1995) study used a questionnaire design which was apparently

difficult for her respondents to complete (J. Haworth, personal communication, January

26, 1999). Directions such as "If you teach 180 days a year, skip to 2c" (p. 198) seemed

to have confused her subjects, and, for that reason, this format was not used in this

study.








53
When Questionnaire B was completed, it was field tested by five teachers known

to the author. All of the teachers were currently directing children's choirs in their

elementary schools or in their community. Their opinions on the length of the instrument,

clarity of questions, and clearness of the instructions were solicited by using a form

similar to one found in Buck (1993, p. 178-179) (see Appendix B). Their comments were

considered when the final version was constructed. The teachers returned all of the

questionnaire critiques for a response rate of 100%.



Description of the Research Questions

Questionnaire A, used during the population discovery phase of this study, asked

respondents to identify areas of concern to them as directors. Respondents mentioned

twenty-eight different issues, with some areas listed on more than one questionnaire.

Similar comments were grouped under 14 different headings.

These problems and informal discussions with directors of the author's

acquaintance were used to determine the following research questions in this study:

1. The name and location of each choir

2. The vocal training philosophy of the director

3. How the director's practices support the vocal training philosophy

4. The use of vocalises

5. The use of auditions

6. The use of training choirs

7. The inclusion of a comprehensive music education










8. Concert repertoire

9. The role of parents

10. How the different races, religions, cultural and socio-economic groups of the

community at large are reflected in the choir membership

11. Funding

12. Scheduling

13. How and where directors are learning the skills needed to direct a children's

community choir

After field testing and revision, Questionnaire B contained 132 items. Those

questions addressing the same facet of the choir were grouped together under a

descriptive heading to help orient the thinking of the participants. Multiple choice or

check-list formats were used to make it easier for directors to complete the instrument.

Space was provided for writing alternate answers. "Why or why not?" items were left

blank for the directors to complete in their own words. These answers might provide

added insight into the checklist answers and possibly supply new and interesting

information.

Questions 119-124 asked for printed material which the director might use or

have prepared for various reasons. These items might give information about techniques,

repertoire and practices.

On the final page were questions 125-132. These asked for data about any

upcoming concerts and for information that would enable conductors to be contacted.










Questionnaire B, the final survey instrument, had both open- and closed-ended

format. The closed form questions gave the respondent several possible answers from

which to select the best response. The open-ended questions were based on the closed-

form items, and sought to clarify and amplify the information obtained from the

respondent (Farrell, 1967, p. 6).

Most of the questions were in the closed format. Self-administered questionnaires

frequently use closed questions since open-format items require constructing answers in

the respondent's own words. This may make the task difficult enough to affect response

rates. Inquiries which the respondent self-administers gave the individual time to research

the answers (Fowler, 1984, p. 64, 66), and thus may have rendered more valid

information. Items for which the respondent could not find a suitable category could be

answered as 'other,' and an explanation given.

The responses to the director's questionnaire were largely responsible for

determining the areas covered in personal interviews. The directors raised new areas of

interest or their answers revealed areas where additional information was needed, and this

material provided the basis for interview questions.



Surveying the Population

In February and March 1998, Questionnaire B was mailed to the directors who

consented to participate in the study. To secure the highest possible response rate,

reminder post cards, follow-up letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls were used. If

the participant did not answer the telephone, a message was left on the answer machine.










Weekly reminders were used to encourage completion of the final two outstanding

questionnaires. All questionnaires were received by early June 1998. One completed

questionnaire was returned by fax machine, five were mailed, and one was completed by

telephone interview since the director had recently had hand surgery. A response rate of

100% was achieved.



Concert Attendance

The author attended the concerts of four choirs to collect more data regarding

repertoire, vocal techniques and organization. These concerts proved valuable because

information and materials were obtained that were not considered in constructing the

questionnaire and personal contact was made with the directors. Concerts of the

remaining choirs were not attended because travel distances were great, the choir was no

longer in existence, or the director could not be contacted for a definite date and time of

the concert.

Attendance at concerts provided information about fund-raising, corporate

support, costumes, choreography, choir size, stage settings, and printed program eye

appeal. Handwritten notes were taken about the concerts, conversation with directors and

parents and the music.



Personal Contact

After the questionnaire was received and studied, five formal and informal

interviews were conducted in person, by telephone and by e-mail. These conversations










clarified answers on the questionnaire or explored new issues which the directors raised.

A printed copy of e-mail correspondence and handwritten notes of telephone

conversations were also kept. Interviews were structured individually for each director,

based on the returned questionnaire, but became less structured as subjects raised new

issues which needed to be explored (Merriam, 1988, p.73-74). Handwritten notes were

taken during and immediately after interviews. Two additional directors proved extremely

difficult to contact, in spite of many telephone calls, and the remaining director's material

did not need explanation.



Treatment of the Data

As the questionnaires were received, the data from closed-form questions were

written in the appropriate boxes on a chart (Merriam, 1991, p. 197). The answers to

open-form questions were placed into categories. As material was entered on the chart, it

was possible to see similarities and differences in the choirs. For example, the contrast in

the sizes of the choirs and the higher percentage of boys in most of the male-directed

choirs was obvious.

Data from interviews and concert attendance were also included on the chart. This

supplemented existing information or supplied material that was missing.

After this process was complete, the information was checked for mistakes and

reliability as follows:








58
Each item of the closed-form data was checked to ascertain that it had been

placed in the correct category. An observer selected random questionnaires and

verified the coding.

S Any discrepancies found were reexamined and corrected.













CHAPTER IV
RESULTS AND ANALYSES

Introduction

In this chapter, the results of this study are presented and discussed. Each choir

received a number to protect the confidentiality of the directors' information. Numbers

were assigned consecutively as the questionnaires were received.



Developing the Survey Instrument

Community children's choir directors in Florida and Georgia received a preliminary

questionnaire (Questionnaire A), asking for the names of choirs and directors and for

problem areas in their own choirs. The resulting difficulties were compiled and similar

comments were grouped under the same heading. There were fourteen different areas in

the 188 returned questionnaires.

'Funding' and 'Recruiting' received the most comments, 35 and 29 respectively,

with 'Commitment' (6), 'Parents' (5), 'Time' (4), and 'Organization' (3), garnering far

fewer statements. Eight headings received one comment each. The many comments about

'Funding' and 'Recruiting' may have been the result of the examples given in the stem

question of the questionnaire (see Figure 4-1).















Transportation

Programs |

Space

Accompanist

Auditions

Esprit de Corps |

Conmuity support |

Publicity

Organization

Time

Parents

Comnitment

Recuitig -*

Funding l

0 5 10 15 20 25
Number of Responses


30 35 40


Figure 4-1 AREAS OF CONCERN


Figure 4-1


AREAS OF CONCERN










The areas which appeared to be most problematic were considered when

Questionnaire B was formulated. Questions pertaining to choir organization, vocal

training, vocalises, music education, race and gender, and repertoire were added to the

survey because they were of interest and germane to the study.



Summary of Results

The Choirs

Florida's community children's choirs were spread throughout the state and

include the area in the far northwestern section of the state, the northeastern area, the

center of the state and on both coasts. Choirs I, 1, V, and VI were in the larger

metropolitan areas of the state, while choirs III, IV and VII were in smaller cities. Choir

III was in the smallest town of the choirs being studied.

Two of the choirs were directed by women, four by men, and one by a husband

and wife team, for a total of eight directors. Only the husband participated in the study,

reducing the number to seven.

Information on the returned questionnaires showed that four of the choirs were

relatively new, having been in existence for less than five years. Choirs I and VII were

somewhat older, being between six and ten years old. The oldest of the choirs, Choir V,

was the only choir which was not started by the current director, and was more than 21

years old. While 21 years seems to refute the idea that a children's community choir is a

relatively new idea, the long history of other kinds of singing groups makes this a

newcomer to the field of vocal music.








62
The conductor of Choir I stated in an interview that the group began because she

had worked with church children's choirs, and wanted to "expand her repertoire and

technique." She heard the Toronto Children's Choir at an ACDA convention and was

impressed by the "sound and musicality" of the group. The choir began with about 20

children and expanded to four choirs with a total enrollment of 116 singers.

Choir H was a smaller group, with all children singing in the same choir. It began

shortly after the director moved into the community and found that there was no

children's choir. He stated in an interview that he was motivated to begin the group

because children are not often give the opportunity to produce music of a high caliber, but

are constantly surrounded by the sounds of the popular culture. The group moved from a

church setting to a local university campus as the result of a conversation during a chance

encounter between the director and the chair of the department of music.

The Toronto Children's Chorus was indirectly responsible for the beginning of

Choir II. As the director wrote on his questionnaire, he felt that the school music

program was inadequate, and that "talent existed in community and I wanted to prove it!"

He elaborated on this answer in an interview, when he recounted how he had spent several

days at a Toronto Children's Choir Camp and became acquainted with the staff Two

years later he was talking with the artistic director of the Toronto Choir, who spoke about

the problems she was having with transportation for an upcoming tour. The director

helped with the bus problem in return for a concert in his city. He then had seven months

in which to make preparations for forming a choir in the wake of the excitement generated

by the singing of the Toronto Choir. The initial choir had thirty-five members.










The conductor of Choir IV answered on the questionnaire that she formed the

current choir because children requested it. The director also wanted to direct a choir that

sang sacred music and provided home-schooled children an opportunity for a large-group

music experience. Additional details were learned during an interview with the director

when she told about the girl's choir which had existed several years previously, but had

been disbanded. The director called singers who had been members of the girl's choir and

were under the age of sixteen, put an advertisement in the newspaper and asked parents to

pass out flyers announcing auditions for the group. A small amount of money remained in

the girl's choir bank account with which to purchase music for the new group.

The current director did not establish Choir V, but he stated that the group began

as an adult choir. The adults separated from the organization some time ago and formed

another choral society, leaving the original association to the children. This was the only

choir in this study which the founder did not lead.

Choir VI was conceived as a "children's show choir," as the director stated in

answer to an e-mail question. His reply on the questionnaire said that children and parents

requested that he form the group and that he wanted to work with a children's choir. A

publicity brochure from the choir stated that the director believed that "children could

achieve artistic excellence equal to adults" and that "this unique troupe provides the...

area with a professional ensemble of talented young performers."

The director of Choir VII wrote on the questionnaire that a request from the local

symphony orchestra for a children's choir to sing in the Christmas concert was the








64

beginning of his group. Seven years later, the choir had grown to include four choirs and

200 children.

Each of these choirs began under different circumstances, and has developed its

own personality which meets the needs of singers, directors and communities. All of them,

however, continue in existence to give children expanded artistic opportunities.



The Directors

According to information supplied by the respondents on the questionnaires, each

director participating in this study had a baccalaureate degree in some area of music. Five

directors had a master's degree, one had an education specialist degree, and one a

doctorate.

The degrees encompassed several aspects of music, including two bachelor's and

one master's degree in music education; one bachelor's, one master's, and one doctorate

degree in piano performance; one bachelor's and one specialist degree in church music; a

master's degree in piano; a master's degree in composition; and both a bachelor's and two

master's degrees in voice. The performance area for three directors was voice, two were

piano, one was organ and one majored in composition.

For all but two of the directors, the current choir was the only community

children's choir they had directed. Two directors had led other children's choirs, one in

another state, and one that was the forerunner of the current choir. Both previous choirs

were conducted for less than five years.










Questions on the survey asked about undergraduate experiences in children's

choral music because it was assumed that every director would have earned a bachelor's

degree. Directors were not questioned about graduate study because it could not be

assumed that each director had gone beyond the undergraduate level. When asked which

experiences in undergraduate studies helped to prepare the director for this choir

experience, three either listed no experiences or said there was nothing which aided in

their children's choir experience. Two directors said that their own choral singing was

helpful in teaching their own choirs. Only one director cited undergraduate theory,

conducting and music education courses as helpful in teaching children to sing. Since

instruction in children's voices is apparently limited in undergraduate studies, the question

as to where directors learn their skills arises. Directors said that trial and error,

workshops, professional journals, books, and conversations with colleagues were ways of

learning about the child voice. One director also listed the Choral Music Experience

Institute as helpful.

The seven "veteran director-founders who were personally interviewed" for

Sewell's study (1990, p. 67) "suggested" that careful training is necessary for directors of

boy choirs. He suggested that the ideal preparation would include, among other areas,

diction, protection of the vocal instrument and tone production. None of the directors in

the present study said that they had such formal training, although their own choral

experiences might have provided incidental knowledge. Lacking specific training that

would be helpful in conducting a children's choir, the participants have educated

themselves.










Because directors said they looked to professional journals as places where they

could find instruction in children's singing skills, they were asked about the journals to

which they subscribe. The most frequently listed journal, noted by six of the seven

directors, was The Choral Journal, a publication of the ACDA. Three respondents cited

the journals of the MENC and the Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA): Music

Educators Journal, Teaching Music and Florida Music Director. Two directors said they

read The Voice of Chorus America, published by Chorus America, while American Music

Teacher, a publication of the Music Teachers' National Association, and Anacrusis, the

journal of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, were each cited by one

conductor. Only one director listed Choristers Guild Letter, the publication written

especially for children's choirs, perhaps because Chorister's Guild was formed primarily

for church choirs.

Directors may read or consult journals to which they do not subscribe, so they

were asked which journals were the most helpful in addressing the problems encountered

in children's choirs. Three directors listed the Choral Journal. Chorus America and

Anacrusis were each cited by one director. Two directors said that no one journal was of

particular help, but occasional articles in any of the journals were useful.

Each director, when asked on the questionnaire what undergraduate experiences

would have been helpful to their current choir tasks, stated that they would like to have

had exposure to children's choirs, their vocal capabilities and the literature available for

children's choirs. They also listed observations, hands-on experiences, laboratory

experiences, interning with a children's choir, a master class with a choir director after a








67
concert, hearing a good children's choir, and vocal techniques for children as desirable for

undergraduate study. The director of Choir VI said that he would like to participate in

"workshops with [a] typical children's choir director."

To help in current and future directing tasks, three of the seven directors said they

would benefit from help with choral literature. They thought that a workshop or some

opportunity for a comprehensive study of repertoire was important. Also considered

helpful were choir management workshops, conducting workshops, clinicians to work

with and discuss the child's voice, and two directors thought a workshop by the Toronto

Children's Choir would be helpful.

Directors have apparently not received much undergraduate help in forming and

directing children's choirs. They must learn the skills they need through professional

literature, discussions and workshops.



Useful Resources

Each of the seven directors involved in this study tended to cite many of the same

authors, books and clinicians on the questionnaire. Doreen Rao, author of We Will Sing!

Choral Music Experience for Classroom Choirs (1993b) and the Choral Experience

Series-Education Through Artistry (1987), was cited by five directors. Four directors

mentioned Jean Ashworth Bartle of the Toronto Children's Choir and her book, Lifeline

for Children's Choirs (1988), as among the most helpful sources; and Helen Kemp, Of

Primary Importance (1989), was referred to by three directors. Others mentioned as

influential were as follows:










Linda Swears, Teaching the Elementary School Chorus (1985)

Nancy Poore Tufts, The Children's Choir (1965)

Susie Page

Henry Leck of the Indianapolis Children's Choir

The Choral Music Experience Institute workshops

Ann Small of the Stetson Children's Choir

Lynn Gackle of the Tampa Children's Choir

University of Florida International Voice Symposium

Anton Armstrong

ACDA conventions

Michael Houlahan and Philip Tacka, Sound Thinking (1990)

J. C. McKinney, Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults (1994), and

The Tapiola Children's Choir of Finland.

Absent from this list was the Choristers Guild, an organization formed to help

children's choir directors "develop their choirs both musically and spiritually" (Farrior,

1993, p. 118). The Guild publishes music for treble voices and a newsletter which is

designed to increase the skills and knowledge of conductors. It also holds choral festivals,

so it would seem that the organization would be visible enough for the participants in this

study to be aware of it, but the religious connotations of the organization may make the

leaders of these secular choirs want to avoid it.

Directors may not have received undergraduate training in children's voices, but

they have used many resources to learn the skills and knowledge they need to conduct










their choirs. Each of these participants has sought additional study beyond the

undergraduate degree, both in a formal academic setting and independently. Although four

directors pursued non-vocal performance areas, they chose to lead a choir. It would

appear that these choir directors welcome new challenges and seek the knowledge that

will enable them to be successful in their ventures.



Characteristics of Choir Membership

The sizes of the total choir organizations, as given on the questionnaires and in e-

mail messages, ranged from 30 to 200 children, with three choirs being in the 30-40

membership range. Choir II had 56 singers, Choir I had 116, Choir V had 140, and Choir

VII was the largest with 200 singers.

If a choir had more than one singing group within an organization, directors were

asked on the questionnaire for the number of boys and the number of girls in the most

advanced group. They were also asked for the number of children in several different

ethnic categories within that same group.

Only three choirs had more than one singing group within an organization: Choirs

I, V, and VII. Choir I had 36 in the Touring Choir, Choir V had 62 in the Advanced Choir

and Choir VII had 94 in the Concert Choir (see Figure 4-2).


































Figure 4-2


NUMBER OF SINGERS


Girls outnumbered boys in all of these choirs. The two women directors reported a

lower percentage of boys in their choirs, with 17% and 18%, while the men had greater

success in recruiting boys. Choir II had 21% boys, Choir VII had 27%, Choir VI had

34%, and Choir III had the highest percentage of boys with 47%. However, the lowest

percentage of boys, 10%, was found in Choir V, with a male director (see Figure 4-3).

This would seem to suggest that male directors are more successful at attracting boys.


Choir VII

Choir VI

ChoirV V

ChoiIV

Choir III

Choir HI

Choii ---- -

0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140















Choir VII

Choir VI

Choir V

Choir IV

Choir Il

Choir I

Choir I


~iz


liz


+ F


40 60


Figure 4-3


100


GENDER OF SINGERS


Several different ethnic backgrounds were represented in the choirs, with white,

black and Hispanic children being predominant. Questionnaire answers revealed that

Asian, Indian, Turkish, Filipino, and Haitian children also sang in these choirs, but in far

fewer numbers. Choir III had 14 Filipino children out of a total enrollment of 30 singers.

The director said in an interview that the Filipino community in his town was strong and

very supportive of the arts, many sending their children to a private denominational school

which was very arts-focused. The highest percentage of Hispanic singers was to be found

in the south Florida choir, but, considering the ethnic mix of this area of the state, this was

perhaps to be expected. The chorister most often seen in Florida community children's


*Girls
0 Boys








72

choirs was a white girl. A large majority of the singers in the boy choirs in Sewell's study

(1990, p. 279) were also Caucasian, and Farrell (1976, p. 24, 30) found the same

phenomenon in the boy choirs he studied, for 74.2% of the singers were Caucasian.

When asked if the directors intended for the membership of the choir to reflect the

race, socio-economic, income and ethnic diversity of the community, the directors of

Choirs I, V, VI, VII said "yes" on their questionnaires, with one director stating that the

choir "should be reflective of the community." The others replied "no," with a common

reason being that any singer was welcome to sing, regardless of characteristics. A director

stated in an interview that the membership was determined by the quality of the singing

and by who decided to audition. In no case was it felt that race or income were used to

eliminate a child. The most commonly stated reason for excluding children was an inability

to sing well.

Directors were also asked if they had tried to recruit children from the various.

races and income groups. One director stated in both interview and questionnaire response

that no special effort had been made to do so, the primary goal of the group being to

"provide children with artistic experiences through the performance of choral music;

whoever has come, has come." Another stated on the questionnaire that the choir was

"continually trying" to recruit membership which reflected the diversity of the community,

but had been unsuccessful. Three choirs reported on the questionnaire that lack of support

by the families, particularly low income parents, was the reason a more diverse

membership was difficult to recruit. One director cited the distance to rehearsals as a

barrier for some families and another maintained that tuition was too expensive.










Choir Organization

Questionnaire answers showed that four Florida community children's choirs were

organized so that all children sing in the same choir, while three choirs, I, V, and VII, had

more than one choir within the organization. Choir I had four choirs, Choir V had three,

and Choir VII had three choirs with an additional ensemble selected from the most

advanced group. The most advanced choirs in multi-choir organizations had the largest

membership.

Additional choirs give the directors the opportunity to more exactly suit the level

of the music to the ability of the singers. Those with less ability have the opportunity to

develop their skills and voices, while those who already know the basic techniques of

choral work can be challenged with more difficult music.

When interviewed, two directors whose organizations contain only one choir

spoke of such an opportunity for their singers. They realized the advantage this gave the

children, but had not established additional choirs because of time and space constraints.

The three choirs who had more than one ensemble in the organization were the

three oldest, with at least seven years of existence. If the other choirs continue to endure

and grow, they may also add training and preparatory choirs.

Singers in training choirs generally remained in that choir until they showed that

they could move to a higher level of music-making, perhaps one to two years. These

choirs also give children time to develop their voices, to become accustomed to singing

music of a different nature, and to singing for a longer period than they have possibly

encountered at school. This parallels what Fartell (1976, p. 30) found in his study of boy










choirs, where singers were encouraged to spend one year in a training period and to

"demonstrate the ability to move to a higher performance level."

In Choir V the director of the most advanced group also directed the training

groups, while in Choirs I and VII the training choirs were conducted by someone else. In

Choir I, information in the concert program showed that a public school or university

music teacher taught the training choirs, and the director of Choir VIL, which was headed

by a husband and wife team, stated in an interview that he conducted the most advanced

group while she was in charge of the training choirs.

Training choirs are valuable assets for any choral organization, for they provide

singers to fill openings in the more advanced choirs and they enable children to develop

vocal skills. Conductors of these choirs are usually not the founder of a multi-choir

organization, for he or she usually conducts the more advanced choir, leaving the teaching

of the most basic singing skills to someone else. The founder needs to carefully oversee

the training choirs, however, and be sure that skills are taught uniformly in all the choirs.



Stafing

Directors reported on their questionnaires that each choir had at least two people

on the staff. one director and one accompanist. Choir VI added a librarian for a total of

three. Choir V used a staff of four: a director, an assistant director and two accompanists,

while Choir VII had five on staff: two directors, a chorus manager, an accompanist and a

choreographer. The largest staff was that of Choir I with a total of nine: four directors

(one for each choir), four accompanists (one for each choir) and a vocal coach. The boy








75
choirs in Farrell's 1976 study had an average of "3.17 persons on their musical staffs" (p.

15).

Each of these additional people required money for salaries, supplies and expenses,

however, and, unless the funds can be secured through increased tuition or gifts, this may

make a larger staff prohibitive. Unpaid workers are always a possibility, but the quality of

work may not be what is desired and it is more difficult to dismiss the services of an eager

volunteer.

Only two choirs, III and IV, reported on their questionnaires that they used

student officers. These children were not in places of ongoing responsibility, but were

used to lead section rehearsals. The director of Choir IV said in an interview that the

recipients of student leadership awards were used as section leaders and these singers

were given partial scholarships.

Two directors who did not use student help said on the questionnaires that they

had not considered doing so, that the choirs worked well without student help or that

doing so was time-consuming. The conductor of Choir VI stated that student officers

were a possibility for future seasons. Community choirs, as with other musical

organizations, are places in which leadership skills can be cultivated, but it takes time and

effort to do so. A parent supervisor of student helpers might be one way in which

directors can develop skills without detracting from the prime mission of the conductor.

All staff members, whatever their status, are important, but one of the most crucial

appointments is the accompanist. A sensitive, responsible pianist is invaluable and can

make the difference in the success or failure of a choir, and, because good accompanists










are so valuable, the organization might consider paying the pianist if the director is

salaried. Sewell (1990, p. 141) found that 84% of the choirs in his study employed

accompanists, while only 22% of the conductors did their own accompanying, and said

that an accompanist is "critical to the existence of a new choir" (p. 140).

Directors should hire or recruit the best people possible for their choirs and expect

their best efforts. In return, workers should be "recognized for their huge contribution and

... thanked formally" (Bartle, 1988, pp. 195-198).



Director's Vocal Philosophies

Directors were asked on the questionnaire if they had a mental concept of the

sound that they wished the choir to make. The answer was "yes" in each case. As one

conductor commented, "How could you function without it?" Jean Ashworth Bartle of

the Toronto Children's Choir, believed that "the conductor must have in his/her mind the

ideal sound and the clear perception of the final product before starting to rehearse a

work" (Shrock, 1990). Judging the sound that the choir produces against the standard in

the director's mental ear was apparently the way in which the sound was evaluated.

The ideal sound for which these directors were listening was described in

interviews and on questionnaires in various ways: "clear, supported tone," "in tune,"

"warm, rounded tone," "vibrant, healthy, natural sound," "free head tone," "much head

voice." Four directors cited "round," "good," or "uniform" vowels as essential to an ideal

sound, the most frequently mentioned characteristic of a good choral sound, and three

directors stated that the ideal children's sound contains no vibrato.








77

Vibrato, they said on the questionnaires, can be allowed to develop with maturity,

an opinion which was agreed with by five of the six directors in Farrell's (1976, pp. 109,

155) study of boy choirs. Pre-puberty voices should be restricted in the amount of vibrato

heard, particularly if it is a problem.

According to information given on the questionnaire, five of the directors

considered that children's voices have two distinct registers: a head voice and a chest

voice. Ideally, no break occurs between the registers; only one equalized register can be

heard, particularly after training. Only one director thought of the singing voice as having

three registers (upper, middle and lower) and one considered the voice to be one equalized

register.

In Farrell's (1976, p. 108) study, the directors were divided in their opinions

regarding singing registers, as they were in this study. Of the six choirs used in his study,

"three directors recognized two distinct registers: the head and chest voice," and three

"reported three distinct registers; the head, middle and chest voice."

The most frequently mentioned method of teaching children to sing well was

modeling. All seven directors stated on the questionnaires that they show their children

how to sing by singing for them. They also used praise and had their choir listen to

recordings of other children's choirs that sang with the desired sound. Three conductors

stated that they use private meetings or private coaching with their children to help them

achieve the desired sound. One director said in an interview that she had the child listen to

a tape recording of his or her own singing and critique it. This enabled the child to have a










better idea of what he or she sounded like and how that differed from the desired sound,

thus making it easier and quicker to produce the sound the director was seeking.

One director stated that he had the children do vocal exercises in different

registers, identifying the sound and feel of each. This made it possible to discuss the

registers and request a particular sound needed for a specific musical selection.

When encouraging their singers to produce the desired sound, directors had

particular phrases which they had found to work. Among them were: "Don't sound like

kindergartners," "move the sound forward in your mouth," "energize," "sparkle," "float,"

"spin the sound," and "sing on the breath."

Every director answered "yes" when asked if posture and breathing were related,

which agreed with Chivington's statement that "once posture is in place, the children can

practice breathing" (1998). The reasoning was that "changing posture changes sound,"

that "proper alignment leads to better or more effective inhalation," or that "good posture

allows better breathing and an expanded rib cage." One director stated on the

questionnaire that "demonstrations made a believer out of him." Stufft (1998) concurred,

stating that "one of the most common problems with singing.., is poor posture" and that

"poor posture makes proper breathing difficult."

To achieve the desired posture, all the directors had developmental drills that they

used. These drills were used because, as one director said on the questionnaire, "they

work." Another director said that good posture was achieved through drills and through

"nagging and praising." He also used a general description of good posture. Bartle (1988,










p. 113) suggested that posture is one area that can be concentrated on during the warm-

up section of a rehearsal.

Along with drills and exercises designed to teach posture, breathing drills were

also used by each director. Directors used "a large variety" of exercises "to make children

aware of the importance of breath." One director used the exercises to "activate and

identify the muscles involved" in breathing and to "elongate breath for long phrases." A

director wrote on the questionnaire that he used breathing drills to "get the diaphragm

going," while another wanted to "help singers realize that they can sing longer phrases

with one breath" because, as a director said, "singers don't speak in long phrases."

As with posture and breathing, directors had procedures designed to build vocal

technique. Study of the music being rehearsed was possibly the favorite way, being

mentioned on the questionnaire by six of the directors. They rehearsed trouble spots in

isolation, taught the desired singing skills, and reassembled the composition.

These techniques were used "to plant the sound, and then get it into the

repertoire," or, as one director put it, because "it works." Directors also used this as a

time management system, since to base vocal exercises on a passage from the music

"accomplishes two tasks at once:" learning the music and building skills. Two directors

agreed that this technique "relates the technique to the music" and made a "more

immediate connection to why the technique is necessary in a particular piece."

All the directors used vocal warm-ups in rehearsal. These were used not only to

warm up the muscles used in singing, but to "prepare the voice and body for work." One

director said on the questionnaire that vocal warm-ups are "critical to build sound, tone










and technique." Three conductors used this time to "clear the mind of outside thoughts"

and to "get them thinking musically." Work on "range expansion" and the opportunity to

"focus students and train their ears for the sound we are seeking" were other reasons that

directors use vocal warm-ups.

As with the development of vocal technique, warm-up material was often

abstracted from problem areas in the music, an idea that Telfer agreed with (Brendell,

1997). She felt that "conductors should note what vocal challenges arise in the repertoire

and make sure they are covered very well in the warmups." One director said on the

questionnaire that he separated problems and worked on them during warm-ups because

"rehearsal goes smoother when rough spots have already been ironed out" and that it

"assists in memorization." Other directors liked working in this way because doing so

made the children aware of the problem and that "when problems are isolated, you can

better hear what's happening."

Directors also used the traditional vocal exercises, often in conjunction with the

problem area exercises. Gackle believed in using vocalises taken from the music, because

this "cuts down on teaching time." She also used warm-ups to teach technique (L. Gackle,

workshop, February 1, 1997), as did Kemp (H. Kemp, workshop, February 6, 1999).

Erman (1981, p. 53) wrote that vocal exercises can be a valuable part of the singer's

routine and can be used to eliminate or prevent problems.

One director stated that "most problems are fixed in the context in which they

occur," rather than in vocalises. Christy (1965, p. viii) called this the "Song Approach,"

and said that "experience has demonstrated conclusively that the Song Approach, with










emphasis primarily on expression, is not only the most interesting to students but also

generates an enthusiasm and stimulus that result in an even more rapid gain in technic."

Farrell (1976, p. 155) found that boy choir directors used the music being studied for

"teaching and developing articulation."

Only two directors stated on their questionnaires that they did not isolate problems

in the musical score and fix them during the warm-up. One stated that "vocal warm-ups

are for exploration while 'work' is for rehearsal." Phillips (1985b, 1993) called this the

Formal Approach to singing and believed (1985b) that "the inherent danger" in the song

approach was that "it is doubtful that the skill of singing will be taught."

During the warm-up, directors most often worked on rhythm and melody. One

used this opportunity to work on diction and placement of the tone in the head voice,

while another taught vowel formation. Directors used the warm-up portion of the

rehearsal to accomplish a variety of tasks that resulted in a better sound.



Auditions

The question of auditions was not controversial among these seven community

choir directors. Each one auditioned singers for their choirs in a variety of ways, which

was identical to Farrell's (1976, p. 52) finding in his study of American boy choirs where

each group mandated a vocal audition in addition to other requirements. Sewell (1990, p.

203) reported that all thirty-two responding directors "affirmed that admission into their

boychoir organizations is regulated by a pre-entrance audition process."










No director admitted singers who could not match pitch. Among the audition

techniques was singing a round, used by one director, and solo singing, used by six of the

directors. One director stated that, while his prospective singers were auditioned, it was

not an exacting test. He planned to more closely test the children when his organization

became large enough to support two choirs. All directors were concerned about the

child's desire to sing in the choir, and considered that aspiration during the audition.

Directors also weighed tonal strength, vocal timbre, and the ability to match pitch patterns

when assessing a child's ability to sing in the choir. One director listened for the ability to

hold a part and another considered self-reliance during the audition. How a singer's voice

would blend with other voices in the ensemble was also a consideration during auditions.

Sewell (1990, p. 209) who advised that those conducting auditions should listen

for "potential, not [the] finished product." This agreed with another participant in

Sewell's investigation (p. 209) who said that he preferred an "eight year old who has had

NO previous training. If he can match notes, he goes into my cadet/training choir."

The value of training choirs came sharply into focus when auditions were

discussed. None of the directors involved in this study accepted children who could not

match pitch, and yet there were children who want very badly to sing but cannot meet the

standard set for entrance into one of these community choirs. The goal of beautiful music

that these directors have set for themselves and their choirs is exceedingly laudable, and it

is all but impossible to achieve with even one or two voices marring the sound. Not to

help a child who is willing to be helped, though, is not in the best interests of the child or

of music, and it is in this area that training choirs and vocal coaches are invaluable.








83

The director of Choir II stated during a conversation that Jean Ashworth Bartle's

staff, of the Toronto Children's Choir, met with parents during the child's audition. The

staff sought to be sure the parents understood the commitment of time and money that

would be required of a chorister and his or her family. This director seemed to feel that

this parent "audition" would at least partially solve the problem of parents who did not

always bring their children to rehearsal and concerts.

Rather than using a panel of judges to evaluate the auditions, each of the seven

directors relied on his or her own judgment. This made it easier to conduct auditions

because several people did not have to be assembled, and it was less threatening for the

child who did not have to sing in front of a group.

A variety of reasons were given when directors were asked on the questionnaire

why they did not admit singers who could not match pitch. The largest choir had too many

singers apply who could match pitch and it did not have room for others. One choir gave

poor singers a trial period and private lessons, while another encouraged those who could

not match pitch to study and re-audition. As one director stated on the questionnaire and

in an interview, experience at this level is "for kids who can match pitch," and to use poor

singers "compromises the integrity of the goals and objectives" of the choir. Hollenberg

(1996) feels that, while an auditioned children's choir should remain flexible and lenient,

"students with musical ability should be able to experience a refined, higher-level choral

program without being held back by those who are not developmentally ready for such an

experience."










Since directors do not admit poor singers, they can spend their time refining the

sound, rather than teaching basic pitch matching skills. This allows them to focus on music

making.



Comprehensive Music Education

When asked on the questionnaire if they used the choral literature to teach music

concepts, every director answered "yes." They gave various reasons for this, including "it

exposes young people to literature and cultures," "it rounds the musical experience," and

establishes "a connection to the purpose it serves." One director stated that "It can

provide a wealth of information to teach style, concepts, theory, ear training and sight

singing."

Information from questionnaire responses showed that six directors found that

melody was the easiest concept to teach with the choral literature under study. Six

directors taught dynamics and rhythm, and five directors used the music being sung to

teach form and tempo. Four respondents taught style with the repertoire. In contrast,

harmony and texture (cited by three directors), style and tone color (two directors),

tempo, timbre, and form (one director each) were considered difficult to teach with the

choral literature being studied.

About half (three) of the directors stated that they did not look for choral literature

which will teach specific music concepts. When asked why they did not select music with

concept teaching in mind, one stated in the questionnaire response that "this is not how I

choose music." Another said that he selected music "for beauty (and) variety of










experience" rather than for the concepts that can be taught with it. A director who

selected music with teaching possibilities stated that "excellent music provides for musical

growth." Another director "looks for music suitable (in range) for my voices and then

uses it to teach specific concepts." Music is selected for its intrinsic beauty, not for the

concepts which can be taught with it, which is consistent with the mission of a group

organized to sing, as these choirs are.

Music concepts can be taught with activities other than singing, and directors were

asked about their use of such teaching strategies. Only two directors did not use these

alternate methods, stating on the questionnaire that doing so was "time consuming,"

"usually not necessary," and it was "not connected to the music." One who used such

activities did so "to increase musicianship."

The learning activities used to teach music concepts are varied and included such

things as moving, listening (six directors), singing (five directors), sight reading (three

directors), and playing instruments (two directors). Every director taught music reading

with the music the choir is performing because this "broadens the learning experience,"

and "meets the goals and objectives of the choir." Music reading has immediate benefits

to the organization since singers who can read music can learn parts faster and easier,

making a larger repertoire possible.



Reertoire

Repertoire seemed to present one of the biggest problems for directors. Three

respondents specifically stated on their questionnaires that they would welcome








86

workshops or study of available children's choir music. Various professional organizations

such as MENC, ACDA, and FMEA attempt to help directors in their search for music by

holding reading sessions during their conventions. The Choral Journal, published by

ACDA, reviews music and publishes an annotated list frequently, and music publishers are

usually pleased to add potential customers to their mailing lists. Conversations with fellow

directors are another way of searching out music, as is attendance at concerts.

Unfortunately, the perfect repertoire list does not exist, for each choir is different, its

needs and capabilities unique. Prospective directors must prepare to spend sufficient time

on literature research to ensure that the music selected for his or her choir meets all

requirements.

Most directors did not use a published repertoire list when selecting music. Only

two said that they used such a list. All directors looked for music in a variety of places,

such as recordings and clinicians' suggestions. Once a source has proven helpful in finding

music, directors returned to that source.

Just as directors sought literature that was suitable for teaching specific music

concepts, so some directors kept the diction and vocal problems of their group in mind

when they were buying music. Four directors said on their questionnaires that they looked

for music that would help them correct vocal and diction problems. It is "a teaching tool"

said one director, while another thought that "it gives members a sense of

accomplishment."

Correcting these problems was not always the prime consideration, however, for,

as three directors said, music is chosen because for its "intrinsic value" and problems are








87

corrected within the context of the music. The directors in Farrell's (1976, pp. 151, 157)

study also said that "personal preferences and audience appeal" were the "principal criteria

for the selection of music."

The vocal range of the music selected fell generally between middle C and fifth line

F. Three directors have considered music that goes as high as G or A, while one said on

his questionnaire that he liked to keep the music in the upper range, but had considered a

lower range if it fit the text.

Directors have sought music that is appropriate for their singers and has intrinsic

value. However, they have also commissioned new music, a practice advocated by

Boonshaft (1996) and practiced by "many choirs" in Rhoden's study (1971, p. 422). Four

of the seven directors stated that their groups had commissioned music, and they are not

alone. Ferreira (1993) noted that one trend in children's choral music is that "the need for

excellent choral repertoire by children's choirs has resulted in the.., publication of many

newly commissioned works."

The study participants plan to do so again, one stating that a new work is

commissioned "every season." In two choirs, the director did any necessary writing or

arranging.

Works which have been commissioned by the choirs involved in this study are:

Akakomborerwa-Lee Kesselman-4 part treble; percussion accompaniment; Boosey &
Hawkes, Inc.

The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus-Eric Whitacre--SATB and Children's choir;
chamber orchestra and piano accompaniment; unpublished manuscript available from
the composer.










Light A Candle John Purifoy, writing as Michael Andrews--2 part treble; piano
accompaniment; New Horizons Publishers.

A Psalm ofLife--Malcolm Daglish--3 part treble; hammered dulcimer accompaniment;
Plymouth Music Co.

Praise God--Budd Udell-2 part treble; French horn and piano accompaniment;
unpublished manuscript available from the composer.

Where Dwells the Soul of My Love-James Mulholland--3 part treble; keyboard and oboe
accompaniment; Plymouth Music Co.

Yo Le Canto Todo El Dia-David Bruner--2 part treble; piano and handclap
accompaniment; Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.


As O'Toole (1999) found, contemporary composers write for children's choirs,

and the music they have produced is diverse and challenging. Accompaniments used

instruments other than the traditional piano, and the voice parts vary (Smith, 1993),

which is consistent with the commissioned compositions in this study.

Choirs commissioned these works for various reasons: to honor a deceased

chorister, to contribute to children's choir literature, and to be part of the literature of an

ecumenical choral festival. Five of the directors plan to request new selections primarily

because their children get to meet the composer. They said on their questionnaires that

they appreciated the opportunity the children have to become "involved in the creative

process" and it was an "interesting, enriching experience." They also considered this a

means of providing quality literature for their choir and other choirs. When asked whom

they would consider when commissioning new music, a varied group of composers was

listed on the questionnaire. David Bruner, Rupert Lang, Andre Thomas, Anna Laura Page,

Ruth Watson Henderson, Budd Udell, and Rene Clausen were among those considered,








89

primarily because they "understand the child's voice." "Extremely artistic" and "beautiful,

interesting music" were also given as reasons for particular composers. Commissioning

and performing music which is aesthetically pleasing helps to introduce children to the

pleasure to be found in creating beauty, and contributes to the development of a lifelong

consumer of, and participant in, the arts.



Roles of Parents

Every choir contacted for this study used parents in volunteer positions.

This free labor was valued and used in a variety of ways: as music librarian, tour manager,

chaperones, uniform chairperson, costumers, fund raising chairperson, attendance

monitors, assistant director, and on the board of directors. None of these people were paid

for his or her work and directors reported in conversation and on the questionnaire that

this arrangement has worked out well.

Parents evidently have not presented problems for most of the choirs involved in

this study. Only one choir reported on the questionnaire that they had previously had

problems with parents in paid positions, although that choir, like the other six, used

parents as volunteers. During the author's attendance at a post-concert parent meeting of

Choir IV, six positions were filled with elected parent volunteers: president, vice-

president, secretary and librarian, treasurer, newsletter editor, and costumer.

Attempts to avoid difficulties have resulted in consent forms or waivers of liability

signed by parents. Choir I had a Chorister/Parent Agreement which both parents and

singers were required to sign. This form specified attendance and behavior requirements,










as well as a minimum number of volunteer hours required of the parents. All of the boy

choirs in Farrell's study required such forms before the boy could sing in the choir

(Farrell, 1976, p. 51).

Swears (1985, p. 16) stated that building a successful choral program needs good

parental support, and stressed keeping parents informed of goals and plans. She also

believed that parents need to be made aware of the teaching and learning opportunities

available to the members of the choir. One reason to recruit parents as volunteers is that

these people are more likely to be informed of the choir's objectives and opportunities as

they work with the staff of the organization.

Sewell (1990, p. 103) believed that parents "play a key role" in the building of a

boy choir program. He quoted one of his respondents who said "Parents can 'make' or

'break' an organization." Sewell went on to discuss the many ways in which parents can

become involved in the organization, including fund-raising, car pooling, chaperoning and

refreshments.

This study and others have shown that parents were involved in their children's

choirs. They fulfilled a variety of functions and assumed much of the work that needed to

be done, thereby permitting the director to concentrate on the musical goals of the choir's

mission.



Recruiting

One choir director stated on the questionnaire that recruiting new members was a

problem because "the community has other priorities" and "there are too many activities








91

for children." The other choir directors said that they had no trouble securing singers for

their organizations because they used a variety of methods to attract their members. Only

one choir conductor reported on the questionnaire that he had a waiting list, although that

did not mean that recruiting had ceased.

Every choir contacted used word of mouth, relying on singers and their families to

encourage others to join the choir, and the program of the choir was designed to be

attractive to children. Both classical and popular music was included in the repertoire so

that singing was appealing to prospective and current singers.

Local schools were places where new choir members might be found. Four choirs

reported on the questionnaire that they tried to attract singers from these areas, including

three choirs that sang in the local schools so that potential singers could see and hear them

and possibly want to join. Choirs also performed in other venues where potential members

could see and hear them.

It was interesting to note that only two of the seven participating choirs used the

local churches to recruit members. Most churches have choral programs and would seem

to be the ideal place where new singers might be secured. In many churches, children's

choirs are an integral part of the ministry of the church, forming a ready-made pool of

potential recruits. When an adult choir is the only choral organization within a church,

many members have children at home who might be interested in singing. These families

obviously understand the value and joy of singing, since they make the effort required for

their own choirs.




Full Text
152
102.If parents do not fill any positions, why not?
a. Lack of qualified parents
b. Parents are qualified, but will not serve
c. We have had problems in the past with parents on the staff
d. Other; please specify
L. RECRUITING MEMBERS
103. Is recruiting new members a problem for you?
Yes
No
104. Ifno to #103, why do you feel that it is NOT a problem? Please check all that
apply.
a. We have a waiting list
b. Our parents and members encourage others to join
c. We do extensive publicity in local media. Please check the type of publications
you use.
a. Newspaper
b. Billboards
c. Local magazines
d. Radio ads
e. TV ads
f. Posters
d. Our group performs in places where potential members see us and want to join
e. We have formed a network with local CHURCHES who send us singers
f. We have formed a network with local SCHOOLS who send us singers
g. We retain a large percentage of our members so that there are few openings for
new singers
h. We attempt to have an exciting program that will attract children
I. We sing a repertoire that includes both classical and popular music to make the
choir more exciting
j. We sing in the local schools so that children can see us and will want to join
105. Ifyes to #103, why do you feel that recruiting is a problem?
a. Our community has other priorities
b. We are a new choir and have not had much exposure to the community
c. We have a limited concert schedule and do not have much exposure to the
community
d. Our society does not encourage singing
e. Other; please specify


127
7. Was there enough room to write your answers?
yes no
8. What was your general reaction to filling out this questionnaire?
interested mildly interested a waste of time
9. Did the cover letter adequately explain the study and what you were expected to do?
yes somewhat no (please explain)
10.Approximately how many minutes did it take you to fill out this questionnaire?
11.Was the questionnaire eye-appealing?
Thank you for your assistance. Please return this critique with your questionnaire.
Name


173
Stollak, M. S. And Alexander, L. (1998). The use of analogy in the rehearsal. Music
Educators Journal, 84(6), 17-21.
Strauss, A. and Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research. Newbury Park, CA:
Sage Publications.
Street, G. H. (1927). Pure and easy tone production. New York: H. R. Elliot and Co.,
Inc.
Strunk, O. (1965). Source readings in music history: Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
New York: W. W. Norton and Company.
Stuff!, W. D. (1998). Hands-off approaches to teaching breath support. Teaching
Music, 5(6), 30-31, 48.
Swanson, B. R. (1981). Music in the education of children. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Publishing Company.
Swears, L. (1985). Teaching the elementary school chorus. West Nyack, NY: Parker
Publishing Company, Inc.
Tagg, B. (1993). Building the American children's choir tradition. Choral Journal,
55(8), 7-9.
Tufts, N.P. (Comp.) (1965). The childrens choir, Vol. 2. R.K. Jacobs (comp.) The
childrens choir, Vol. 1. Rock Island, IL: Augustana Press.
Van Camp, L. (1978). The way we were. Choristers Guild Letters, 29, 121-126.
Vennard, V. (1967). Singing: The mechanism and the technic. New York: Carl
Fischer, Inc.
Weis, E. H. F. (1936). Training the adolescent voice. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess
Publishing Company.
Welles, J. (1995a). Managing young choirs, Vol. 1. The board of directors. Deerfield,
IL: Managing Young Choirs.
Welles, J. (1995b). Managing young choirs, Vol. 2. Promoting and fund-raising.
Deerfirld, IL: Managing Young Choirs^
Westerman, K. N. (1947). Emergent voice. Ann Arbor, MI: Author.


UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
122
illege of Fine Arts
partment of Music
130 Music Building
PO Box 117900
Gainesville, FL 32611-7900
(352) 392-0223 Fax (352) 392-0461
Date
Name
Address
City, State
Dear :
I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida, studying community children's choirs
and areas of concern for directors of these choirs. For the purposes of my study, I am
defining community children's choirs as those choirs which are composed of both boys and
girls, and whose membership is drawn from an area at large, rather than exclusively from a
school, church or other formal organization.
A questionnaire which solicited information for this study was recently mailed to you.
Since it does not seem to have been returned, I am sending you a second copy because
your help would be greatly appreciated. Please fill out the enclosed questionnaire and
return it in the self-addressed envelope. Additional pages may be used, if necessary.
Your name will not be used without your prior permission. Should it prove essential to
quote you, you will be given the opportunity to review the material and be sure it is
accurate.
Thank you for any information you can provide.
Sincerely,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone number
E-mail address
Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Institution


31
being temporal (p. 52). Speech produces sounds much more rapidly than singing, and
the singer must pay close attention to vowel definition (p. 52).
If children heard as much singing as talking they would learn to sing as easily
and naturally as they learned to speak (Coleman, 1922, p. 100). Coleman went on to say
that a childs singing instruction can begin the day of birth by listening to family members
sing naturally and spontaneously. He believed that children learn to sing by imitation and
that a child who hears singing habitually in his home, stands a fair chance of being able to
sing very early in his life (Coleman, 1922, p. 100).
Wilcox (1935, p. 19) was a proponent of the organic co-ordination approach to
tone production, although the psychological approach is evident in his writing. Voice
training, therefore, must usually concern itself in the beginning stages quite as much with
inhibiting the activity of interfering muscles as with co-ordinating and developing the
muscles which properly function in the human sound-producing mechanism. Before
singing, the singer must first think of the tone and allow the vocal mechanism to
automatically come into normal coordination.
The psychological approach to singing attracted attention from Erman (1981, p.
50), who made the observation that the careless negative comments of teachers, parents
and acquaintances may contribute to the reluctance to sing, or to learn to sing. The
singers mind is distracted and complete attention to singing is difficult. Concentration,
early training and an abundance of praise and encouragement can help to overcome these
obstacles.


83
The director of Choir II stated during a conversation that Jean Ashworth Bartles
staff, of the Toronto Childrens Choir, met with parents during the childs audition. The
staff sought to be sure the parents understood the commitment of time and money that
would be required of a chorister and his or her family. This director seemed to feel that
this parent audition would at least partially solve the problem of parents who did not
always bring their children to rehearsal and concerts.
Rather than using a panel of judges to evaluate the auditions, each of the seven
directors relied on his or her own judgment. This made it easier to conduct auditions
because several people did not have to be assembled, and it was less threatening for the
child who did not have to sing in front of a group.
A variety of reasons were given when directors were asked on the questionnaire
why they did not admit singers who could not match pitch. The largest choir had too many
singers apply who could match pitch and it did not have room for others. One choir gave
poor singers a trial period and private lessons, while another encouraged those who could
not match pitch to study and re-audition. As one director stated on the questionnaire and
in an interview, experience at this level is Tor kids who can match pitch, and to use poor
singers compromises the integrity of the goals and objectives of the choir. Hollenberg
(1996) feels that, while an auditioned childrens choir should remain flexible and lenient,
students with musical ability should be able to experience a refined, higher-level choral
program without being held back by those who are not developmentally ready for such an
experience.


UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
133
liege of Fine Arts
partment of Music
130 Music Building
PO Box 117900
Gainesville, FL 32611-7900
(352) 392-0223 Fax (352) 392-0461
Date
Name
Address
City, State
Dear :
Thank you for agreeing to participate in a study which is designed to investigate the
community childrens choir in Florida. Your knowledge and experience will contribute a
great deal to the total picture of the work being done with childrens voices.
The enclosed questionnaire has been designed for obtaining the necessary data while
requiring a minimum of time for completion. Please check or fill in the appropriate
answers on the survey form. And additional comments you may have are welcome.
Please feel free to use the backs of the pages or use additional pages as needed.
Upon receipt of your questionnaire, your name will be separated from the questionnaire
and replaced with a code number to protect your privacy. There will be no references to
specific directors or choirs. Any responses which are cited in the study will be identified
solely by question number or a fictitious designation. Names and addresses are requested
on the questionnaire only for the purpose of following up on incomplete or unclear
information at a later date. You do not have to answer any question you do not wish to
answer.
Please return the questionnaire to me as soon as you are finished. A self-addressed
stamped envelope is included for your convenience. Thank you again for your assistance.
Sincerely,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone number
E-mail address
Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Institution


124
Directors of community childrens choirs have mentioned recruitment of singers and
funding as problem areas. As a director of community childrens choirs, what are the
areas which cause concern for you? If you have found full or partial solutions to these
problems, please include these, also.
If you know of any childrens community choirs, please provide the name of the choir, the
director, and, if possible, the address of the director.


52
Questionnaire B used those areas which received the most comments. The areas
of choir organization, vocal training, vocalises, music education, race and gender, and
repertoire were also included because they were germane to community childrens choirs.
The questions used by Farrell (1976) and Sewell (1990) were considered in the
construction of Questionnaire B. The length of their surveys, 115 and 150 questions
respectively, is approximately the same length as the 132 item document used in this
investigation.
Some of the areas Farrell (1976) included in his study were not included in this
research. Questions about the IQ, academic grades, and the previous musical experiences
of prospective singers were omitted, while the ethnicity and socio-economic status of
singers and the audition process were examined in both inquiries.
Farrell (1976) used a closed-form questionnaire with occasional open-form
questions, while Sewell (1990) asked his respondents to circle a letter which
approximated the answer. He occasionally departed from this format to ask for
information concerning academic grades or percentages of ethnic groups.
Like Farrell, Sewell also asked questions about academic grades and ethnicity. He
sought information about the use of vibrato in his singers voices, as this study does.
Haworths (1995) study used a questionnaire design which was apparently
difficult for her respondents to complete (J. Haworth, personal communication, January
26, 1999). Directions such as If you teach 180 days a year, skip to 2c (p. 198) seemed
to have confused her subjects, and, for that reason, this format was not used in this
study.


168
Hitchcock, H. W. (1988). Music in the United States: A historical introduction.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Hitchcock, H. W. (1969). Music in the United States: A historical introduction.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Hollenberg, J. (1996). Auditioning elementary choruses. Teaching Music, -/(l), 36-37.
Houlahan, M. and Tacka, P. (1990). Sound thinking. New York: Boosey & Hawkes.
Houston Childrens Chorus. (1995-1996). Parents handbook [Brochure]. Houston,
TX: Author.
Howard, F. E. (1895). The child-voice in singing. New York: The H. W. Gray Co.
Hubbard, W. L. (Ed). (1908). The American history and encyclopedia of music:
History of American music. New York: Irving Squire.
Humphreys, J. T., May, W. V., & Nelson, D. J. (1992). Research on music ensembles.
In R. Colwell (Ed.) Handbook of research on music teaching and learning (pp. 651-668).
New York: Schirmer Books.
Ingram, M. D. (1959). Organizing and directing childrens choirs. New York:
Abingdon Press.
Jacobs, R. K. (1942). The successful childrens choir. Chicago, IL: H. T. FitzSimons
Co., Inc.
Jensen, D. F. (1995). What would you tell a director? Choristers Guild Letters, 46(8),
4-7.
Kavanaugh, J. M. (1982). The development of vocal concepts in children: The
methodologies recommended in designated elementary music series (Doctoral dissertation,
North Texas State University, Denton, 1982). Dissertation Abstracts International, 43,
2270A.
Kemp, H. (1989). Of primary importance. Garland, TX: Choristers Guild.
Lindeman, C. A. (1997). Moving graveyards. Teaching Music, 4(6), 6-7.
Lyon, J. T. (1993). Teaching all students to sing on pitch. Music Educators Journal,
80(2), 20-22, 59.


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The American community children's choir is a relatively new phenomenon in the
long history of choral music. The community children's choir, comprising both boys and
girls, is unique in that it draws its membership from a broader constituency, rather than
from a single social, religious, or cultural organization. This type of organization is a
relatively recent addition to the previous choral organizations for children. Separate choirs
for boys and for girls have been in existence for centuries (Shaffer, 1992), and such choirs
have participated in both sacred and secular music in worship services and concerts.
These choirs have most commonly been church or school-based, rather then community-
based.
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of this study was to investigate facets of community childrens choirs
in the state of Florida. It gathered information on (1) the preparation and training of choir
directors, particularly in the areas of child voice training; (2) funding; (3) parental roles;
(4) concert repertoire; (5) the development of singing skills; (6) corporate choir
organization; (7) the general music education of the singers; (8) scheduling rehearsals and
1


110
Time
Much time is required from the adults involved in this endeavor, and this may be
the reason that all choirs do not succeed, or that more communities do not have a choir.
Bartle stressed this point by saying that directors cannot be nine to five, Monday to
Friday people (1988, p. 116). She went on to say Dont think youre going to have a
successful childrens choir without an extraordinary amount of dedication (1988, p. 116).
One of Sewells (1990, p. 139) respondents stated: Even the smallest boychoir will
become a full time job. Be prepared to work long hours for results.
Of the original 17 choirs which were found in Florida, one was never formally
constituted because the director found that she had too many other commitments, and
three others ceased to exist for the same reason. Nearly one quarter of the choirs no
longer functioned because of the enormous amount of time that was required to do all that
was needed by a developing organization. One director stated in an interview that she
feared her choir was suffering because she could not devote more time to it. She was
trying to persuade her board of directors to increase her salary so that she could stop some
of the outside activities in which she was engaged, and divide her time solely between the
choir and her teaching.
Directors, both present and potential, apparently greatly underestimate how much
time is required to direct a childrens choir. Choirs demand a great deal of time and
resources in recruiting, searching for literature, rehearsal, board meetings, auditions, and
concerts. While none of the directors interviewed spent a great deal of time or effort
advertising the choir before the inaugural rehearsal, they expended much energy to keep


67
concert, hearing a good childrens choir, and vocal techniques for children as desirable for
undergraduate study. The director of Choir VI said that he would like to participate in
workshops with [a] typical childrens choir director.
To help in current and future directing tasks, three of the seven directors said they
would benefit from help with choral literature. They thought that a workshop or some
opportunity for a comprehensive study of repertoire was important. Also considered
helpful were choir management workshops, conducting workshops, clinicians to work
with and discuss the childs voice, and two directors thought a workshop by the Toronto
Childrens Choir would be helpful.
Directors have apparently not received much undergraduate help in forming and
directing childrens choirs. They must learn the skills they need through professional
literature, discussions and workshops.
Useful Resources
Each of the seven directors involved in this study tended to cite many of the same
authors, books and clinicians on the questionnaire. Doreen Rao, author of We Will Sing!
Choral Music Experience for Classroom Choirs (1993b) and the Choral Experience
SeriesEducation Through Artistry (1987), was cited by five directors. Four directors
mentioned Jean Ashworth Bartle of the Toronto Childrens Choir and her book, Lifeline
for Childrens Choirs (1988), as among the most helpful sources; and Helen Kemp, Of
Primary Importance (1989), was referred to by three directors. Others mentioned as
influential were as follows:


13
vocally before becoming a member of the more advanced choir in the organization.
Vocalise is a melody sung on a vowel, often without text. Used to 'warm-up' the
vocal mechanism and prepare the body and mind for singing. These vocal exercises can be
used to prevent or correct poor vocal techniques (Erman, 1981, p. 53).
Vocal skills include the ability to sing
"independently
*with appropriate timbre, diction, posture and expression
*with accurate pitch and rhythm
*with good breath control
*with technical accuracy (MENC, 1994, p. 13, 17)
Community Childrens Choirs
According to the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) (National
Directory of Children's Choirs, 1995), many communities support children's choirs today.
These choirs may provide the systematic vocal training and exposure to choral literature
that the school music teacher may not have the time, expertise or funding to provide. One
community choir director cautions, however, that the community childrens choir, no
matter how good, IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR CHORAL SINGING IN THE
PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!! (Paulin, 1989).
Community children's choirs take music into a broader arena than the local church
or elementary school. The entire city provides both membership and audience. Children


61
The areas which appeared to be most problematic were considered when
Questionnaire B was formulated. Questions pertaining to choir organization, vocal
training, vocalises, music education, race and gender, and repertoire were added to the
survey because they were of interest and germane to the study.
Summary pf Results
The Choirs
Floridas community childrens choirs were spread throughout the state and
include the area in the far northwestern section of the state, the northeastern area, the
center of the state and on both coasts. Choirs I, II, V, and VI were in the larger
metropolitan areas of the state, while choirs III, IV and VII were in smaller cities. Choir
III was in the smallest town of the choirs being studied.
Two of the choirs were directed by women, four by men, and one by a husband
and wife team, for a total of eight directors. Only the husband participated in the study,
reducing the number to seven.
Information on the returned questionnaires showed that four of the choirs were
relatively new, having been in existence for less than five years. Choirs I and VII were
somewhat older, being between six and ten years old. The oldest of the choirs, Choir V,
was the only choir which was not started by the current director, and was more than 21
years old. While 21 years seems to refute the idea that a childrens community choir is a
relatively new idea, the long history of other kinds of singing groups makes this a
newcomer to the field of vocal music.


117
Music departments might consider scheduling concerts by childrens choirs. This
exposes the faculty and students to the kind of music making that young singers can do,
and may encourage a listener to begin a choir.
If music departments give their students the basic skills necessary for directing a
childrens choir, and if directors of new choirs prepare adequately for their groups, the
childrens choir movement can grow. Many more children will be able to experience the
joys of making music with other youngsters from their community.
Directions for Future Research
Within the context of the findings and conclusions drawn from the seven choirs in
this study, the following recommendations for future study are made:
1. Future research might investigate those choirs that are currently in existence
and those which are formed after this time to determine if the mortality rate remains
constant, if the reasons for disbanding the choirs are consistent with these findings, and
what remedial steps have been taken by long-lived choirs to remedy the situation.
2. One director involved in this study reported that one of her reasons for forming
a choir was to give home-schooled children the opportunity for a group musical
experience. This raises the question of how many home-schooled children are in
community choirs. It would also be of interest to know whether parents or directors
initiate the contact. These children are in a minority, but they certainly are a pool of
potential singers which may be absent in the usual places of recruitment.


18
first music textbooks, A very plain and easy Introduction to the Art of Singing Psalm
Tunes, written by the Reverend John Tufts, was issued in the early 18th century (Birge,
1929, p. 7; Hitchcock, 1969, p. 5). This book and other books which followed attempted
to teach singers how to correctly sing the hymns used for worship. These early religious
leaders felt that a more knowledgeable congregation would sing the music as printed,
rather than adding impromptu quavers (Birge, 1929, p. 5), or Turns and Flourishes
(Bolton, 1982, p. 2; Hitchcock, 1988, p. 5; Van Camp, 1978).
The idea of childrens choirs originated with the singing school, another attempt to
improve singing in the church. Singing schools began to be established in the early 18th
century (Birge, 1929, p. 8; Hubbard, 1908, p. 175). The Rev. Thomas Walter, an ardent
advocate of singing schools, wondered, in his 1721 essay, why people would assume that
singing skills were any more a matter of inspiration than reading skills (Hubbard, 1908, p.
175). The popularity of singing schools lasted for some sixty years and became a favorite
recreational and educational pursuit. Their importance to children's choral singing lies in
the fact that these schools were not for adults only, but included whole families. Children
received instruction in both music notation and singing skills (Farrior, 1993, p. 119;
Hitchcock, 1988, p. 5).
A desire to improve congregational singing led to several developments in
American music education, chief among them being music textbooks and singing schools
which taught music reading, notation, and singing skills (Birge, 1929, p. 7-11). Both
books and schools ultimately resulted in elementary school singing instruction as we know
it (Atterbury, 1991). While contemporary music education also teaches music reading and


94
director has found that parental commitment is greatly improved in the second semester
after hearing the Christmas concert (S. Roddy, personal communication, July 27, 1998).
Directors need to take advantage of every opportunity to recruit new singers. It is
essential for the continuing growth and development of the choirs. They must be aware of
the potential of local broadcast and print media for reaching potential singers. They need
to be sure that leaders of all possible recruiting venues are on their mailing lists and that
personal contacts are made at every possible opportunity.
Funding
Surprisingly, considering the amount of money involved in a childrens choir, five
choirs reported that funding was not a problem. Only two of the largest choirs in the state,
with budgets more than $100,000, stated that keeping up with the demands of the budget
is problematic.
Yearly budgets ranged from approximately $4,000 to $147,000 per year for the
1997-98 season. Choir V did not include travel in its $147,000 figure, and neither did
Choir I, which has a $117,000 yearly budget. Choirs II and VI had similar-sized budgets at
$10,000 and $12,000, respectively. The director of Choir VII stated in an interview and in
an e-mail message that his choir, as a matter of policy, did not disclose budget figures (see
Figure 4-4).


20
South Baptist Church (Pemberton, 1988). This concert was a major factor in establishing
music as a subject in public school curricula and helped to prove his assertion that
everyone could sing.
Vocal training for children, which had begun during the singing schools (Phillips,
1992a, p. 5-6), continued in the public schools. A goal for Mason and his colleagues as
they taught in the schools, as it had been for Tufts early in the 18th century, was to
improve the singing in the churches (Farrior, 1993).
Like his brother, Lowell, Timothy Mason promoted the idea that all children could
learn to sing. While Lowell achieved fame for his activities in Boston, Timothy's similar
work in Cincinnati, Ohio, is not as well-known. Like Lowell, he was active in the
establishment of music education in the schools and in teaching singing skills Timothy led
a large children's choir in two concerts during October, 1838, at a meeting of the College
of Professional Teachers at the Sixth Street Methodist Church, Cincinnati. The children
came from several different schools in the city. In June, a children's choir was part of the
Annual Procession and Exhibition of the Common Schools of Cincinnati (Mark and Gary,
1992, p. 152).
An outstanding children's chorus, directed by William L. Tomlins, presented a
concert at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. Tomlins had begun to work with children's
groups for the Chicago board of education about 1890, and his choirs became the standard
for children's choral singing. He focused on producing a beautiful tone, borrowing
methods from both the rote and reading approaches (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 186).


138
10.What experiences WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL in your undergraduate studies
to prepare you for this directing experience?
11.What workshops, articles and/or clinics WOULD HELP you lead your choir?
B. CHOIR HISTORY
12.How long has your choir been in existence?
a. one to five years
b. six to ten years
c. eleven to twenty years
d. twenty-one or more years
13.How long have you directed this choir?
14.Did you start this choir?
Yes
No
15.If you did not start this choir, who did?
16. Why was your choir formed?
a. No school music program
b. A school music program exists, but it is inadequate
c. Requested by children
d. Requested by parents
e. Director wanted to work with a childrens choir
f. Other; please specify
C. MEMBERSHIP
17. How many singers are in your choir?
18.How many BOYS are in your choir?


114
Encouraging the Growth of Choirs
Elementary music method classes, required by many music education schools, can
also help in encouraging the growth of choirs. In their questionnaire responses, directors
listed ways in which their undergraduate studies could have been of benefit, including
observations and hands-on experiences with childrens choirs. They also would like to
have had training in vocal techniques for children. All of these areas would fit into the
methods class curriculum.
Many childrens choirs travel, and can be engaged for concerts by schools of
music. Performances by both touring and local groups need to be promoted more heavily
at places where college personnel will be encouraged to attend. This would enable both
faculty and students to hear the unique sounds produced by young singers.
A problem which might be harder to correct is the difficulty of finding recordings
of childrens choirs. While some very good choirs make recordings, they are not often
stocked in stores, nor are they listed in the more widely distributed music education
catalogues. They can be obtained by special order, but the consumer must know that they
exist in order for this to be done. If recordings were more readily available, this would
enable consumers to be become more familiar with the sound of singing children.
The best way to encourage the growth in the size and number of childrens choir is
to help music education students, parents, and the general public to hear them. Concerts
and recordings are certainly good ways to do this.


CHAPTER V
CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
The areas investigated and the procedures used to study them are summarized in
this chapter. A summary of the results is also presented, as is a discussion of those
findings.
Summary of the Problem and Procedures
Problem
Boy choirs have existed for centuries, providing music for both sacred and secular
occasions. In this setting, boy singers have had opportunities to learn singing skills, obtain
a general music education, and increase social skills.
Girls have also had the chance to acquire this knowledge in a singing organization.
While not as celebrated or as popular as boy choirs, girl choirs have also contributed to
the musical life of church and city since Old Testament times.
Both boys and girls have sung together in choirs for many years, although these
organizations have traditionally been sponsored by either a school, church, or civic
organization. The most recent innovation in these groups is the community-based
childrens choir, incorporating both boys and girls, drawing membership from the
community at large. These choirs are not sponsored by any specific organization.
105


26
replacement for the nearly non-existent choral singing programs in the public schools
(Paulin, 1989).
With the growth of community choirs, a division of objectives has evolved, with
the schools educating for the consumption of the arts and the community-based programs
encouraging arts participation (Rao, 1989). Sinor (1997) worried that private performing
groups might appear to relieve the public schools of responsibility for and cost of
providing appropriate music education. She speculated that a new elite based on
motivation and ambition, not, as had previously been the case, on financial means, might
come into being.
Since 1980, there has been a children's choir explosion as many new school and
community choirs have been organized (Campbell & Scott-Kassner, 1995, p. 153; Farrior,
1993, p. 124). Articles, books, clinics and workshops give advice to directors and
organizers who attempt to either fill in the void created by deleting school music programs
or to supplement the public school programs. Samuel Adler suggested that:
the expanding childrens chorus movement is, to this composer at least, a
crucial development in an often discouraging musical scene and music
educational morass. I feel children can do anything as well as, if not better
than, adults, and the lasting musical effect is truly lifelong. (Adler, 1993)
Vocal Philosophies
Mursell and Glenn (1931, p. 278-279) made the point that There are few fields of
work in music where one finds a greater profusion of impossible ideas, or wilder clouds of
mythology. The judgements of experts on points connected with vocal performance are


108
Phillips (1995) found that when mens voices are provided for boys to emulate, the
boys match pitch much easier. Female directors who use men in their rehearsals may
accomplish two things: enroll more boys and make it more comfortable for boys to sing
well.
Phillips (1995) found that comparing singing with sports and discussing the
physical conditioning required for both activities helped to recruit and retain males. He
did this to convince boys that singing is a learned behavior and that boys could sing as well
as girls.
Increasing the diversity of races and cultures in community childrens choirs is a
challenging task. One frustration directors cited in their questionnaire responses was the
lack of commitment by low income parents, and this obviously makes recruiting difficult.
A change of attitude on the part of families will be needed before more children can be
enrolled, and this is a slow process that often takes many years to achieve. Performing and
rehearsing in locales easily accessible to families without transportation, where they can
see and hear the choir, and can become personally acquainted with the leadership, may be
on way of accomplishing this. Radical and innovative strategies need to be developed to
break patterns of behavior in order for parents to involve their children in choral
programs.
In a state as racially and culturally diverse as Florida, it would seem that having a
more diverse choir membership would be easy. Directors have apparently been so focused
on the music-making that they have not taken the time to expand the recruiting efforts into
minority populations. One solution would be to appoint a membership chairperson whose


CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Introduction
This chapter contains an overview of the research on children's choirs in the United
States. Since there is no research related to childrens community choirs, the information
in this section was obtained from research done on denominational choirs, boy choirs and
girl choirs. The review focuses on studies that discuss voice training, vocalises, auditions,
and a comprehensive music education in relationship to childrens choirs. This chapter also
presents a brief history of boy choirs, girl choirs and childrens choirs.
Historical Overview
Bov Choirs
Evidence that boys have been singing in established choirs for centuries is
abundant. Boethius (480-524 A.D.) cited Plato's statements regarding training boys in
music, including his advice on the kinds of music that should be used (Strunk, 1965, p.
81). Choirs of men and boys sang the chant as early as the reign of Pope Sylvester (A.D.
314-336) (Rhoden, 1971, p. 417), and boy choirs were common at Jerusalem by the
beginning of the fifth century (Sample, 1966, p. 5).
In America, the Episcopal church established boy choirs and the schools for
training them in the 18th century. Trinity Church in New York and St. Michaels Church
15


53
When Questionnaire B was completed, it was field tested by five teachers known
to the author. All of the teachers were currently directing childrens choirs in their
elementary schools or in their community. Their opinions on the length of the instrument,
clarity of questions, and clearness of the instructions were solicited by using a form
similar to one found in Buck (1993, p. 178-179) (see Appendix B). Their comments were
considered when the final version was constructed. The teachers returned all of the
questionnaire critiques for a response rate of 100%.
Description of the Research Questions
Questionnaire A, used during the population discovery phase of this study, asked
respondents to identify areas of concern to them as directors. Respondents mentioned
twenty-eight different issues, with some areas listed on more than one questionnaire.
Similar comments were grouped under 14 different headings.
These problems and informal discussions with directors of the authors
acquaintance were used to determine the following research questions in this study:
1. The name and location of each choir
2. The vocal training philosophy of the director
3. How the directors practices support the vocal training philosophy
4. The use of vocalises
5. The use of auditions
6. The use of training choirs
7. The inclusion of a comprehensive music education


100
for the staff. It only seems sensible for choirs to secure adequate coverage for those
involved in volunteer and leadership positions. The chair of the board of directors of Choir
II stated during a board meeting that recruiting business people as board members would
be difficult if the choir did not have insurance for the board. He remarked that it would be
possible for the settlement in a lawsuit to tap into the company funds of any business
person serving of the board of directors. Welles (1995a, p. 15) also cautioned that there
are conditions under which Board members can be held personally liable,' and
recommended serious consideration of liability insurance.
Securing a rehearsal hall is another area where money might need to be spent. Free
church facilities are possible, but may present problems. The director of Choir II said in a
board of directors meeting that his choir originally rehearsed at his church, and that many
of his singers came from his church. He suspected that the church label might have
scared people off and kept some singers from enrolling in his choir.
Novice directors cannot ignore the vital area of money, nor think that it will be
easily dealt with. Without funds for music and personnel, the choir will soon cease to
exist.
Scheduling
An on-going problem with any endeavor involving children is the scheduling of the
activity. Not only are the children involved in many activities, but their parents are often
busy and cannot find the time to provide transportation. Three directors said that finding


156
P. GENERAL INFORMATION
125.May I visit a rehearsal of your choir?
Yes
No
126.Ifyes to #125, when do you rehearse?
127.Do you rehearse year-round?
Yes
No
128 If not, what is your season?
129.Are you planning a concert in the near future?
Yes
No
130.When?
131.May I call you to obtain any additional information for this study?
Yes
No
132.When would be the best time to call you?


86
workshops or study of available childrens choir music. Various professional organizations
such as MENC, ACDA, and FMEA attempt to help directors in their search for music by
holding reading sessions during their conventions. The Choral Journal, published by
ACDA, reviews music and publishes an annotated list frequently, and music publishers are
usually pleased to add potential customers to their mailing lists. Conversations with fellow
directors are another way of searching out music, as is attendance at concerts.
Unfortunately, the perfect repertoire list does not exist, for each choir is different, its
needs and capabilities unique. Prospective directors must prepare to spend sufficient time
on literature research to ensure that the music selected for his or her choir meets all
requirements.
Most directors did not use a published repertoire list when selecting music. Only
two said that they used such a list. All directors looked for music in a variety of places,
such as recordings and clinicians suggestions. Once a source has proven helpful in finding
music, directors returned to that source.
Just as directors sought literature that was suitable for teaching specific music
concepts, so some directors kept the diction and vocal problems of their group in mind
when they were buying music. Four directors said on their questionnaires that they looked
for music that would help them correct vocal and diction problems. It is a teaching tool
said one director, while another thought that it gives members a sense of
accomplishment.
Correcting these problems was not always the prime consideration, however, for,
as three directors said, music is chosen because for its intrinsic value and problems are


72
choirs was a white girl. A large majority of the singers in the boy choirs in Sewells study
(1990, p. 279) were also Caucasian, and Farrell (1976, p. 24, 30) found the same
phenomenon in the boy choirs he studied, for 74.2% of the singers were Caucasian.
When asked if the directors intended for the membership of the choir to reflect the
race, socio-economic, income and ethnic diversity of the community, the directors of
Choirs I, V, VI, VII said yes on their questionnaires, with one director stating that the
choir should be reflective of the community . The others replied no, with a common
reason being that any singer was welcome to sing, regardless of characteristics. A director
stated in an interview that the membership was determined by the quality of the singing
and by who decided to audition. In no case was it felt that race or income were used to
eliminate a child. The most commonly stated reason for excluding children was an inability
to sing well.
Directors were also asked if they had tried to recruit children from the various
races and income groups. One director stated in both interview and questionnaire response
that no special effort had been made to do so, the primary goal of the group being to
provide children with artistic experiences through the performance of choral music;
whoever has come, has come. Another stated on the questionnaire that the choir was
continually trying to recruit membership which reflected the diversity of the community,
but had been unsuccessful. Three choirs reported on the questionnaire that lack of support
by the families, particularly low income parents, was the reason a more diverse
membership was difficult to recruit. One director cited the distance to rehearsals as a
barrier for some families and another maintained that tuition was too expensive.


112
population of the community needs to be large enough for there to be an adequate number
of singers who are more interested in singing than in swimming or dancing.
Childrens Voices
While each of the seven directors in this study were trained in music, they studied
different aspects of music. No director said that emphasis had been given to childrens
singing in undergraduate work, which is what Phillips (1985a, 1985b) found, and every
director said that experience with the child voice or with a childrens choir would have
been valuable training for the work they are now doing. Seeing what can be done would
not only help to insure a better all-round quality of work, but has the potential of directing
people into this line of work.
While a general music education is invaluable for childrens choral work, the
singing of young children demands knowledge which is specific to that age. General vocal
techniques are applicable to any age or voice, but repertoire, range, tone quality, and
dynamic level need to be carefully addressed if good vocal health is to be encouraged.
Since directors frequently use modeling to teach children how to sing, schools of
music need to be sure that their graduates know how to sing correctly. This applies to all
music majors, whatever their concentration. Singing is perhaps the predominant music
activity for children, and to teach it incorrectly is unnecessary and wrong.
As Lindeman (1997) said, if students ... are to master the knowledge and skills
called for in all the music standards, their teachers will need to be prepared to help them.
To do this, they need adequate instruction on the child voice in schools of music.


71
Choir VII
Choir VI
Choir V
Choir IV
Choir III
Choir II
Choir I
0 20 40 60 80 100
]
-
!
n i
bin

Girls
Boys
Figure 4-3 GENDER OF SINGERS
Several different ethnic backgrounds were represented in the choirs, with white,
black and Hispanic children being predominant. Questionnaire answers revealed that
Asian, Indian, Turkish, Filipino, and Haitian children also sang in these choirs, but in far
fewer numbers. Choir III had 14 Filipino children out of a total enrollment of 30 singers.
The director said in an interview that the Filipino community in his town was strong and
very supportive of the arts, many sending their children to a private denominational school
which was very arts-focused. The highest percentage of Hispanic singers was to be found
in the south Florida choir, but, considering the ethnic mix of this area of the state, this was
perhaps to be expected. The chorister most often seen in Florida community childrens


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A great many people have allowed me to spend time, money and labor on this
study. While I have tried to remember to express my appreciation on each occasion, there
is no doubt that I have often been remiss.
My advisor, Dr. Phyllis E. Dorman, has been very patient and supportive. Her
good advice, loan of books, and willingness to go beyond the call of duty have been of
tremendous help and have been a model of good teaching.
Other committee members have also readily loaned books, answered questions,
and provided advice, and for that I am grateful. To Dr. Russell Robinson, Dr. Charles
Hoffer, Dr. Arthur Jennings, Dr. Budd Udell and Dr. Linda Lamme I offer my sincere
appreciation.
Robena Cornwell and her staff in the music library have often been of great help.
Their willingness to stop their own projects and help a patron in distress is highly
commendable.
My parents, Clara and Angus McGregor, are due gratitude and love. They were
unfailing in their encouragement of their children, advocating that we aspire to worthy
goals and doing whatever was necessary to help us realize those ambitions. The high
value they placed on a good and continuing education planted the seed for this work.
iii


32
Ingram (1959, p. 91) stated that there is a twofold approach to good
interpretation. She believed that it takes both mental and physical responses to present a
song correctly. One the one hand...is the intellectual approach. We must understand the
text, the idea, the mood, and the spirit of the song. . The second approach is the physical,
or rhythmic, response which children often feel instinctively.
A vocal method which dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries is bel canto. It
reputedly produced voices of great limpidity, extremely wide range, amazing flexibility
and beautiful quality (Reid, 1950, p. 10) and sacrificed every other consideration in the
interest of tonal beauty (Reid, 1950, p. 19). This Italian method was based on instruction
in the rudiments of music notation, voice production and management, theory,
composition, correct pronunciation of vowels, interpretation and intonation (Reid, 1950,
p. 34-41).
Fields (1947, p. 328) surveyed 714 publications for opinions on the teaching of
singing. He used a wide variety of sources, including Good Housekeeping and Etude
magazines and scientific papers and experimental reports produced by authors,
teachers, scientists and singers (p. 266). While it is difficult to determine how many
vocal approaches he has documented, it is quickly apparent that there are many different
ideas about how to teach singing.
Even a cursory survey of literature on the subject reveals astonishing
inconsistencies and conflicts of pedagogical opinion. From a general
viewpoint, this diversity of opinion apparently arises from the fact that a
multiplicity of specific teaching procedures is being developed by individual
teachers without reference to the broader pedagogical principles underlying
them. (Fields, 1947, p. 3)


LD
1780
1999
knf
OF FLORIDA


34
Swanson also believed in the song approach:
The experiences and songs in this chapter center on singing as an activity in
itself. The related instructional objectives and listing of behaviors are
designed to be continual reminders that in an educational setting you must
point toward instructional goals, be they attitudes, increased awareness of
the expressive factors in music and the ability to respond to them, or
singing skills. (Swanson, 1981, p. 225)
Phillips (1985b, 1993), while not advocating the abandonment of the song
approach, believed that it needed to be used with caution. To teach singing by the sole use
of songs, neglecting the specific teaching of vocal techniques, is a dangerous business, he
believed. Children need to learn good singing habits that will carry over from song to
song (Phillips, 1985b). He went on to state that care should be taken to avoid a return
to the days of vocal drill. Children must have time to react musically in the classroom, but
they must also be allowed time to develop the skills needed to perform musically
(Phillips, 1985b).
Campbell and Scott-Kassner (1995, p. 131) stated that the astute teacher can
accelerate the development of childrens voices by the knowledgeable use of songs, games
and drills. Ingram (1959, p. 87) discussed vocal exercises and the results that can be
obtained through them and stated that exercises can be made from any sound, any word
which causes difficulty (p. 88).
Bartle (1988, p. 7) believed that repertoire is inseparably linked to vocal
development. Good repertoire enhances and develops a beautiful tone quality. Bad
repertoire undermines choral development. She went on to say that many new skills
must be learned, and older skills reinforced, as the children learn new repertoire (p. 26).


81
emphasis primarily on expression, is not only the most interesting to students but also
generates an enthusiasm and stimulus that result in an even more rapid gain in technic.
Farrell (1976, p. 155) found that boy choir directors used the music being studied for
teaching and developing articulation.
Only two directors stated on their questionnaires that they did not isolate problems
in the musical score and fix them during the warm-up. One stated that vocal warm-ups
are for exploration while work is for rehearsal. Phillips (1985b, 1993) called this the
Formal Approach to singing and believed (1985b) that the inherent danger in the song
approach was that it is doubtful that the skill of singing will be taught.
During the warm-up, directors most often worked on rhythm and melody. One
used this opportunity to work on diction and placement of the tone in the head voice,
while another taught vowel formation. Directors used the warm-up portion of the
rehearsal to accomplish a variety of tasks that resulted in a better sound.
Auditions
The question of auditions was not controversial among these seven community
choir directors. Each one auditioned singers for their choirs in a variety of ways, which
was identical to Farrells (1976, p. 52) finding in his study of American boy choirs where
each group mandated a vocal audition in addition to other requirements. Sewell (1990, p.
203) reported that all thirty-two responding directors affirmed that admission into their
boychoir organizations is regulated by a pre-entrance audition process.


93
photocopied programs, for contemporary publications are foil-color and professionally
printed. This adds to the air of professionalism in the organization and must surely be an
intangible aid in recruiting.
One choir included an enrollment form in its concert programs. Not only did it
invite interested parties to provide information for a mailing list, but it asked for
information concerning any young singer who might like to audition.
Directors reported on questionnaires that the hardest groups to attract into the
choir were boys, minorities and inner-city children. Four choirs stated that boys are the
hardest group for them to recruit, minority children were difficult to attract for four
choirs, and one choir stated that inner-city children were among the hardest to recruit.
Farrell (1976, p. 23) found that affordability and transportation were the only
ramifications of the socio-economic spread within their individual programs. Tuition and
being able to get to rehearsals and performances were problems for the singers in the
boy choirs in his study.
In an attempt to enroll children who might not otherwise be able to sing in a choir,
four choirs offered scholarships to offset part of the tuition. One choir provided
transportation to both concerts and rehearsals, and another held auditions at a site close to
the childrens homes. The Houston Childrens Choir has two choirs in areas of the city
where minority children live. The choir pays for a bus to transport these children to dress
rehearsals and concerts, with the majority of rehearsals held after the dismissal bell at the
neighborhood school. Parents of the minority children are given free tickets, and the


76
are so valuable, the organization might consider paying the pianist if the director is
salaried. Sewell (1990, p. 141) found that 84% of the choirs in his study employed
accompanists, while only 22% of the conductors did their own accompanying, and said
that an accompanist is critical to the existence of a new choir (p. 140).
Directors should hire or recruit the best people possible for their choirs and expect
their best efforts. In return, workers should be recognized for their huge contribution and
. . thanked formally (Bartle, 1988, pp. 195-198).
Directors Vocal Philosophies
Directors were asked on the questionnaire if they had a mental concept of the
sound that they wished the choir to make. The answer was yes in each case. As one
conductor commented, How could you function without it? Jean Ashworth Bartle of
the Toronto Childrens Choir, believed that the conductor must have in his/her mind the
ideal sound and the clear perception of the final product before starting to rehearse a
work (Shrock, 1990). Judging the sound that the choir produces against the standard in
the directors mental ear was apparently the way in which the sound was evaluated.
The ideal sound for which these directors were listening was described in
interviews and on questionnaires in various ways: clear, supported tone, in tune,
warm, rounded tone, vibrant, healthy, natural sound, free head tone, much head
voice. Four directors cited round, good, or uniform vowels as essential to an ideal
sound, the most frequently mentioned characteristic of a good choral sound, and three
directors stated that the ideal childrens sound contains no vibrato.



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PAGE 187

/' fNQI 2) )/25,'$


88
Light A Candle John Purifoy, writing as Michael Andrews2 part treble; piano
accompaniment; New Horizons Publishers.
A Psalm of LifeMalcolm Daglish3 part treble; hammered dulcimer accompaniment;
Plymouth Music Co.
Praise God Budd Udell2 part treble; French horn and piano accompaniment;
unpublished manuscript available from the composer.
Where Dwells the Soul of My LoveJames Mulholland3 part treble; keyboard and oboe
accompaniment; Plymouth Music Co.
Yo Le Canto Todo El DiaDavid Bruner2 part treble; piano and handclap
accompaniment; Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
As OToole (1999) found, contemporary composers write for childrens choirs,
and the music they have produced is diverse and challenging. Accompaniments used
instruments other than the traditional piano, and the voice parts vary (Smith, 1993),
which is consistent with the commissioned compositions in this study.
Choirs commissioned these works for various reasons: to honor a deceased
chorister, to contribute to childrens choir literature, and to be part of the literature of an
ecumenical choral festival. Five of the directors plan to request new selections primarily
because their children get to meet the composer. They said on their questionnaires that
they appreciated the opportunity the children have to become involved in the creative
process and it was an interesting, enriching experience. They also considered this a
means of providing quality literature for their choir and other choirs. When asked whom
they would consider when commissioning new music, a varied group of composers was
listed on the questionnaire. David Bruner, Rupert Lang, Andre Thomas, Anna Laura Page,
Ruth Watson Henderson, Budd Udell, and Rene Clausen were among those considered,


IV RESULTS AND ANALYSES 59
Introduction 59
Summary of Results 61
Summary 102
V CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 105
Statement of the Problem and Procedures 105
Discussion 106
Recommendations and Implications 115
Directions for Future Research 117
APPENDICES
A QUESTIONNAIRE A AND RELATED MATERIALS 119
B QUESTIONNAIRE B AND RELATED MATERIALS 125
C REPERTOIRE 157
D COMMUNITY CHILDRENS CHOIRS IN FLORIDA 161
REFERENCES 164
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 175
vi


134
REMINDER POST CARD
Dear
A questionnaire concerning children's community choirs was recently mailed to you. It
asked for information needed for a study at the University of Florida Your input has not
been received and is eagerly anticipated.
If the original questionnaire has been misplaced, please contact me for another copy.
Thank you,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone Number
E-mail address


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
L /Or
Phylns E. Dorman, Chair
Professor of Music
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
aL
UJX*- ,
Charles R. Hoffer
Professor of Music
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Russell L. Robinson
Professor of Music
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Linda Lamme
Professor of Instruction and Curriculum
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Arthur Jenninf
Associate ProfessoTof Music
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Budd A. Udell
Professor of Music


166
Damrosch, F. (1908). Music in the public schools. In W. L. Hubbard (Ed.), The
American history and encyclopedia of music: History of American music, (pp. 17-37).
New York: Irving Squire.
Diaz, M. C. (1980). An analysis of the elementary school music series published in the
United States from 1926 to 1976 (Doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-
Champaign, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41, 2490A.
Drinker, S. (1948). Music and women. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc.
Eisner, E. W. (1981). The role of the arts in cognition and curriculum. Phi Delta
Kappan, 63( 1), 48-52.
Elliot, D. J. (1993). When I sing: The nature and value of choral music education.
Choral Journal 33(8), 11-17.
Ellinwood, L. (1953). The history of American church music. New York: Morehouse-
Gorham Company.
Erman, C. K. (1981). Vocal pedagogy for the young child. Unpublished masters thesis,
California State University, Fullerton.
Farrell, M. F. (1976). An examination of the training techniques and related factors
in selected outstanding boychoirs in the United States. Unpublished doctoral dissertation,
University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Farrior, C. B. (1993). Body, mind, spirit, voice: Helen Kemp and the development of
the children's choir movement (Doctoral dissertation, University of North Carolina at
Greensboro, 1993). Dissertation Abstracts International, 54, 2931k.
Ferreira, L. (1993). Childrens choirs: The future, the challenge. Choral Journal, 33
(8), 25-26.
Field-Hyde, F. C. (1947). The singing-class teacher: His principles and methods.
Boston, MA: The Boston Music Company.
Fields, V. A. (1947). Training the singing voice. Momingside Heights, NY: Kings
Crown Press.
Fortunato, C. (1981). Childrens music ministry: A guide to philosophy and practice.
Elgin, IL: David C. Cook Publishing Company.
Fowler, F. J. (1984). Survey research methods. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.


LIST OF TABLES
Table page
1. Areas of Concern 60
2. Number of Singers 70
3. Gender of Singers 71
4. ChoirBudgets 95
5. Annual Tuition per Student 97
vii


2
concerts; and (9) determining whether or not these choirs reflect the racial, socio
economic and cultural diversities of the communities they represent.
Statement of the Problem
The Name and Location of Each Choir
Several researchers have studied the boy choir (Ackerly, 1983; Criswell, 1987;
Farrell, 1976; Rhoden, 1971; Sewell, 1990), Bolton investigated denominational
children's choirs in southern California (1982), and Farrior (1993) briefly looked at the
development of both community and church children's choirs in her study of Helen Kemp.
A review of the literature showed that Bourne (1990) included a Georgia community-
based children's choir in her study of director's instructional techniques, but there is no
study limited exclusively to community children's choirs in Florida that examines the
proposed questions.
This study did not cover the business and legal aspects of conducting childrens
choirs, although they are highly important areas. They have been addressed by other
authors, particularly Welles (1995a and b).
The Vocal Training Philosophy of the Director
As directors teach their choirs, they follow various vocal philosophies. One school
of thought results in the distinctive sound of English boy choirs, while American boy
choirs are equally identifiable by a different, but no less distinctive, sound. Phillips (1993)
stated that teachers receive little training in the handling of the child voice, giving rise to


36
floating, easily produced tone and gave various techniques for cultivating that sound in
choirs. Newman (1995, p. 254) believed that a teachers object is to encourage young
singers to use the lighter head voice sound, later bringing that quality of sound down into
the range between the head voice and the chest voice. He went on to suggest activities
that might accomplish that objective
Phillips (1985b) agreed that the lower, chest voice should only be used when the
upper voice is well established. He blamed the exclusive cultivation of the chest voice for a
rising percentage of nonsingers, and a judicious use of both voices was recommended.
Weis (1936, p. 4) agreed that both voices should be used and that the head voice should
be developed first. Expert training is necessary for the use of the chest voice. Phillips
(1984) speculated that head voice singing must be taught, while singing in the chest voice
is a more natural occurrence.
Giddings (1919, p. 31) said that the two types of voices might be called the
singing and the howling registers. Children should be taught to sing softly, keeping the
song no lower than first line E, and a head voice will naturally result. Howard (1895, p.
46) agreed, stating that there are two principles of childrens tonal production: They must
sing softly and They must be restricted in compass of voice, as a result of which, the
chest voice will never be heard (p. 47).
Swears (1985, p. 62) believed that the head voice not only produces a beautiful
sound but it also helps to extend the childs vocal range and to give greater flexibility to
the voice. The difference between head and chest voices is not merely one of range, she
stated, but also one of quality. The head voice is light and forward, while the chest voice


68
Linda Swears, Teaching the Elementary School Chorus (1985)
Nancy Poore Tufts, The Childrens Choir (1965)
Susie Page
Henry Leek of the Indianapolis Childrens Choir
The Choral Music Experience Institute workshops
Ann Small of the Stetson Childrens Choir
Lynn Gackle of the Tampa Childrens Choir
University of Florida International Voice Symposium
Anton Armstrong
ACDA conventions
Michael Houlahan and Philip Tacka, Sound Thinking (1990)
J. C. McKinney, Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults (1994), and
The Tapila Childrens Choir of Finland.
Absent from this list was the Choristers Guild, an organization formed to help
childrens choir directors develop their choirs both musically and spiritually (Farrior,
1993, p. 118). The Guild publishes music for treble voices and a newsletter which is
designed to increase the skills and knowledge of conductors. It also holds choral festivals,
so it would seem that the organization would be visible enough for the participants in this
study to be aware of it, but the religious connotations of the organization may make the
leaders of these secular choirs want to avoid it.
Directors may not have received undergraduate training in childrens voices, but
they have used many resources to learn the skills and knowledge they need to conduct


69
their choirs. Each of these participants has sought additional study beyond the
undergraduate degree, both in a formal academic setting and independently. Although four
directors pursued non-vocal performance areas, they chose to lead a choir. It would
appear that these choir directors welcome new challenges and seek the knowledge that
will enable them to be successful in their ventures.
Characteristics of Choir Membership
The sizes of the total choir organizations, as given on the questionnaires and in e-
mail messages, ranged from 30 to 200 children, with three choirs being in the 30-40
membership range. Choir II had 56 singers, Choir I had 116, Choir V had 140, and Choir
VII was the largest with 200 singers.
If a choir had more than one singing group within an organization, directors were
asked on the questionnaire for the number of boys and the number of girls in the most
advanced group. They were also asked for the number of children in several different
ethnic categories within that same group.
Only three choirs had more than one singing group within an organization: Choirs
I, V, and VII. Choir I had 36 in the Touring Choir, Choir V had 62 in the Advanced Choir
and Choir VII had 94 in the Concert Choir (see Figure 4-2).


27
most extraordinarily varied and unreliable. But in spite of the many different points of
view, there were some areas of agreement. Among these were the concepts that good
techniques for children were also good ideas for adults, and that vocal training for boys
was no different than it was for girls. Age and gender did not make a difference in the
selection of method (Clippinger, 1929, p. 5; Crocker, 1978, p. 5; Ross, 1959, p. 18 IF;
Wilcox, 1935, p. 52, 57).
Authors also agreed that, while the technique may be unchanged, the amount of
work and the extent of knowledge that a child is capable of absorbing are not as great as
an adults (Fields, 1947, p. 23; Phillips, 1985b; Ross, 1959, p. 18IF; Weis, 1936, p. 3;
Wilcox, 1935, p. 52). In 1919, Giddings wrote:
the voice training necessary in the public schools is very simple and easy if
done in the right way. There is little training to be done except to see that
each child sings in an easy compass and does not strain his voice, (p. 181)
Field-Hyde (1947, p. 131) stated that Something can be done with quite young
children, but it will hardly take the form of systematic study. Rather it will be in the
direction of restraining too exuberant energy. He went on to say that More definite
training, if judiciously carried out, may begin at the age of eight or nine (p. 132).
Ingram (1959, p. 82) generally agreed with this age range, recommending the age
of nine years for beginning voice training, although Gehrkens (1934, p. 89) believed that
kindergarten and first grade or whenever the child first begins to sing is the time to
set up ideals of tonal beauty and habits of singing. Swears (1985, p. 8) gave directions
for developing the voices of six to eight year olds, including breath support and tone
production. Campbell and Scott-Kassner (1995, p. 127) agreed that vocal technique can


38
say that selecting songs with a higher compass will help those children whose voice
production may not be good (p. 94). Field-Hyde (1947, p. 136) believed that children
should generally not sing above treble clef top-line F, and that older children may easily
reach middle C and the A or B below that. Children should not be made to sing notes
which they find difficult or tiring.
Mursell was among the first writers to suggest a change in the tessituras of
childrens songs (Erman, 1981, p. 13). He stated that the kind of high-pitched singing so
often required is not natural to them. Songs pitched too high tend to block just that kind
of spontaneous, expressive singing for which you should always aim (Mursell, 1951, p.
187).
Newman (1995, p. 253) advocated a narrower range, stating that D to third line B
is the most comfortable range, only extending it from A below the staff to top line F for
upper grades. Campbell and Scott-Kassner (1995, p. 130) advocated a range that is
marginally wider: middle C to third space C for first grade, widening from G below the
treble staff to G above the staff for older elementary children.
Swears (1985, p. 162) advocated keeping the tessitura of music between middle C
and fourth line D, expanding it by one or two half-steps for mature choruses. She went
on to state that high f s and gs should be few and far between and sung on an open
vowel (p. 163). Swanson (1981, p. 226) concurred, although she stated that four or five
tones centering around first line E are the first to be used by new singers.
Just exactly what needs to be done to teach children to sing well is a matter of on
going conjecture and debate. As Street remarked, we are still hunting for a universal way


SEVEN COMMUNITY CHILDRENS CHOIRS IN FLORIDA:
FUNCTION IN THE COMMUNITY,
ORGANIZATIONAL PATTERNS,
AND CONDUCTORS THEORIES AND PRACTICES
BY
MARY JEANETTE MCGREGOR HOWLE
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1999


14
have the opportunities to meet and perform with singers from other areas of the city, and
to learn music which may not be available in other programs.
A choral organization that includes both boys and girls is a relatively new idea.
Boy choirs have been in existence since at least the fifth century (Sample, 1966, p. 5) and
King Solomon used girl choirs in both temple and court (Drinker, 1948, p. 133), but the
combination of both boys and girls in a choral organization supported by the citizens of a
city, rather than the more narrow sponsorship of a particular organization is comparatively
recent. A study of this innovation, which began in the 1970s (Farrior, 1993, p. 122), will
add to the knowledge of this aspect of children's choral music.


92
It is possible that community choir directors were hesitant to recruit in churches
because of the fear of their choirs being labeled as religious, thereby driving away
families who did not wish to participate in church related activities. However, if efforts
are made to attract children from a variety of venues, including schools, churches, and
civic organizations, this criticism would become insignificant. Directors whose choirs
rehearse in churches might avoid using the sanctuary or other room in the church where
religious symbols are prominent, thereby reducing the perceived influence of the church.
Four respondents reported on the questionnaire that they had few openings in their
choirs for new members since they usually retained many former members. Three of these
choirs were multi-choir organizations, and many openings for new members in the most
advanced choir were filled by children moving up from training choirs.
Publicity in the local media was another way in which new members might be
attracted. Six choirs used newspaper advertisements and articles, one choir used a local
magazine, four choirs used radio advertisements and interviews, one made use of
television advertisements, another attempted to receive local television news coverage and
sent faxes to teachers, churches and radio stations. This choir director discussed in an
interview how he obtained the names and schools of elementary school music teachers in
the county and sent multiple faxes to each teacher, soliciting singers for the choir and
advertising impending concerts. Farrell (1976, p. 21, 154) found that the directors of the
boy choirs in his study also used radio, television and newspapers in recruiting candidates.
During attendance at choir concerts, it was hard to miss the quality of brochures
and concert programs produced by the choirs. Gone is the day of homemade and poorly


155
118.What do you do to counteract conflicting activities?
a. Ignore them
b. Try to schedule REHEARSALS around other activities
c. Try to schedule CONCERTS around other activities
d. Require singers to sign a contract which commits them to give the choir priority
e. Permit a maximum number of absences
f. Require a parent note for each absence
g. Acquire calendars from other major activities before scheduling choir rehearsals
and concerts
h. Only admit singers who do not participate in other activities
i. Meet with coaches and sponsors of other area activities and work out a mutually
agreeable calendar
j. Other; please specify
O. PRINTED MATERIAL
If you are able to provide copies of any or all of the following material, they would be
greatly appreciated.
119. Drills or exercises used to teach pitch matching.
120. Drills or exercises used to teach breathing.
121. Drills or exercises used for posture development.
122. An audition form, if you use one.
123. Copies of the last 5 concert programs which your choir has given.
124. A brochure or letter which tells parents and children what is expected of them.


Orlando Childrens Chorus
Orange County School Board
Music Department
445 West Amelia
Orlando, FL 32801
Pensacola Children's Chorus
P.O. Box 325
Pensacola, FL 392-0325
Seminole Community College Children's Choir
Seminole Community College
Fine Arts Department
100 Weldon Boulevard
Sanford, FL 32772
Stetson University Children's Choir
Stetson University
School of Music
Deland, FL 32720
Tampa Bay Children's Chorus
407 Biltmore Avenue
Tampa, FL 33617
163


My husband, John, has given time, money, and interest, that I may go back to
school. His expertise with the computer has been invaluable, but, without doubt, it has
been his love and support that have made this work possible.
My daughters, Virginia and Katherine, have also been supportive and
uncomplaining. My desire to teach them to strive to realize their dreams has been one of
the prime motivators of this work.
Special thanks go to friends who kept prodding me to completion. Dr. Janice
Haworth, Paul and Peggy Mains, and Dianne and Lamar Walker have provided
unwavering friendship through many of the joys and sorrows of my life, and they are
special people.
To each of these people, I offer my warmest and most sincere appreciation.
IV


33
A method that is not widely advocated in current childrens voice training
literature is what Phillips termed the formal approach (1984, p. 11). In this method, the
voice teacher seeks to cure or correct specific vocal problems through the use of vocal
exercises. Christiansen (1932, p. 61) wrote that the development of large lung capacity
and breath control is the principal work of the singer. Christiansen included a series of
exercises in his book that are primarily for note-reading and tone-hitting and are
calculated to develop breath control and lung capacity (p. 65).
Erman (1981, p. 53) agreed that exercises are valuable in preventing or
eliminating faulty vocal techniques. She went on to caution that the drill patterns must be
varied and creatively evolving to sustain interest and motivation.
One method which currently finds wide acceptance, is the song method.
Although Fields (1947, p. 66) devoted only a minimum amount of space to this approach,
and Ross (1959, p. 26) omitted it from his list of 14, other authors recommended it.
Christy (1970) discussed this approach by name, defined it, and gave reasons for its use:
The student starts singing songs immediately, endeavoring with the help
and guidance of the instructor to interpret each song as meaningfully as
possible under limitations of technic that then pertain . Experience has
demonstrated conclusively that the Song Approach, with emphasis
primarily on expression, is not only the most interesting to students but also
generates an enthusiasm and stimulus that result in an even more rapid gain
in technic. (Christy, 1970, p. viii)
Mursell advocated the use of the song approach:
Teach the whole song ... Remember always that the song itself is the
thing. . The time for analysis, for calling attention to this or that specific
detail or aspect of the music or the performance, is after the children have
become able to sing the song, and not before. (Mursell, 1951, p. 192-193)


QUESTIONNAIRE FOR COMMUNITY CHILDRENS CHOIR
DIRECTORS
136
Name
Title
Home Address
Home Phone( )
E-mail address
Name of Choir
Address of Choir
Rehearsal location
Please return to: Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone Number
E-mail address


145
56. If you work on problems during warm-up, do you usually work on (Please check all
that apply)
a. Rhythm
b. Melody
c. Pitch
d. Harmony
e. Dynamics
f. Tempo
g- Style
h. Articulation
i. Other; please specify
G. AUDITIONS
57. Do you administer a vocal audition for admittance into your program?
_ Yes
No
58 If you do not audition singers, why not?
a. Lack of time
b. It is unnecessary
c. It is too stressful for the child
d. The results make no difference, since I take every child
e. Other; please specify
59. If you administer a vocal audition, which of these items do you evaluate in an entrance
audition? Please check all that apply.
a. Solo song
b. Solo sight-reading
c Tonal strength
d. Vocal timbre
e. Pitch pattern matching
f. Rhythmic pattern matching
g. Physical health
h. The ability to read language
i. Social Skills
j. Desire to sing in the choir
k. Self-reliance
1. Other; please specify


74
choirs, where singers were encouraged to spend one year in a training period and to
demonstrate the ability to move to a higher performance level.
In Choir V the director of the most advanced group also directed the training
groups, while in Choirs I and VII the training choirs were conducted by someone else. In
Choir I, information in the concert program showed that a public school or university
music teacher taught the training choirs, and the director of Choir VII, which was headed
by a husband and wife team, stated in an interview that he conducted the most advanced
group while she was in charge of the training choirs.
Training choirs are valuable assets for any choral organization, for they provide
singers to fill openings in the more advanced choirs and they enable children to develop
vocal skills. Conductors of these choirs are usually not the founder of a multi-choir
organization, for he or she usually conducts the more advanced choir, leaving the teaching
of the most basic singing skills to someone else. The founder needs to carefully oversee
the training choirs, however, and be sure that skills are taught uniformly in all the choirs.
Staffing
Directors reported on their questionnaires that each choir had at least two people
on the staff: one director and one accompanist. Choir VI added a librarian for a total of
three. Choir V used a staff of four, a director, an assistant director and two accompanists,
while Choir VII had five on staff: two directors, a chorus manager, an accompanist and a
choreographer. The largest staff was that of Choir I with a total of nine: four directors
(one for each choir), four accompanists (one for each choir) and a vocal coach. The boy


4
The Use of Auditions
Auditions may be used either to exclude those with vocal problems or to correctly
place those who need additional singing help, and are another facet of the directors
approach to the choir. Both points of view have fervent proponents (Campbell & Scott-
Kassner, 1995, p. 154; Phillips, 1993; Haworth, 1992).
Farrells study (1976, p. 40) emphasized the importance of auditions. He quoted a
respondent in his study who said that the philosophy of the choir can be discovered in the
audition. Bartle (1988, p. 110) stated that a judicious use of auditions can help to avoid
future problems, including those involving health, motivation and social skills.
How Training Choirs Are Used
If auditions are a part of the admittance process, directors must decide what to do
with children who cannot pass the audition because of singing problems. Some children's
choir organizations consist of more than one choir. A concert, or senior, choir is used for
most public appearances, while a training, or junior, choir gives problem singers time to
develop their vocal skills (Shrock, 1990). Some directors may have found that training
choirs are invaluable, while others may have found that the time and expense involved in a
junior choir are not worthwhile.
Comprehensive Music Education In the Choral Program
The national standards for music education, published under the title The School
Music Program: A New Vision (Music Educators National Conference (MENC), 1994),


148
74.Ifyes to #71, which concepts do you find HARDEST to teach with your choral
literature?
a. Tempo
b. Dynamics
c. Form
d. Rhythm
e. Style
f. Melody
g. Tone color
h. Harmony
i. Texture
75.Do you look for choral literature that will help you teach specific music concepts?
Yes
No
76.Why or why not?
77.Do you use learning activities other than singing to teach music concepts?
Yes
No
78.Why or why not?
79.What type(s) of learning activities do you use to teach music concepts? Please check
all that apply.
a. Moving
b. Playing instruments
c. Listening
d. Sight reading
e. Composing
f. Singing


123
COMMUNITY CHILDRENS CHOIR QUESTIONNAIRE
Name
Address (H)
(W).
Phone(H)
(W)
E-mail
Do you currently direct a community childrens choir?
What is the name of your choir?
How long have you directed this choir?
To study community childrens choirs, a broad base of participants is needed. Please list
those directors whose work you admire, and, if possible, their addresses and telephone
numbers.


REPERTOIRE
Directors who participated in this study were asked to list their favorite selections. Three directors cited Bist du bei Mir. Dodi Li,
Sound the Trumpet and Angels Carol each received two citations.
And A Little Child Shall Lead Them
Pote
3 part (Cantata)
Hope Publishing Co.
An Die Musik
Schubert
Unison
European American Music Corp.
Angels Carol
Rutter
2 part
Hinshaw Music, Inc.
Bashana Haba 'a
Hirsch/Leck
2 part
Posthom Press
Bed in Summer
Smith
Unison
Plymouth Music Co.
Benedictus
Schubert/Telfer
2 part
Neil A. Kjos Music Co.
Bist du bei Mir
Bach
Unison
Boosey & Hawkes Inc.
Cantate Domino
Lang/ Rao
3 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Carol of the Bells
Leontovich/Wilhousky
3 part
Carl Fischer, Inc.
Dodi Li
Chen/Rao
2 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Domine Deus
Bach
2 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Dorm, Dorm
Italian Carol/Goetze
Unison
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Feel Good
Gospel song/Baker and Elliott
3 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Gloria
Leavitt
2 part
Warner Brothers Music Publisher


89
primarily because they understand the childs voice. Extremely artistic and beautiful,
interesting music were also given as reasons for particular composers. Commissioning
and performing music which is aesthetically pleasing helps to introduce children to the
pleasure to be found in creating beauty, and contributes to the development of a lifelong
consumer of, and participant in, the arts.
Roles of Parents
Every choir contacted for this study used parents in volunteer positions.
This free labor was valued and used in a variety of ways: as music librarian, tour manager,
chaperones, uniform chairperson, costumers, fund raising chairperson, attendance
monitors, assistant director, and on the board of directors. None of these people were paid
for his or her work and directors reported in conversation and on the questionnaire that
this arrangement has worked out well.
Parents evidently have not presented problems for most of the choirs involved in
this study. Only one choir reported on the questionnaire that they had previously had
problems with parents in paid positions, although that choir, like the other six, used
parents as volunteers. During the authors attendance at a post-concert parent meeting of
Choir IV, six positions were filled with elected parent volunteers: president, vice-
president, secretary and librarian, treasurer, newsletter editor, and costumer.
Attempts to avoid difficulties have resulted in consent forms or waivers of liability
signed by parents. Choir I had a Chorister/Parent Agreement which both parents and
singers were required to sign. This form specified attendance and behavior requirements,


82
No director admitted singers who could not match pitch. Among the audition
techniques was singing a round, used by one director, and solo singing, used by six of the
directors. One director stated that, while his prospective singers were auditioned, it was
not an exacting test. He planned to more closely test the children when his organization
became large enough to support two choirs. All directors were concerned about the
childs desire to sing in the choir, and considered that aspiration during the audition.
Directors also weighed tonal strength, vocal timbre, and the ability to match pitch patterns
when assessing a childs ability to sing in the choir. One director listened for the ability to
hold a part and another considered self-reliance during the audition. How a singers voice
would blend with other voices in the ensemble was also a consideration during auditions.
Sewell (1990, p. 209) who advised that those conducting auditions should listen
for potential, not [the] finished product. This agreed with another participant in
Sewells investigation (p. 209) who said that he preferred an eight year old who has had
NO previous training. If he can match notes, he goes into my cadet/training choir.
The value of training choirs came sharply into focus when auditions were
discussed. None of the directors involved in this study accepted children who could not
match pitch, and yet there were children who want very badly to sing but cannot meet the
standard set for entrance into one of these community choirs. The goal of beautiful music
that these directors have set for themselves and their choirs is exceedingly laudable, and it
is all but impossible to achieve with even one or two voices marring the sound. Not to
help a child who is willing to be helped, though, is not in the best interests of the child or
of music, and it is in this area that training choirs and vocal coaches are invaluable.


Copyright by
MJMH
1999


23
to encourage head voice singing, not because children naturally sang in an upper range
(Nye, Nye, Aubin and Kyme, 1962, p. 5).
The legacy of the aesthetic approach is to be found in the scarcity of children's
singing methodology in current elementary methods textbooks (Phillips, 1985a, 1985b)
and in current elementary school music textbooks (Kavanaugh, 1982). The emphasis on
teaching music concepts through songs intellectualized music and minimized the need for
(singing) skills development (Phillips, 1993). We find little in elementary music textbooks
today regarding the training of children's voices (Phillips, 1983, p. 4). As Phillips said:
Current elementary methods texts emphasize the song approach almost
exclusively. In most of these sources, it is rare to find any directives to the
actual training of the child voice, outside of simple pitch-matching
exercises. The song approach literature almost totally neglects such
parameters as tone quality, registers, dynamic level, duration, and range.
What are emphasized are the appropriate means by which to teach a song
by rote and large amounts of song literature. The mastery of singing as a
skill does not appear nearly as important as the use of singing to develop
awareness of basic musical concepts. (1985b)
In the 1960s, MENC became concerned that children could make music, but could
not understand the concepts that underlie all music. To counteract this, an emphasis on
analysis and listening surfaced in music textbooks as children learned to understand the
music they were making. Children sang in order to learn the concepts which could be
taught from the songs, not for the beauty of the music or for the chance to develop their
voices (Phillips, 1993).
Ruth K. Jacobs and the Mason brothers shared a belief that all children could learn
to sing (Ball, 1981, p. 10, 1984; Coffman, 1987), a philosophy advocated by Lyon (1993),


24
Phillips (1993), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Committee
on Children's Choirs (Rao, 1989), Goetze (1988), Gould (No. 17), and Swears (1985, p.
3).
Phillips (1993) and Fortunato (1981) believed that singing is a skill that can be
taught. Fortunato said:
if a child does not walk on his first birthday, we dont immediately assume
that he is not inclined to walking and give him up as an ambulatory
failure ... we realize our responsibility to provide increased exposure
(practice) and encouragement (motivation) and assistance (teaching).
(1981, p. 143)
The church choir movement blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s, nourished by
Helen Kemp, Choristers Guild (Farrior, 1993, p. 118), and choir directors who attempted
to teach children the joy of singing. Kemp's work, begun in the 1950s, became the model
for church musicians who worked with children's choirs (Farrior, 1993, p. 127).
While church choirs were growing during the early 1960s, the incidence of singing
in school began to decline (Rao, 1993a); this trend continues today (Lyon, 1993). Diaz
(1980) found that a fifty year span of music series published in the United States showed,
among other things, less emphasis on part singing. Growman (cited in Runfola and
Rutkowski, 1992, p. 696), in her study of an 80 year span of basic music series, agreed.
Phillips (1993) attributed this decline partially to the lack of singing instruction in music
texts, but other factors may also contribute to the minimal singing opportunities. School
music programs have broadened to include a wide range of activities (Harris, 1985/1986),
all of which take time away from singing. While the first Content Standard of the National
Standards for music education calls for singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire


97
and facilities portion of the budget, but plans were to move the organization to a church
which would assume the same responsibilities.
Obviously, the money which goes out must come in. It came mainly from the
tuition charged to each singer. As with other aspects of the choir, questionnaire
information revealed that tuition varied widely. Choir I charged $500 per year, followed
closely by Choir V with its $450 per season, and Choir VI with $50 per month. Much
lower on the tuition scale were Choir III, at $150 per year, Choir II at $85 per 13-14 week
semester, and Choir IV with $30 per semester. Monthly or semester dues have been
extended to a ten month or two semester season, the length of a school year, for the
purpose of comparison, (see Figure 4-5).
Choir VI
Choir V
Choir IV
Choir IE
Choir II
Choir I
$0 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $600
Figure 4-5
ANNUAL TUITION PER STUDENT


30
278), that the only essential difference between the use of the voice in speech and in
song is the introduction of definite pitch steps (p. 279), and that interpretation is a vital
necessity in singing. Greatness in a singer does not turn on the ability to do tricks with
the voice, but on the ability to express music with the voice (p. 280). In the gendered
language of their day, they went on to stress that we must give the child something to
express in his singing, and help him to express it. This is the foundation of vocal
education" (p. 282).
While Christy (1970, p. 3) primarily believed in the song approach, he also stated
that singing is just as natural as speaking and, actually, is primarily elongation of the
vowels and extension of the pitch inflections commonly heard in the speaking voice,
which is a tenet of the speech method.
Nordholm (1966, p. 17), Street (1927, p. 9), Bairstow and Greene (1946, p. 10),
Westerman (1947, p. 9) and Weis (1936) suggested that the beginnings of singing are in
speech. Weis said that boys and girls learn to sustain the voice, thus producing the
singing tone. This leads to melodic production which is a more unusual form of expression
than the speech sounds of our language (p. 5). Street (1927, p. 9) defined singing as
The Artistic Intensification of Speech, and said that we accomplish it by changing the
power, pitch and duration of the syllables. Those who are studying singing are learning to
speak higher, louder and longer (Street, 1927, p. 11). Miller (1996) agreed that the
same functions of vowel definition, consonant formation, and general language
perception (p. 51) are needed in both speech and singing, but he went on to say that the
requirements for singing far exceed the demands of speech (p. 51), the major difference


90
as well as a minimum number of volunteer hours required of the parents. All of the boy
choirs in Farrells study required such forms before the boy could sing in the choir
(Farrell, 1976, p. 51).
Swears (1985, p. 16) stated that building a successful choral program needs good
parental support, and stressed keeping parents informed of goals and plans. She also
believed that parents need to be made aware of the teaching and learning opportunities
available to the members of the choir. One reason to recruit parents as volunteers is that
these people are more likely to be informed of the choirs objectives and opportunities as
they work with the staff of the organization.
Sewell (1990, p. 103) believed that parents play a key role in the building of a
boy choir program. He quoted one of his respondents who said Parents can make or
break an organization. Sewell went on to discuss the many ways in which parents can
become involved in the organization, including fund-raising, car pooling, chaperoning and
refreshments.
This study and others have shown that parents were involved in their childrens
choirs. They fulfilled a variety of functions and assumed much of the work that needed to
be done, thereby permitting the director to concentrate on the musical goals of the choirs
mission.
Recruiting
One choir director stated on the questionnaire that recruiting new members was a
problem because the community has other priorities and there are too many activities


113
Differences From School Choirs
Many school music teachers use little sacred music because of the fear of lawsuits
or of parental complaints. Community directors need to be conscious and respectful of the
different beliefs in the choir, but they have more freedom to teach sacred music. It can be
assumed that parents would be aware of the content of the repertoire of the organization
before permitting the child to enroll. Since the organization is privately funded, those
families which are offended can withdraw their membership.
Schools are more restricted in the time that can be afforded for choir rehearsal, so
music involving difficulties such as foreign languages might be forgone in favor of
repertoire which needs less time to teach. Extracurricular choirs can have longer and more
frequent rehearsal time and possibly the opportunity for section rehearsals in which to
accomplish these tasks.
Touring is also more restricted in a school setting because of the necessity for the
singers to meet class attendance requirements. Community choirs can use vacation time
for travel, avoiding the problems that come with missed classes and undone assignments.
Both school music programs and community choirs seek the best possible music
experiences for their singers. However, the programs which exist outside the schools have
more freedom in the music they use, in scheduling their rehearsals and concerts and in
their touring schedules.


142
35.Do you have a mental concept of your ideal childrens choir sound?
Yes
No
36.Ifno, how do you evaluate the sound of your choir?
37.Ifyes to question #35, please describe your ideal childrens choir sound.
38.How do you think of vocal registers?
a. Head voice-chest voice (registers)
b. Upper, middle and lower voice (registers)
c. Two distinct registers
d. Three distinct registers
e. One equalized register
f. Other; please specify
39.How do you teach registers? Please check all that apply.
a. Modeling
b. Having the children listen to recordings of other childrens choirs with the
desired sound
c. Praise children who are producing the desired sound
d. Meet privately with children who are not singing in the desired register
e. Other; please specify


126
QUESTIONNAIRE CRITIQUE FORM
Please rate this questionnaire on the following: (Circle your answers)
1. The length of the questionnaire was
too short too long just right
2. The directions were
clear unclear
3. The questions were
relevant to topic irrelevant to topic poorly written
4. Which questions were unclear? (Please list the question number.)
Why?
5. Are there any questions that you would eliminate?
yes no
If yes, list the number(s) and explain why for each. (Use the other side of the paper if
necessary.)
6.Are there any questions that should be added?
yes no
If yes, please explain. Use the other side of the paper if necessary.


115
Recommendations and Implications
For Directors
Those wishing to start a community childrens choir need to realize that this is not
a venture to be entered into lightly. Such an organization will consume much time, energy
and money. It will also require these valuable assets from the singers and their parents.
Before beginning a choir, a realistic budget should be written. This will allow
adequate money to be collected in registration fees and tuition. It will give the director an
id^a of how much money will be needed in grants and donations to purchase equipment
and supplies such as risers or folders. Writing applications for grants and requesting
donations will be easier if the director has a clear idea of what materials are needed and
how much money is needed for their purchase.
Directors need to plan for parental involvement. There are many tasks which need
to be accomplished if a choir is to run smoothly, and one person cannot possibly do them
all. If provision is made for parent volunteers, the work will be spread more evenly and
parents will feel that they have a part in their childs activity.
Just as plans need to be made for parents, so recruiting strategies need to be
formulated before the choir begins. Directors need to ascertain where potential singers
may be found and how best to reach them and their parents; they need to cultivate
associations with music teachers and church choir directors who can recommend singers;
and they need to select literature that will appeal to children.


12
Community choirs are not officially affiliated with a single church, school or other
organization. Choristers are drawn from the community and are not restricted to a single
organization (Bartle, 1988, p. 115).
Comprehensive music education is also known as comprehensive musicianship.
It blends elements of performance, theory, history and literature and composition into
each lesson (Campbell and Scott-Kassner, 1995, p. 57).
Concepts include rhythm, timbre, melody, harmony, form, style, tempo, dynamics,
articulation. These elements of music are the larger content areas from which small
portions are selected for one lesson plan or unit of study (Nye et al., 1992, p. 58).
Conductor is also known as director. One who leads the musical ensemble.
Fundamentals of music include the basics of music: pitch, pitch names, scales,
intervals, key signatures, duration (Ottman, 1961, p. 1-14).
Head Tones/Head Voice refers to a light, concentrated singing tone in which the
vocal bands contract for the higher pitches. The spaces in the pharynx and sinus cavity are
used for a resonating chamber (Bridges, 1993; Crocker, 1978, p. 17; Kemp, 1989, p. 10).
This is different from a falsetto voice (Phillips, 1992a, p. 50; Vennard, 1967, p. 250; O.
Wingate, personal communication, April 5, 1997).
Problem singer is one who lacks some or all vocal skills. (See Vocal Skills below.)
Tessitura is the range in which most of the notes, not including occasional high or
low notes, of a particular part are located.
Training choir is also known by other names such as junior choir or apprentice
choir.The primary function of such a group is to allow singers the opportunity to mature


Shes Like the Swallow
Doloff
Song for the Mira
MacGillivray/Calvert
Sound the Trumpet
Purcell/Erb
Stabat Mater
Pergolesi
Stars
Kuzmenko
To Music
Bertraux
When I Set Out For Lyonnesse
Bissell
Where the Music Comes From
Hoiby
Who Can Sail
Agnestig
Winds
Kuzmenko
All music is accompanied unless otherwise noted.
*a capella
Unison
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
3 part
Warner Brothers
2 part
Allison Publishing Co., Inc.
2 part
G. Schirmer, Inc.
3 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
2 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
2 part
Gordon V. Thompson
2 part
G. Schirmer, Inc.
3 part
Walton Music Corp.
2 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
o\
o


CHAPTER IV
RESULTS AND ANALYSES
Introduction
In this chapter, the results of this study are presented and discussed. Each choir
received a number to protect the confidentiality of the directors information. Numbers
were assigned consecutively as the questionnaires were received.
Developing the Survey Instrument
Community childrens choir directors in Florida and Georgia received a preliminary
questionnaire (Questionnaire A), asking for the names of choirs and directors and for
problem areas in their own choirs. The resulting difficulties were compiled and similar
comments were grouped under the same heading. There were fourteen different areas in
the 188 returned questionnaires.
Funding and Recruiting received the most comments, 35 and 29 respectively,
with Commitment (6), Parents (5), Time (4), and Organization (3), gamering far
fewer statements. Eight headings received one comment each. The many comments about
Funding and Recruiting may have been the result of the examples given in the stem
question of the questionnaire (see Figure 4-1).
59


137
Questionnaire for Community Childrens Choir Directors
Please answer the following questions. Additional paper, or the back of these pages, may be
used if needed. If there is more than one choir in your organization, please consider only the
senior, or concert, choir when answering these questions.
A. DIRECTORS BACKGROUND
1.What is your academic training?
a. Baccalaureate degree
b. Masters degree
c. Specialist or advanced certificate
d. Doctorate
e. Other; please specify
2.Where did you receive your degree(s)?
3. What field is your degree in?
4. What was your performance area as an undergraduate?
5. Have you directed other community childrens choirs?
6. Ifyes, please give the name(s) and location(s) of your choir(s).
7.How long did you direct each choir?
8.Where have your other community childrens choirs been located?
9.What experiences in your undergraduate studies HELPED prepare you for this directing
experience?


165
Brendell, J. (1997). Rehearsal breaks: Vocal development in the choral rehearsal: An
interview with Nancy Telfer. Choral Journal, 38(2), 27-31.
Bridges, M. S. (1993). The benefits of vocal exploration. General Music Today, 6(2),
30-34.
Buck, G. H. (1993). Teachers use of background music in general and special
education classrooms. Doctoral dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Bureau of the Census (April 6, 1999). www.census.gov.
Campbell, P. S., & Scott-Kassner, C. (1995). Music in childhood. New York:
Schirmer Books.
Chase, G. (1955). America's music: From the Pilgrims to the present. New York:
McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Christiansen, F. M. (1932). School of choir singing. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg
Publishing House.
Christy, V. A. (1970). Foundations in singing. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown
Company Publishers.
Clippinger, D. A. (1929). Fundamentals of voice training. New York: Oliver Ditson
Company.
Coffman, D. D. (1987). Vocal music and the classroom teacher, 1885 to 1905. Journal
of Research in Music Education, 33(2), 92-102.
Coker, T. C. (1984). Choral warm-up exercises as a key to teaching music literature
and vocal technique (Doctoral dissertation, University of Southern Mississippi, 1984).
Dissertation Abstracts International, 46, 1549A.
Coleman, S. N. (1922). Creative music for children. New York: G. P. Putnams Sons.
Crocker, C. F. (1978). Children can learn to sing! Nashville, TN: Convention Press.
Criswell, P. D. (1987). The Episcopal choir school and choir of men and boys in the
United States: Its Anglican tradition, its American past and present (Doctoral dissertation,
University of Maryland, College Park, 1987). Dissertational Abstracts International, 49,
1726A.


130
REMINDER POST CARD
Dear
You recently received a letter from me which asked you to participate in a study of
Floridas community childrens choirs. I have not received your signed consent form,
which was enclosed in that letter.
Please mail the signed consent form as soon as possible so that your experience and
knowledge may be included in this study.
If you need another form, please contact me.
Sincerely,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone number
E-mail address


121
REMINDER POST CARD
Dear
A questionnaire concerning children's community choirs was recently mailed to you. It
asked for information needed for a study at the University of Florida. Your input has not
been received and is eagerly anticipated.
If the original questionnaire has been misplaced, please contact me for another copy.
Thank you,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone Number
E-mail address


COMMUNITY CHILDRENS CHOIRS IN FLORIDA
Bach Festival Children's Choir
Rollins College Department of Music
1000 Holt Avenue
Winter Park, FL. 32789
Butterfly Childrens Chorus of Key Chorale
7676 Midnight Pass Road
Sarasota, FL 34242
Civic Kids
1634 Mount Vernon Street
Orlando, FL 32803
Gainesville Youth Choir
5924 N. W. 30th Terrace
Gainesville, FL 32653
Gulf Coast Youth Choirs
P.O. Box 273656
Tampa, FL 33688-3656
Highlands Children's Chorus
3906 Vilabella Drive
Sebring, FL 33872
(Disbanded in 1998)
Indian River Children's Chorus
1929 22nd Street
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Jacksonville University Children's Chorus
9460 Pickwick Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32257
Miami Choral Society: A Children's Choir
1533 Sunset Drive
#215
Miami, FL 33143
162


77
Vibrato, they said on the questionnaires, can be allowed to develop with maturity,
an opinion which was agreed with by five of the six directors in Farrells (1976, pp. 109,
155) study of boy choirs. Pre-puberty voices should be restricted in the amount of vibrato
heard, particularly if it is a problem.
According to information given on the questionnaire, five of the directors
considered that childrens voices have two distinct registers: a head voice and a chest
voice. Ideally, no break occurs between the registers; only one equalized register can be
heard, particularly after training. Only one director thought of the singing voice as having
three registers (upper, middle and lower) and one considered the voice to be one equalized
register.
In Farrells (1976, p. 108) study, the directors were divided in their opinions
regarding singing registers, as they were in this study. Of the six choirs used in his study,
three directors recognized two distinct registers: the head and chest voice, and three
reported three distinct registers; the head, middle and chest voice.
The most frequently mentioned method of teaching children to sing well was
modeling. All seven directors stated on the questionnaires that they show their children
how to sing by singing for them. They also used praise and had their choir listen to
recordings of other childrens choirs that sang with the desired sound. Three conductors
stated that they use private meetings or private coaching with their children to help them
achieve the desired sound. One director said in an interview that she had the child listen to
a tape recording of his or her own singing and critique it. This enabled the child to have a


19
notation, the latest national standards for music education strongly encourage concept
development (MENC, 1994). Knowledge about rhythm, melody, expressiveness,
harmony, form and style is included in a quality program of music instruction.
The Moravians, a religious movement that founded settlements in Pennsylvania
and North Carolina in the late 18th century, had a strong commitment to music education
and choral music. Their emphasis on music education and vocal instruction was not so
much a way of improving congregational singing as it was a means of maintaining
religious practices, cultivating aesthetic sensitivity, and preserving traditions. Moravian
children sang chorales and hymns for approximately forty-five minutes nearly every school
day, and, as they advanced into upper grades, added preclassical and classical sacred
choral literature to their repertoire (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 46; Hall, 1981).
Lowell Mason, an early 19th century music educator, was also concerned over the
sad state of congregational singing As one means of improving hymn singing, he preached
that all children could learn to sing, just as they could learn to read (Chase, 1955, p. 158;
Heller and Pemberton, 1996). This was contrary to popular opinion, which held that only a
select few who were naturally gifted could learn to sightread (Damrosch, 1908, p. 21).
Mason's music method book, Manual of the Boston Academy of Music for Instruction in
the Elements of Vocal Music on the System of Pestalozzi, published in 1834, was written
for the purposes of music literacy and vocal training (Phillips, 1992a, p 6) By teaching
children to sing well, he could improve singing in both the present and the future.
Under Mason's leadership, the children of Hawes Grammar School, a public school
of South Boston, on August 14, 1838, presented a choral concert in the sanctuary of


41
A holistic approach to choral music teaches singers more than the notes on the
page. Children can be engaged in cognitive activities, in addition to the physical act of
singing, which enables them to solve musical problems and to understand a unique form of
meaning (Eisner, 1981; Elliot, 1993; Monk, 1987; Rao, 1993a; Roe, 1983, p. x; Sample,
1966, p. 75). As children decide appropriate instrumentation to fit the mood of a song,
compose descants, research the life of a composer, or adapt song texts, they gain a deeper
understanding of music.
It appears that teachers are endeavoring to teach more than just the physical act of
singing, for Stafford (1987) found that elementary school music teachers regarded music
literacy and increased sensitivity to music as among the most important outcomes of
vocal instruction. His respondents also said that teachers needed to know techniques
related to the production of good vocal sound, motivational techniques for singing and
how to assess their own singing instruction.
Vocalises
Warm-up exercises and specific facets of the music under consideration are
included in this complete approach to choral music education. Rather than an abstract
exercise rushed through as quickly as possible so that the real rehearsing can begin,
vocalises should be used as a teaching tool (Brendell, 1997; Farrell, 1976, p. 110; Goetze,
1988; Jensen, 1995; Rao, 1993a; Robinson and Althouse, 1995; Whitten, 1996). Choral
learning is expedited by deriving the warm-ups from the music under consideration
(Coker, 1984; L. Gackle, workshop, February 2, 1997). If drills are to be used, let


46
problems. Ferreira (1993) concurred, stating that college students have the necessary skills
and the opportunity to do great choral literature, but they cannot always make the transfer
of what they know and have experienced when it comes to teaching children.
Phillips (1993) said that new teachers often have no idea what a childs singing
voice should sound like and do not know what to do to correct vocal problems. He called
on teacher training institutes to do a better job of preparing teachers in this most
important area of child vocal production.
Summary
With so many decisions to be made in the conducting and organizing of a
childrens choir, directors and teachers needed additional resources to which they could
turn for help, and the ACDA National Committee on Children's Choirs was organized in
1979 (Rao, 1995). The first full meeting was at the 1981 ACDA National Convention in
New Orleans (Rao, 1989). The organizer of the committee, Doreen Rao, stated that the
main aim of the committee was to:
develop a national awareness of children's choirs: (a) as an instrument of
artistic excellence; (b) as a resource basic to music education; and (c) as a
means of reviving the joy of singing in American culture. (Rao, 1989)
Many community children's choirs currently exist across the United States, and the
work of these choirs and their directors has compelled publishers and composers to
improve the quality of the music they produce for these groups (Tagg, 1993). Books,


6
The Role of Parents
Parents occupy an important place in the choral organization. The director may
gratefully receive their efforts in collecting money, sweeping the floor, arranging parties or
distributing music, or, fearing the stage door mother syndrome, purposely keep them at
a distance. The management of parents can be of utmost importance to the choir, since
they are responsible for the childs participation. The parental role is an important part of
the total choir picture.
Reflection of the Community
The ideal of the community choir is an organization that reflects the racial,
religious, cultural and socio-economic groups of the community as much as possible.
Goetze (1988) made the case for the choral experience to be available to more than a
chosen few, and special arrangements may be necessary to assure that transportation,
location, and finances do not preclude any child from membership. If music educators
truly believe that music is for everyone, an issue germane to this study is the recruitment
and retention of children from every area of the community.
Funding
While operating a choir without money is possible, it would be extremely difficult
to do so. Fledgling choirs can borrow music, schedule rehearsals in an obliging church or
community center and request that children wear the ubiquitous white shirt and dark
slacks uniform, but a growing and flourishing organization eventually needs to spend


professional organizations, workshops, journals and informal collegial discussions are the
training ground for educators who are concerned about their skills in teaching children to
sing.
Questions Investigated
This investigation studied seven community childrens choirs as they existed in the
state of Florida in 1998. A brief history and the size of the membership were obtained
from each choir. Information was acquired about the preparation and training of choir
directors, particularly in the area of child voice training; the organizational structure of the
choirs; and their repertoire and funding. Data were acquired to attempt to determine
whether or not these choirs reflected the racial, socio-economic status and cultural
diversities of the communities they represented.
The first question pertained to the history and purpose of each choir. During the
investigation, choirs were located the choirs and a brief history of the choir, consisting of
age and reason for founding, was obtained.
It was important to examine the voice training philosophy of the conductor
because this has a profound impact on the vocal sound of the choir. The sound is a direct
result of how that conductor views the child voice. Investigation of that philosophy
provided insight into how the director regards the childs voice, its use and training. What
the director thinks about childrens singing plays a key role in determining the sound of the
choir, but equally important is the technique used to implement that philosophy.
Examination of custom accompanied investigation into ideology. The practices of


56
Weekly reminders were used to encourage completion of the final two outstanding
questionnaires. All questionnaires were received by early June 1998. One completed
questionnaire was returned by fax machine, five were mailed, and one was completed by
telephone interview since the director had recently had hand surgery. A response rate of
100% was achieved.
Concert Attendance
The author attended the concerts of four choirs to collect more data regarding
repertoire, vocal techniques and organization. These concerts proved valuable because
information and materials were obtained that were not considered in constructing the
questionnaire and personal contact was made with the directors. Concerts of the
remaining choirs were not attended because travel distances were great, the choir was no
longer in existence, or the director could not be contacted for a definite date and time of
the concert.
Attendance at concerts provided information about fimd-raising, corporate
support, costumes, choreography, choir size, stage settings, and printed program eye
appeal. Handwritten notes were taken about the concerts, conversation with directors and
parents and the music.
Personal Contact
After the questionnaire was received and studied, five formal and informal
interviews were conducted in person, by telephone and by e-mail. These conversations


79
p. 113) suggested that posture is one area that can be concentrated on during the warm
up section of a rehearsal.
Along with drills and exercises designed to teach posture, breathing drills were
also used by each director. Directors used a large variety of exercises to make children
aware of the importance of breath. One director used the exercises to activate and
identify the muscles involved in breathing and to elongate breath for long phrases. A
director wrote on the questionnaire that he used breathing drills to get the diaphragm
going, while another wanted to help singers realize that they can sing longer phrases
with one breath because, as a director said, singers dont speak in long phrases.
As with posture and breathing, directors had procedures designed to build vocal
technique. Study of the music being rehearsed was possibly the favorite way, being
mentioned on the questionnaire by six of the directors. They rehearsed trouble spots in
isolation, taught the desired singing skills, and reassembled the composition.
These techniques were used to plant the sound, and then get it into the
repertoire, or, as one director put it, because it works. Directors also used this as a
time management system, since to base vocal exercises on a passage from the music
accomplishes two tasks at once: learning the music and building skills. Two directors
agreed that this technique relates the technique to the music and made a more
immediate connection to why the technique is necessary in a particular piece.
All the directors used vocal warm-ups in rehearsal. These were used not only to
warm up the muscles used in singing, but to prepare the voice and body for work. One
director said on the questionnaire that vocal warm-ups are critical to build sound, tone


141
29.If yes to #27, what offices do students fill? Please check all that apply.
a. President
b. Vice-president
c. Librarians
d. Section leaders
e. Other; please specify
E. VOCAL TRAINING
30. Where did you learn how to teach children to sing? Please check all that apply.
a. Undergraduate school
b. Graduate school
c. Workshops
d. Books
e. Self-study
fi Professional journals
g. Conversations with colleagues
h. Other; please specify
31. Which PROFESSIONAL JOURNALS do you subscribe to?
32. Which PROFESSIONAL JOURNALS have been the most help to you in learning
about childrens singing?
33.Which BOOKS have been the most help to you in learning about childrens singing?
34.Which WORKSHOPS or CLINICIANS have the most help to you in learning about
childrens singing?


money. How and where the director obtains these funds is of vital importance to the
continued existence of the choir.
Scheduling
Children have access to many different activities. Participation in sports, the arts,
church and school organizations and family activities takes time that may otherwise be
available for singing. Since the child has little input into rehearsal and concert scheduling,
but suffers the consequences of any conflicts that arise, membership in the choir frequently
depends on how well this issue is handled by the adults. This may be especially important
with children from specific ethnic populations whose religious festivals or cultural
celebrations may not coincide with mainstream American calendars. Thus, an issue which
is pertinent to this study is how directors arrange their rehearsal and concert calendars and
motivate their singers to commit the necessary time and energy.
Directors Education
Phillips (1985b) stated that beginning teachers are often ill-equipped to handle the
child voice because they are not adequately prepared to Tace the problems encountered
in teaching children to sing. Undergraduate instrumental majors are particularly lacking in
voice training, he said, but they often take jobs that require teaching voice.
If formal education does not prepare childrens directors to teach children to sing,
then it becomes necessary to know where directors are receiving their training so that
choral and music education groups provide adequate resources. It may be that


70
Choir VII
Choir VI
Choir V
Choir IV
Choir m
Choir n
Choir I
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
Figure 4-2 NUMBER OF SINGERS
Girls outnumbered boys in all of these choirs. The two women directors reported a
lower percentage of boys in their choirs, with 17% and 18%, while the men had greater
success in recruiting boys. Choir II had 21% boys, Choir VII had 27%, Choir VI had
34%, and Choir III had the highest percentage of boys with 47%. However, the lowest
percentage of boys, 10%, was found in Choir V, with a male director (see Figure 4-3).
This would seem to suggest that male directors are more successful at attracting boys.


102
group, since parents will not want to waste their money. Those families who have
neglected tuition payments may be more liable to become lax about prompt and regular
attendance. The Houston Childrens Choir has found that requiring parents to be liable for
all tuition payments, even if the child stops coming to the choir, has almost stopped drop
out (S. Roddy, personal communication, July 27, 1998).
The larger issue of teaching the child to honor a commitment to the organization
also needs to be considered. Those children who are permitted to participate in too many
activities, and who attend practices or rehearsals as whim dictates, miss learning all the
skills and knowledge available in an activity. They also miss acquiring the valuable life
assets of dependability and responsibility. Directors can help children in this area by
formulating a policy regarding attendance and participation and adhering to that policy.
Summary
A chart which compares the choirs participating in this study (see Figure 4-6)
makes it quickly apparent that each choir is unique in many aspects. Choirs are suited to
the needs of their communities and the goals and capabilities of the directors. As the
secretary of one director said in an interview after the Christmas concert, Our Christmas
program is not the traditional stand-up-and-sing concert, but we sell out the theater for
two nights. The choreography and costumes we use might be frowned on by other
directors, but it suits our city. In the spring we do a more traditional program.
The total choral organizations ranged in size from 32 to 200 and most have existed
for less than ten years. Concerts ranged from a traditional choral concert to a Christmas


50
(see Appendix B). The mailing of Questionnaire A ceased when the information received
was redundant. A total of 282 questionnaires was mailed. Eighteen were returned as
undeliverable, while 188 were completed and returned for a response rate of 67%. The
questionnaire revealed that seventeen choirs existed in Florida and Georgia was
eliminated from the study.
Director Contact
In January 1998, each of the seventeen directors received a letter which asked
them to participate in this study. This letter outlined the study and told the recipients what
would be expected of them and promised confidentiality. The letter contained a form
which the directors were requested to sign, stating that they consented to be a part of the
study. A stamped, self-addressed envelope was also enclosed in the letter. Several
attempts were made by telephone, postal cards and e-mail to contact those directors who
did not respond to the letter, requesting that they participate in the study. Responses to
that letter made it possible to determine that three choirs were not useable: one existed
only as a teaching laboratory for students at a large state university; one choir in a small
community had ceased to exist after one year; and one choir never formally came into
existence because the director had too many other commitments.
Of the fourteen remaining choirs, four directors did not respond to the request to
participate. Follow-up letters, reminder postcards, e-mail and telephone calls were all
used in an attempt to secure the participation of each director, but there was no response
from these four. Two other directors stated that their choirs no longer existed, principally


62
The conductor of Choir I stated in an interview that the group began because she
had worked with church childrens choirs, and wanted to expand her repertoire and
technique. She heard the Toronto Childrens Choir at an ACDA convention and was
impressed by the sound and musicality of the group. The choir began with about 20
children and expanded to four choirs with a total enrollment of 116 singers.
Choir II was a smaller group, with all children singing in the same choir. It began
shortly after the director moved into the community and found that there was no
childrens choir. He stated in an interview that he was motivated to begin the group
because children are not often give the opportunity to produce music of a high caliber, but
are constantly surrounded by the sounds of the popular culture. The group moved from a
church setting to a local university campus as the result of a conversation during a chance
encounter between the director and the chair of the department of music.
The Toronto Childrens Chorus was indirectly responsible for the beginning of
Choir III. As the director wrote on his questionnaire, he felt that the school music
program was inadequate, and that talent existed in community and I wanted to prove it!
He elaborated on this answer in an interview, when he recounted how he had spent several
days at a Toronto Childrens Choir Camp and became acquainted with the staff. Two
years later he was talking with the artistic director of the Toronto Choir, who spoke about
the problems she was having with transportation for an upcoming tour. The director
helped with the bus problem in return for a concert in his city. He then had seven months
in which to make preparations for forming a choir in the wake of the excitement generated
by the singing of the Toronto Choir. The initial choir had thirty-five members.


78
better idea of what he or she sounded like and how that differed from the desired sound,
thus making it easier and quicker to produce the sound the director was seeking.
One director stated that he had the children do vocal exercises in different
registers, identifying the sound and feel of each. This made it possible to discuss the
registers and request a particular sound needed for a specific musical selection.
When encouraging their singers to produce the desired sound, directors had
particular phrases which they had found to work. Among them were: Dont sound like
kindergartners, move the sound forward in your mouth, energize, sparkle, float,
spin the sound, and sing on the breath.
Every director answered yes when asked if posture and breathing were related,
which agreed with Chivingtons statement that once posture is in place, the children can
practice breathing (1998). The reasoning was that changing posture changes sound,
that proper alignment leads to better or more effective inhalation, or that good posture
allows better breathing and an expanded rib cage. One director stated on the
questionnaire that demonstrations made a believer out of him. Stuffr (1998) concurred,
stating that one of the most common problems with singing ... is poor posture and that
poor posture makes proper breathing difficult.
To achieve the desired posture, all the directors had developmental drills that they
used. These drills were used because, as one director said on the questionnaire, they
work. Another director said that good posture was achieved through drills and through
nagging and praising. He also used a general description of good posture. Bartle (1988,


11
3. The choirs in this study were community based. While they may have met in
school, church, or community facilities, they drew singers from, and sang concerts in, the
community at large.
4. This study focused on the directors and their perceptions of choirs. In addition,
the investigation examined the membership of the choirs. The opinions and attitudes of
parents and choristers were not included.
Assumptions
1. It was assumed that the directors of all choirs had an undergraduate degree in
music.
2. It was assumed that the directors understood a basic choral vocabulary. Words
such as vocalise, audition, and pitch-matching were not defined on correspondence
with the directors.
Definitions
Children's choir is a choral organization in which the participants have treble voices
with a range of Bb below middle C to 5th line F in treble clef (Nye et al., 1992, p. 237).
These children are typically aged eight through sixteen (Tagg, 1993), approximately
grades 3-11.
Chest Voice is a heavy, usually loud, singing voice. It results in an inability to sing
notes in the top two lines and spaces of the treble clef staff (Bridges, 1993; Kemp, 1989,
p. 10; Phillips, 1992a, p. 43-44; Swears, 1985, p. 63).


44
Bartle (1988, p. 112) said that her new members, called apprentices, are seated
beside an apprentice trainer for rehearsals and sing as much of the home concerts as
they can manage. She had a Training Chorus comprised of apprentices, children who
have a lovely sound and excellent ears but not the skills to match (Shrock, 1990).
Membership in either the Training Chorus or the Full Chorus is based on skill
development rather than age (Shrock, 1990).
While directors may or may not use auditions to eliminate children from the choir,
they can use them to assess other areas that are also important in a choir, such as maturity,
interest, and social skills. Information gained in this way is useful in planning repertoire
and concert schedules and in determining what vocal skills need to be taught.
Parents
Elementary age children commonly share the values of their parents (Swears,
1985, p. 16), thus making it crucial to secure and maintain the interest of all the parents
connected with a childrens choral organization. Welles (1995a, p. 5) recognized the role
of parents, and says that these dedicated individuals.. help the Music Director take care
of all the details that are required for the chorus itself to function. This is especially true
in a new or small organization that does not have the funds to hire workers. But she was
careful to say that parents must always function under the guidance of the director (p. 6).
When possible candidates for the Board of Directors are discussed, she omitted parents
from her list of candidates (p. 8), although she later suggested former chorus parents as
potential Board members (1995a, p. 17.)


85
experience rather than for the concepts that can be taught with it. A director who
selected music with teaching possibilities stated that excellent music provides for musical
growth. Another director looks for music suitable (in range) for my voices and then
uses it to teach specific concepts. Music is selected for its intrinsic beauty, not for the
concepts which can be taught with it, which is consistent with the mission of a group
organized to sing, as these choirs are.
Music concepts can be taught with activities other than singing, and directors were
asked about their use of such teaching strategies. Only two directors did not use these
alternate methods, stating on the questionnaire that doing so was time consuming,
usually not necessary, and it was not connected to the music. One who used such
activities did so to increase musicianship.
The learning activities used to teach music concepts are varied and included such
things as moving, listening (six directors), singing (five directors), sight reading (three
directors), and playing instruments (two directors). Every director taught music reading
with the music the choir is performing because this broadens the learning experience,
and meets the goals and objectives of the choir. Music reading has immediate benefits
to the organization since singers who can read music can learn parts faster and easier,
making a larger repertoire possible.
Repertoire
Repertoire seemed to present one of the biggest problems for directors. Three
respondents specifically stated on their questionnaires that they would welcome


101
adequate rehearsal time was difficult, listing parental and child over-involvement as the
main reasons.
Scouting was not listed as a conflicting activity, but school, sports, and church
organizations were listed on the questionnaire by all directors as presenting obstacles to
rehearsals and concerts. Two directors said that consideration also had to be given to
dance, drama and music lessons. Because other activities can keep singers away from
choir activities, directors must formulate a policy regarding absences early in the life of the
choir so that this issue does not become a problem.
To work around these obstacles, directors used a variety of tactics which they
listed on the questionnaire. Five permitted a maximum number of absences, while another
ignored conflicting events. Three choirs required a parental note after an absence, and
two asked their singers to sign a contract which committed them to giving the choir
priority. One director met with the coaches and sponsors of other activities and worked
out a mutually agreeable calendar for concerts and rehearsals. One choirs rehearsal days
were changed from Wednesday to Thursday to avoid the rehearsals of other activities. The
director said in an interview that this choir also divides the choral year into two seasons:
Fall (which includes the Christmas concert) and Spring (January until May). Children paid
tuition for each season separately and were not required to participate in both seasons.
The director felt that this gave children the opportunity to explore other interests without
slighting any.
Requiring payment of all, or most, of the tuition at the beginning of the choir year
may create a natural aid to complete participation in all the rehearsals and concerts of the


29
7. Speechsinging is speech which is prolonged and intensified
8. Organic Co-ordination~singing is the end product of the processes of
breathing, phonation, articulation and resonation
9. Local Effortby controlling the bodily processes, one controls the voice
10. Modem Scientificonly science will teach you how to be a good singer. ..
vocal training should be considered as a special outgrowth of its parent sciences,
physiology and acoustics
11. Phonetic placementvowel sounds should control the voice
12. Psycho-Physiological Acousticalsinging is a physical skill that requires a
definite procedure for technical development, and is psychological to such a high degree
that what the singer thinks and how he feels may unconsciously be reflected in the color of
his voice
13. Registerbridging the registers is an important and delicate process
14. Respirationhe who knows how to breathe knows how to sing (Ross, 1959,
p. 26-27)
Many authors, while advocating one of the above methods or another not listed,
allowed elements of other philosophies to creep in. Clippinger (1929, p. 5-6) wrote that
Like everything else tone exists first as idea, which is aligned with the psychological
approach, but went on to state that Every beautiful tone is scientifically produced,
which the scientific philosophy advocates.
A variety of philosophies are found in Mursell and Glenn (1931). They stated that
the application of science to the problems of vocal work ... is particularly valuable (p.


45
The Houston Childrens Choir published a Parents Handbook (1995-96) which
provided general information for both singers and parents. It stated that Tarents are not
permitted to attend any rehearsal. We also ask that parents not enter the rehearsal
building except for certain specified activities. It also states that when parents are present
at any concerts, they may not in any way interfere with the . staff.
The free labor available from the parents of singers can be invaluable. Volunteers
free the director from the endless details than can be involved in the administration of a
choir. Also, parents may posses skills and knowledge in areas such as law, finance or
advertising that the director does not have. Parents must always work under the leadership
of the director if the choir is to function smoothly and meet the goals that the conductor
has established.
Director Education
Phillips (1985b) said that many children never learn to use their singing voices
confidently. This is not because the children are unable to learn to sing, but because they
are not taught to do so. He blamed some music education programs, saying that
undergraduates are not given the necessary training that will prepare them to teach
children to sing. This is especially true of those engaged in instrumental studies, for they
are often not required to study voice.
Music teachers who have had little, or no, vocal training, or whose training
focused on a mature voice that was capable of matching pitch and using a head voice,
may have a difficult time making the adjustment to immature voices with significant


22
This trend continued into the 20th century. Science gave way to progressive as
a euphemism for modem, but the emphasis on the testable facts of music remained.
Music history, analysis, creativity, and rhythmic activities were incorporated into the music
lessons (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 187).
By 1923, Songs of Childhood, edited by Will Earhart, T. P. Giddings and Ralph
Baldwin, showed a turn toward a more aesthetic approach in its emphasis of music
appreciation and melody writing (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 188). The Music Hour,
originally published in 1929, continued the trend. The authors stated that one of the
purposes of the book was to show that music shall make the child happier and more
sensitive to beauty and, as a socializing force, shall enable him to adjust himself more
sympathetically to his environment (McConathy, Miessner, Birge and Bray, 1929, p. iii).
In the 1930s, the song approach became popular in American music education as
teachers tried to foster aesthetic experiences in their students. By singing beautiful songs,
it was felt, children would learn to sing and become attuned to the beauty of music. It is
the duty, therefore, of every supervisor and teacher to devote intelligently directed effort
toward securing from the class a beautiful singing tone (McConathy et al., 1929, p. 1)
The vocal training, with its breathing exercises, which had been a part of music
classes, was largely abandoned (Farrior, 1993, p. 13 ; Phillips, 1992a, p. 10). Phillips
(1992a, p. 58) argued that this neglect of vocal training resulted in the general lowering of
the child singing range. Pitch ranges of songs in the early basal series often required that
children sing to f2 of the treble staff Today, pitch ranges generally have been lowered . .
(Phillips, 1992a, p. 16). The pitch range of early music series may have been pitched high


87
corrected within the context of the music. The directors in Farrells (1976, pp. 151, 157)
study also said that personal preferences and audience appeal were the principal criteria
for the selection of music.
The vocal range of the music selected fell generally between middle C and fifth line
F. Three directors have considered music that goes as high as G or A, while one said on
his questionnaire that he liked to keep the music in the upper range, but had considered a
lower range if it fit the text.
Directors have sought music that is appropriate for their singers and has intrinsic
value. However, they have also commissioned new music, a practice advocated by
Boonshaft (1996) and practiced by many choirs in Rhodens study (1971, p. 422). Four
of the seven directors stated that their groups had commissioned music, and they are not
alone. Ferreira (1993) noted that one trend in childrens choral music is that the need for
excellent choral repertoire by childrens choirs has resulted in the . publication of many
newly commissioned works.
The study participants plan to do so again, one stating that a new work is
commissioned every season. In two choirs, the director did any necessary writing or
arranging.
Works which have been commissioned by the choirs involved in this study are:
AkakomborerwaLee Kesselman~4 part treble; percussion accompaniment; Boosey &
Hawkes, Inc.
The Boy Who Laughed at Santa ClausEric WhitacreSATB and Childrens choir;
chamber orchestra and piano accompaniment; unpublished manuscript available from
the composer.


49
Procedures
Determining the Population
The National Directory of Childrens Choirs (ACDA, 1995) was consulted as an
initial source of information because it contained the names and addresses of 3,985
people (B. Tagg, personal communication, November 7, 1995) who self-reported an
interest in childrens choirs. The Childrens Choir section of the directory listed 91
addresses in Florida and 104 in Georgia, for a total of 195. Georgia was originally
included because it was feared that Florida might not have more than two or three choirs.
In June 1996, each of these 195 people received a questionnaire (Questionnaire
A) (see Appendix A) that asked if they directed a childrens choir, for information about
similar choirs which they might know, and for the names of childrens choir directors
whose work they admired. Each name in the returned instrument also received a copy of
Questionnaire A.
The questionnaires were mailed with a cover letter on University of Florida
stationery which explained the reason for the information request. A stamped, self-
addressed envelope was included. Approximately ten to fourteen days after the original
mailing, a reminder post card was mailed to nonrespondents. When a response still was
not received, they received a second letter and another copy of the questionnaire. If this
letter did not produce results, recipients received reminder telephone calls and e-mail
messages (Fowler, 1984, p. 54).
Informants were also asked about areas of concern for choirs in order that
information might be acquired which would aid in the development of Questionnaire B


106
A study was done by asking community childrens choir directors in Florida to
participate in a survey and interviews. Since this was the initial work in this field, this
manner of seeking information was appropriate (Merriam 1988, p. 27; R. R. Sherman,
personal communication, November 17, 1997.).
This investigation targeted several specific areas of community childrens choirs.
Among them were: vocal pedagogy, vocalises, concert repertoire, parental roles, funding,
scheduling, director training, and auditions. These areas were selected as a result of a
literature review, conversations and written communications with choir directors.
Methodology
Each of the seven childrens community choir directors in Florida who agreed to
participate in the study constituted the population for this study. A 132-item
questionnaire (Questionnaire B) (see Appendix B) was developed to gather information
about seven childrens community choirs in Florida. Data were also collected through
personal interviews, concert attendance, telephone conversations, workshop attendance
and e-mail messages.
Discussion
It would seem that there should be more childrens community choirs in a state as
heavily populated as Florida. But, while Florida ranked first in the nation in the number of
residents 65 years old and over, it was in 47th place in the size of the population 18 years
old and under (Bureau of the Census, 1999). Many of the residents no longer had children


63
The conductor of Choir IV answered on the questionnaire that she formed the
current choir because children requested it. The director also wanted to direct a choir that
sang sacred music and provided home-schooled children an opportunity for a large-group
music experience. Additional details were learned during an interview with the director
when she told about the girls choir which had existed several years previously, but had
been disbanded. The director called singers who had been members of the girls choir and
were under the age of sixteen, put an advertisement in the newspaper and asked parents to
pass out flyers announcing auditions for the group. A small amount of money remained in
the girls choir bank account with which to purchase music for the new group.
The current director did not establish Choir V, but he stated that the group began
as an adult choir. The adults separated from the organization some time ago and formed
another choral society, leaving the original association to the children. This was the only
choir in this study which the founder did not lead.
Choir VI was conceived as a childrens show choir, as the director stated in
answer to an e-mail question. His reply on the questionnaire said that children and parents
requested that he form the group and that he wanted to work with a childrens choir. A
publicity brochure from the choir stated that the director believed that children could
achieve artistic excellence equal to adults and that this unique troupe provides the . .
area with a professional ensemble of talented young performers.
The director of Choir VII wrote on the questionnaire that a request from the local
symphony orchestra for a childrens choir to sing in the Christmas concert was the


37
may be heavy, dark or shouty (p. 63). If the chest voice is extended into the upper
register, a definite, abrupt break in the voice may occur around the middle of the staff (A,
B, or C) as the child attempts to force the lower voice to sing higher notes. Bringing the
light quality of the head voice down into the lower range avoids the break, and the singing
will have a more consistent tone (p. 63).
Authors agreed that the head voice is the more desirable sound, and that children
should be allowed to sing in a chest voice only after the head voice has been mastered. A
head voice can be produced by singing softly and avoiding the lowest section of the treble
clef staff. This prevents the heavy, coarse sound heard by singers using a chest voice and
results in a lighter sound.
Range and Tessitura in Childrens Songs
Perusal of childrens music elementary textbooks from the earlier part of the 20th
Century (Giddings, Earhart, Baldwin and Newton, 1923; McConathy, Miessner, Birge and
Bray, 1944) shows a higher tessitura than is commonly found in contemporary textbooks
(Diaz, 1980). This finding corresponds with recommended song ranges of the same time
period. Hubbard (1908, p. 29) called for a range of first line E flat up to fourth space E
flat and Giddings (1919, p. 31) stated that children of the kindergarten or first grade
should never sing below E (first line) or F. They may safely sing to the G above
the staff. Gehrkens (1934, p. 93) agreed, saying that kindergarten children can sing songs
between first line E and fourth space E. As the child matures, the range broadens and, by
grade 5, has extended from first ledger line B to G above the treble staff. He went on to


Go Where I Send Thee
Gospel Spiritual/Caldwell and Ivory
3 part
Earthsongs
Hine Ma Tov
Naplan
2 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
I m Laughing and Shouting
(from Cantata No. 15)
Bach/Rao
2 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Inflammatus etAscensus
(included in Pergolesi Suite)
Pergolesi
2 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
Hopkins/Taylor
Unison or 3 part
Unpublished manuscript
Jentends le moulin
Patriquin
2 part
Earthsongs
Jerusalem
Perry
Unison
Warner Bros.
* Jubilate Deo
Praetorious
2, 3, or 4 part round
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
The Lord Bless You and Keep You
Rutter
2 part
Hinshaw Music, Inc.
My Country
(25 minute program)
Jacobs/Wilson
2 part
Hope Publishing Co.
Niska Banja
Serbian Gypsy Folksong/Page
4 part
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Oliver Cromwell
Britten
Unison
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
The Path to the Moon
Thiman
Uniison
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Pie Jesu (from Requiem)
Faure/Stultz
Unison
Momingstar Music


98
When tuition payments were discussed with the treasurer of Choir IV, she said that
they usually had very little trouble collecting the money when it was due. One family still
owed tuition for spring semester when the year-end concert was over, but other families
had paid quickly and in a timely fashion. In addition to tuition, a registration fee was
sometimes required. The fee for Choir I was $130, and was payable in Hill regardless of
the month in which the child joined the choir.
Scholarships and sponsorships are obvious solutions for children who cannot
afford the tuition, and these remedies are used by the choirs. The number of scholarships
must be limited, however, in order for the choir to have enough money to operate.
Soliciting funds, making presentations and writing grants can demand large
amounts of time and effort, so it would seem prudent for choirs to appoint someone to be
responsible for this important area. The increased availability of funds would permit more
and larger scholarships, and this would allow the choir to grow in size.
Choirs also relied on fundraisers and contributions to meet the budget. One choir
director reported that after the choir was featured in a local newspaper article, a reader
called the director and offered a gift of $5,000, which, as the director said, pretty much
takes care of the budget for at least two years.
Another means of raising money was by selling advertisements in the concert
programs. Attendance at concerts showed several ways in which choirs encouraged
donations. Choir I included self-addressed envelopes in its spring concert program and the
conductor urged members of the audience to give money to the choir by using the
envelopes and dropping them in the mail. Choir VII listed all contributors in the Christmas


144
49.Why do you develop vocal technique in this way?
50. In what environment do you teach vocal technique?
a. Private lessons
b. Small group lessons
c. Regular rehearsals
d. Other; please specify
F. VOCALISES
51. Do you include vocal warm-ups in rehearsal?
Yes
No
52.Why or why not?
Ifno, skip to Section G.
53.Do you vocally warm-up with vocal exercises or with drills based on problem areas in
the music you are singing?
a. Vocal exercises
b. Drills based on problem areas in the music
c. Both of the above
d. Other; please specify
54.Do you isolate problems in the music and seek to correct them in vocal warm-ups?
Yes
No
55.Why or why not?


17
maidens to mean unmarried girls, with the reminder that girls married at a much earlier
age than today. King Solomon used girl choirs in his second temple and in his court
orchestra (Drinker, 1948, p. 133).
The ancient Greeks employed girl choristers in the worship of goddesses They
assisted the priestesses, and were an important part of the religious and musical life of
Greece until long after the beginning of the Christian Era (Drinker, 1948, p. 91-92).
Church leaders in the second century sponsored girls in church choirs. One of the most
famous girl choirs was in the parish of Bishop Paul of Samosata. Other girl choirs existed
in Jerusalem in A. D. 392, being used to sing psalms and antiphons (Drinker, 1948, p.
161).
The most famous choral opportunities for girls were possibly those at the four
Venetian ospedali in the 17th and 18th centuries. There were eventually four hospitals, or
orphanages, that grew from trade schools into excellent music schools performing music
by Pergolesi, Vivaldi, and Hasse (Mariani, 1997; Meredith, 1997). Notable among these
was the Ospedali della Pieta, which Dr. Charles Burney visited in 1771. He attended a
performance and described the singing as really excellent. In his writings on these
Italian conservatories, he made reference to girl choirs that sang the psalms in English
churches (cited in Neuls-Bates, 1982, p.67-68).
Childrens Choirs
Boy and girl choirs were not a subject for debate in the early days of America, but
the poor state of church congregational singing was a topic of much concern. One of the


55
Questionnaire B, the final survey instrument, had both open- and closed-ended
format. The closed form questions gave the respondent several possible answers from
which to select the best response. The open-ended questions were based on the closed-
form items, and sought to clarify and amplify the information obtained from the
respondent (Farrell, 1967, p. 6).
Most of the questions were in the closed format. Self-administered questionnaires
frequently use closed questions since open-format items require constructing answers in
the respondents own words. This may make the task difficult enough to affect response
rates. Inquiries which the respondent self-administers gave the individual time to research
the answers (Fowler, 1984, p. 64, 66), and thus may have rendered more valid
information. Items for which the respondent could not find a suitable category could be
answered as 'other,' and an explanation given.
The responses to the directors questionnaire were largely responsible for
determining the areas covered in personal interviews. The directors raised new areas of
interest or their answers revealed areas where additional information was needed, and this
material provided the basis for interview questions.
Surveying the Population
In February and March 1998, Questionnaire B was mailed to the directors who
consented to participate in the study. To secure the highest possible response rate,
reminder post cards, follow-up letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls were used. If
the participant did not answer the telephone, a message was left on the answer machine.


118
3. The attitudes of the children toward the choir can be studied. When directors
know why children join the choir and what makes the choir attractive to them, they can
shape the program into one which might attract other children.
Also of interest is whether singers belong to more than one choir, possibly one at
church and/or at school. If they already belong to one choir, further investigation might
be made into the reasons for joining another group.
4. The attitudes of parents toward the choir can be studied. Recruiting efforts
could be more usefully directed if directors knew how parents become aware of choirs and
why they think that this is a worthwhile expenditure of time and money.
5. How participation in a childrens choir affects both future vocational and
avocational choices is a subject which would be worth studying. It would be useful to
know how many children enroll in senior high music ensembles, major in music,
participate in adult community or church groups, or are regular attendees at symphony
concerts as a result of membership in a childrens choir. This information could provide a
basis for soliciting support from groups which ultimately benefit from early beginnings in
music.


95
Choir VI
Choir V
Choir IV
Choir HI
Choir II
Choir I
$0 $40,000 $80,000 $120,000 $160,000
Figure 4-4 CHOIR BUDGETS
Information from the questionnaire responses showed that the largest portion,
often approximately 50%, of each choirs budget was reserved for salaries. Choir I
devoted 56% of its budget to the salaries for its various personnel, while 50% of the
budget for Choir VI was spent in salaries. The treasurer of Choir IV said in an interview
that the director was paid $100 per hour and the accompanist $60 per hour. Both gave
their salaries back to the organization, taking the tax deduction for a charitable donation as
their salary.
The next largest portion was spent on music, according to questionnaire responses,
and it was usually a much smaller percentage of the whole. Choir I spent approximately


75
choirs in Farrells 1976 study had an average of 3.17 persons on their musical staffs (p.
15).
Each of these additional people required money for salaries, supplies and expenses,
however, and, unless the funds can be secured through increased tuition or gifts, this may
make a larger staff prohibitive. Unpaid workers are always a possibility, but the quality of
work may not be what is desired and it is more difficult to dismiss the services of an eager
volunteer.
Only two choirs, III and IV, reported on their questionnaires that they used
student officers. These children were not in places of ongoing responsibility, but were
used to lead section rehearsals. The director of Choir IV said in an interview that the
recipients of student leadership awards were used as section leaders and these singers
were given partial scholarships.
Two directors who did not use student help said on the questionnaires that they
had not considered doing so, that the choirs worked well without student help or that
doing so was time-consuming. The conductor of Choir VI stated that student officers
were a possibility for future seasons. Community choirs, as with other musical
organizations, are places in which leadership skills can be cultivated, but it takes time and
effort to do so. A parent supervisor of student helpers might be one way in which
directors can develop skills without detracting from the prime mission of the conductor.
All staff members, whatever their status, are important, but one of the most crucial
appointments is the accompanist. A sensitive, responsible pianist is invaluable and can
make the difference in the success or failure of a choir, and, because good accompanists


65
Questions on the survey asked about undergraduate experiences in childrens
choral music because it was assumed that every director would have earned a bachelors
degree. Directors were not questioned about graduate study because it could not be
assumed that each director had gone beyond the undergraduate level. When asked which
experiences in undergraduate studies helped to prepare the director for this choir
experience, three either listed no experiences or said there was nothing which aided in
their childrens choir experience. Two directors said that their own choral singing was
helpful in teaching their own choirs. Only one director cited undergraduate theory,
conducting and music education courses as helpful in teaching children to sing. Since
instruction in childrens voices is apparently limited in undergraduate studies, the question
as to where directors learn their skills arises. Directors said that trial and error,
workshops, professional journals, books, and conversations with colleagues were ways of
learning about the child voice. One director also listed the Choral Music Experience
Institute as helpful.
The seven veteran director-founders who were personally interviewed for
Sewells study (1990, p. 67) suggested that careful training is necessary for directors of
boy choirs. He suggested that the ideal preparation would include, among other areas,
diction, protection of the vocal instrument and tone production. None of the directors in
the present study said that they had such formal training, although their own choral
experiences might have provided incidental knowledge. Lacking specific training that
would be helpful in conducting a childrens choir, the participants have educated
themselves.


16
in Charleston, S.C., trained boys to sing the metrical psalms and the chants of Morning
Prayer (Ellinwood, 1953, p. 42; Farrior, 1993, p. 114; Shaffer, 1992, p. 4). Parochial
schools for boy choirs sprang up, and the movement continued to expand until the early
part of the 20th century. By the late 1900s there were more than 20 boy choirs in the
United States, but this number began to decline by the 1930s (Farrior, 1993, p. 115).
The first two decades of the 20th century saw the apparent beginnings of boy
choirs that were not church sponsored. The first community boy choir seems to have been
the Roney Boys of Chicago about 1900 (Rhoden, 1971, p. 417); other boy choirs existed
in such diverse locations as Miami, Albuquerque, and Chicago (Rhoden, 1971, p. 105-
106). There is some evidence that boy choirs may evolve into children's choirs, since one
study (Criswell, 1987) documented a difference of opinion in the Episcopalian church
between those who favored keeping the choirs exclusively male and those who advocated
the admittance of girls (cited in Shaffer, 1992, p. 5).
Girl Choirs
While some experts consider boy choirs to be the musical ancestor of our present-
day children's choirs (Rao, 1989), the evidence of girl choirs can not be ignored. Girls
participated in choirs in the ancient Hebrew worship service. I Chronicles 25:5-6 states
that Heman had 14 sons and three daughters and they all served under their father for the
singing in the house of the Lord (Drinker, 1948, p. 133; cited in McRae, 1991, p. 24).
W. F. Cook, Jr. (personal communication, January 30, 1997) also refers to Psalm 68:25
which states that maidens played tambourines in worship. He takes the reference to


96
4% of its budget on music, which was about the same as Choir III, with 3%. The largest
budget portion spent on music was by Choir II, which devoted 35% to the purchase of
new music.
Most choirs spent very little of their budget on uniforms, preferring instead for
each singer to supply his or her own. Choir VI used about 10% of its budget on uniforms,
more than any other choir.
Insurance is another area which received a small portion of available funds. The
greatest percentage was 6%, spent by Choir V. The owners of the buildings in which
rehearsals and concerts were held presumably will be responsible for injuries and
accidents.
The amount spent for rehearsal and concert facilities ranged from 6% for Choir V
to 20% for Choir VI. Choir IV used the directors public school music classroom for
rehearsals, and paid no fees. In an interview, the director discussed performing at the
public library, local churches and recital rooms at the local university, paying no fees for
any of the concert venues.
Choir II was affiliated with, and rehearsed at, a local university. All money was
paid to the university and all bills were paid through the university bookkeeper. The
director said in an interview that he was seeking to separate the choir from the school in
the near future because he had experienced problems in getting the bills paid. His
reasoning was that the choir and its expenditures were such a small cog in the big
university wheel that payments had little priority. The university did cover the insurance


54
8. Concert repertoire
9. The role of parents
10. How the different races, religions, cultural and socio-economic groups of the
community at large are reflected in the choir membership
11. Funding
12. Scheduling
13. How and where directors are learning the skills needed to direct a childrens
community choir
After field testing and revision, Questionnaire B contained 132 items. Those
questions addressing the same facet of the choir were grouped together under a
descriptive heading to help orient the thinking of the participants. Multiple choice or
check-list formats were used to make it easier for directors to complete the instrument.
Space was provided for writing alternate answers. Why or why not? items were left
blank for the directors to complete in their own words. These answers might provide
added insight into the checklist answers and possibly supply new and interesting
information.
Questions 119-124 asked for printed material which the director might use or
have prepared for various reasons. These items might give information about techniques,
repertoire and practices.
On the final page were questions 125-132. These asked for data about any
upcoming concerts and for information that would enable conductors to be contacted.


I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the
procedure and I have received a copy of this description.
Participants signature
Date
Principal investigator
Date
I have read the procedure described above. I DO NOT wish to participate in this study.
Signature
Date
If you would like to receive a copy of the results of this study, please sign below.
Signature


109
mission is to actively recruit singers from all areas of the community and all segments of
the population. Another way of reaching minority populations might be to perform and
rehearse in locales easily accessible to families without transportation, where they can see
and hear the choir, and can become personally acquainted with the leadership. Radical and
innovative strategies need to be developed to break patterns of behavior in order for
parents to involve their children in choral programs
The discretionary budget funds of choirs which might be used to cover the costs
for low income children are usually scarce, and the obvious solution of providing
scholarships has been tried, but is not always successful, possibly because parents do not
feel like a part of the organization. One solution might be to require a minimum number of
volunteer hours from parents whose child receives scholarship money. Tasks which can be
done at home, such as stuffing envelopes, sewing costumes or making telephone calls, are
ideal for parents who have limited transportation or who work late afternoon or evening
hours. This would ease the burden of the director, bring the minority parents in closer
contact with the choir staff and enable them to become acquainted with each other, and
allow parents to have a deeper understanding of the choirs mission, thereby increasing
their commitment.
Another answer to the problem of scarce funds might be to ask local churches,
businesses or civic groups to sponsor a child or to provide transportation. Without
actively seeking to change family attitudes and meet the need for transportation and
money, low income and minority children will continue to be excluded.


direct a childrens community choir.
The investigation included a direct mailing of a questionnaire to seven childrens
community choir directors in Florida. Information was also obtained from interviews and
concert attendance. Results indicated that male directors attracted more male singers; girls
far outnumbered boys in community childrens choirs; minority children were the least
represented; and, in order for recruiting to be successful, a well-educated community
population of at least 200,000 that supports the arts was necessary.
The most frequently cited reason for disbanding choirs was the inability of the
directors to balance the demands of the choir with those of other commitments. Directors
focused on singing, not on the concepts normally associated with music education, and
they selected music for its aesthetic appeal more than any other reason. Directors
reported very little undergraduate training in teaching children to sing, and they learned to
conduct a childrens choir through independent study and practical experience.
Each director in the study auditioned all singers; and no director accepted children
who could not match pitch. No provision was made for poor singers. Individual tuition
}
ranged between $170 and $500 per year; travel, uniforms and registration fees were paid
in addition to tuition. Scholarships were often provided for low-income children.
IX


84
Since directors do not admit poor singers, they can spend their time refining the
sound, rather than teaching basic pitch matching skills. This allows them to focus on music
making.
Comprehensive Music Education
When asked on the questionnaire if they used the choral literature to teach music
concepts, every director answered yes. They gave various reasons for this, including it
exposes young people to literature and cultures, it rounds the musical experience, and
establishes a connection to the purpose it serves. One director stated that It can
provide a wealth of information to teach style, concepts, theory, ear training and sight
singing.
Information from questionnaire responses showed that six directors found that
melody was the easiest concept to teach with the choral literature under study. Six
directors taught dynamics and rhythm, and five directors used the music being sung to
teach form and tempo. Four respondents taught style with the repertoire. In contrast,
harmony and texture (cited by three directors), style and tone color (two directors),
tempo, timbre, and form (one director each) were considered difficult to teach with the
choral literature being studied.
About half (three) of the directors stated that they did not look for choral literature
which will teach specific music concepts. When asked why they did not select music with
concept teaching in mind, one stated in the questionnaire response that this is not how I
choose music. Another said that he selected music Tor beauty (and) variety of


139
19. How many GIRLS are in your choir?
20. Please list the number of singers who are
a. Black
b. Hispanic
c. White
d. Asian
e. Indian
f. Other; please specify
21.Did you intend for the membership of the choir to reflect the characteristics of your
community in terms of
a.Race
Yes
No
b.Socio-economic groups
Yes
No
c.Income
Yes
No
d.Ethnic background
Yes
No
22.Why or why not?


51
because the directors lacked enough time. Both directors stated that they hoped to
resume their choirs at a later date. Finally, one director declined to participate, citing too
many commitments. One director had temporarily discontinued his choir, citing other
commitments and health concerns, but asked to be included in the study. Seven choir
directors consented to participate in this study.
These seven directors received a questionnaire packet which included a cover
letter that told about the study, the purpose of the study, and how the information will be
used. Participants were guaranteed confidentiality, and any use of directors names would
be cited only with the written permission of the director. Instructions for completing the
packet, the questionnaire and a stamped, self-addressed envelope were included in the
packet (Smith, 1988, p. 229).
For those directors who did not return the questionnaire, a follow-up postal card
was used as a reminder. Telephone calls and e-mail messages were used to contact those
who still did not respond. Fuqua, Hartman and Brown (1982) state that follow-up contact
is useful in increasing response rates, although it is rare for more than three follow-ups to
be effective.
Developing the Instrument
A preliminary study (Questionnaire A) was created to find the choirs in Florida.
As part of this study, directors listed problems that they had encountered in their own
choirs. These concerns were compiled and similar comments were grouped under one
heading.


68. If you have a training choir, how long must a child remain in such a group?
a. One year
b. Until the child demonstrates his ability to move to a higher level
c. When an opening occurs on a higher level
d. Other; please specify
69. Do you direct the training choir(s)?
70 If you do not direct the training choir, who does?
I. MUSIC EDUCATION
71.Do you use the choral literature to teach music concepts?
Yes
No
72.Why or why not?
73.Ifyes to #71, which concepts do you find EASIEST to teach with your choral
literature?
a. Tempo
b. Dynamics
c. Form
d. Rhythm
e. Style
f. Melody
g. Tone color
h. Harmony
i. Texture


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
SEVEN COMMUNITY CHILDRENS CHOIRS IN FLORIDA:
FUNCTION IN THE COMMUNITY, ORGANIZATIONAL PATTERNS,
AND CONDUCTORS THEORIES AND PRACTICES
By
Mary Jeanette McGregor Howie
May 1999
Chairperson: Dr. Phyllis E. Dorman
Major Department: Music
The purpose of this study was to investigate aspects of community childrens
choirs in Florida. Specific aspects of the investigation included (1) the name and location
of each choir; (2) the vocal training philosophy of the director; (3) the directors practices
that support the vocal training philosophy; (4) the use of vocalises; (5) the use of
auditions; (6) the use of training choirs; (7) the inclusion of a comprehensive music
education; (8) concert repertoire; (9) parental roles; (10) racial, gender and socio
economic components of the community reflected in the choir; (11) funding; (12)
directoral motivation and commitment, and (13) where directors learn the skills needed to
viii


40
In order to make the most of the learning experience, choral literature must be
carefully selected. In choosing music, not only must the musical elements of dynamics,
tempo, form and text be considered, but thought must be given to the skill level of the
choristers (Goetze, 1988). This may be one of the most difficult challenges that a director
faces: finding music and techniques that balance the needs of the next concert with the
objective of developing thinking, feeling musicians (Wis, 1998).
Rao (1993a) believed that there must be a balance between the challenges provided
by the literature the choir sings and the musical knowledge of the choir. By paying careful
attention to both sides of the equation, the choir can be moved to higher levels of both
performance and learning (Jensen, 1995; Goetze, 1988). This parallels the whole-language
theory which has been accepted in education, for knowledge and performance go hand-in-
hand.
Choral literature that meets the needs of children is sometimes obtained by
commissioning a work (Ferreira, 1993). Directors have found that commissions benefited
their students because the group not only received new music written with the specific
capabilities and needs of their choir, but the children get in on the ground level of the
composing process, which helps them to understand the work and the creative thought
that go into the ready-made pieces they sing (Nolan, 1995). Boonshaft (1996)
commissioned 27 compositions for his band and felt that it was a great learning
experience for . students. Many works and new commissions have recently been
written for childrens choirs using texts from a wide variety of sources and with a variety
of voice parts (Smith, 1993).


CHOIRS
Approximate area
population
Age of the
choir in
years
Size of the total
choral
organization
Gender of the
director
Highest degree of
the director
Yearly
budget
Tuition
I
Hillsborough
County: 834,000
9
116
F
D. Mus.
$117,000
$500 per year
II
Duval County:
673,000
3
56
M
M.A.
$10,000
$85 per semester
III
Highlands County:
68,000
2
30
M
Bachelor
$50,000
$150 per year
IV
Alachua County:
180,000
3
40
F
M.M.
$4,000*
$30 per semester
V
Dade County:
1,900,000
21
140
M
Masters
$147,000
$450 per season
VI
Orange, Osceola
and Lake Counties:
940,000
3
32
M
Masters
$12,000
$50 per month
VII
Escambia County:
263,000
7
200
M
Specialist
**
**
Figure 4-6
*Salaries of director and accompanist are not included because they return their salaries to the choir.
** Choir VII does not disclose budget figures as a matter of policy.
o
4^


I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the
procedure and I have received a copy of this description.
Participants signature
Date
Principal investigator
Date
I have read the procedure described above. I DO NOT wish to participate in this study.
Signature
Date
If you would like to receive a copy of the results of this study, please sign below.
Signature


80
and technique. Three conductors used this time to clear the mind of outside thoughts
and to get them thinking musically. Work on range expansion and the opportunity to
focus students and train their ears for the sound we are seeking were other reasons that
directors use vocal warm-ups.
As with the development of vocal technique, warm-up material was often
abstracted from problem areas in the music, an idea that Telfer agreed with (Brendell,
1997). She felt that conductors should note what vocal challenges arise in the repertoire
and make sure they are covered very well in the warmups. One director said on the
questionnaire that he separated problems and worked on them during warm-ups because
rehearsal goes smoother when rough spots have already been ironed out and that it
assists in memorization. Other directors liked working in this way because doing so
made the children aware of the problem and that when problems are isolated, you can
better hear whats happening.
Directors also used the traditional vocal exercises, often in conjunction with the
problem area exercises. Gackle believed in using vocalises taken from the music, because
this cuts down on teaching time. She also used warm-ups to teach technique (L. Gackle,
workshop, February 1, 1997), as did Kemp (H. Kemp, workshop, February 6, 1999).
Erman (1981, p. 53) wrote that vocal exercises can be a valuable part of the singers
routine and can be used to eliminate or prevent problems.
One director stated that most problems are fixed in the context in which they
occur, rather than in vocalises. Christy (1965, p. viii) called this the Song Approach,
and said that experience has demonstrated conclusively that the Song Approach, with


t
UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
128
liege of Fine Arts
partment of Music
130 Music Building
PO Box 117900
Gainesville, FL 32611-7900
(352) 392-0223 Fax (352) 392-0461
Date
Name
Address
City, State
Dear :
Community childrens choirs seem to be increasing in popularity and number in recent years, but
there seems to be little information about any choirs of this kind which are located in Florida. I am
conducting a doctoral research program at the University of Florida which will study community
childrens choirs in this state and I am asking for your assistance.
Your help is sought so that information may be gathered about the function of the choir in the
community, how choirs are organized, and the theories and practices of the conductors. A better
understanding of how choirs serve both their membership and their locale will enable directors to
be more specific in creating programs that will attract audiences and singers.
In order to conduct this study, I am asking that you complete a questionnaire which will be sent to
you upon receipt of this signed consent. The questionnaire should take less than an hour to
complete. A follow-up interview may be conducted by telephone, e-mail or in person. Handwritten
notes and/or cassette recordings of the interviews will be kept. You will be free to refuse to answer
any question.
Your name will be separated from the questionnaire to protect your privacy and replaced with a
code number. There will be no references to specific directors or choirs in the completed study.
Enclosed you will find another copy of this letter. Please indicate whether or not you are willing to
participate in this study on one of the copies, sign it, and return it in the envelope provided. The
second copy you may keep for your records.
I value your knowledge and anticipate your participation in this project.
Sincerely,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone number
Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Institution


107
at home who would be eligible to sing in a childrens choir, and this limited the pool of
potential singers.
The 1996 median family income was $30,641, with 15 percent of the population
below the poverty level (Bureau of the Census, 1999). Families with limited budgets may
have a difficult time finding the funds necessary for membership in a childrens choir, and
this will limit the number of singers.
To circumvent these restrictions, community childrens choir directors devote a
great deal of thought and effort to their organizations. They seek to provide the
opportunity for elementary-aged children to experience the joys of music-making with
other children from their community.
Characteristics of Membership
Except for Choir V, the choirs with male directors had a higher percentage of boys
than did the choirs directed by female directors. This may not have been because of any
specific techniques used by these men, but simply because they were male. Seeing men in
leadership positions may help boys feel more comfortable in the choir. Women directors
may want to put men in highly visible positions in the organization to help attract more
boys. Obvious places of responsibility for men are as music librarian, accompanist,
president of the parents group, or leader of section rehearsals. As Swears (1985, p. 16)
points out, elementary age children commonly share the values of their parents, so boys
who see their fathers, uncles or grandfathers actively participating in the choir will see this
as a worthwhile activity.


25
of music for all grade levels, subsequent standards urge students to perform on
instruments; improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments; compose and arrange
music; read and notate music; and listen, analyze and describe music (MENC, 1994).
Singing and music reading are no longer emphasized, thus the need, once again, for
community choirs where children can learn to sing.
Some schools excluded arts programs, including music, from their curriculum as a
result of the 1970s back-to-basics movement, or as a result of funding cuts. Lack of
budget support resulted in less time for music in the school and music teachers began to
encounter difficulties in scheduling children's choirs during the school day (Rao, 1989).
Children's community choirs began to develop in the 1970s (Farrior, 1993, p. 122).
Declines in school budget and time allocations (Jensen, 1995) have led to increasing
interest and growth in community-based children's choirs. Childrens choirs are not
associated with any particular school, do not depend on the whim of a principal or school
board's budget, and fill the need for singing instruction. The greatest growth and
development of community-based children's choirs has been more noticeable since the
1970s (Farrior, 1993). These choirs show a break with traditional goals of singing
instruction since they are not organized to improve singing in the church or to lead in the
worship service.
By 1983, the new concept of children's choirs was bom (Rao, 1993a). These
choirs may have the benefits of being a musical outlet for talented children, an important
addition to the musical and cultural life of our community, and, perhaps, a viable


150
87.Do you look for choral literature that will help you correct DICTION problems in
your choir?
Yes
No
88.Why or why not?
89.Please list your 10 favorite selections for childrens choirs, including title and
composer.
90. What vocal range do you look for when selecting music?
91. Has your choir ever commissioned a work?
92. Please provide the titles and composers of any commissioned works.
93. Why did you commission work(s) from this/these composers?


73
Choir Organization
Questionnaire answers showed that four Florida community childrens choirs were
organized so that all children sing in the same choir, while three choirs, I, V, and VII, had
more than one choir within the organization. Choir I had four choirs, Choir V had three,
and Choir VII had three choirs with an additional ensemble selected from the most
advanced group. The most advanced choirs in multi-choir organizations had the largest
membership.
Additional choirs give the directors the opportunity to more exactly suit the level
of the music to the ability of the singers. Those with less ability have the opportunity to
develop their skills and voices, while those who already know the basic techniques of
choral work can be challenged with more difficult music.
When interviewed, two directors whose organizations contain only one choir
spoke of such an opportunity for their singers. They realized the advantage this gave the
children, but had not established additional choirs because of time and space constraints.
The three choirs who had more than one ensemble in the organization were the
three oldest, with at least seven years of existence. If the other choirs continue to endure
and grow, they may also add training and preparatory choirs.
Singers in training choirs generally remained in that choir until they showed that
they could move to a higher level of music-making, perhaps one to two years. These
choirs also give children time to develop their voices, to become accustomed to singing
music of a different nature, and to singing for a longer period than they have possibly
encountered at school. This parallels what Farrell (1976, p. 30) found in his study of boy


REFERENCES
Ackerly, J. M. (1983). Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus: A history (Doctoral dissertation,
University of Arizona, 1983). Dissertation Abstracts International, 45, 446A.
Adler, S. H. (1993). Our best and most lasting hope. Choral Journal, 35(8), 21-22.
American Choral Directors Association. (1995). National Directory of Childrens
Choirs in America. Lawton, OK: Author.
Atterbury, B. W. (1991). Some directions for research in elementary general music.
Bulletin of the Council For Research in Music Education, No. 109, 37-45.
Bairstow, E. D., & Greene, H. P. (1946). Singing learnedfrom speech. London:
Macmillan and Company, Limited.
Ball, L. K. (1981). Choristers Guild 1949-1980 (Doctoral dissertation, University of
Southern California, 1981). International, 42, 4194A.
Ball, L. (1984). The founding and early development of Choristers Guild. Choristers
Guild Letters, 35(6), 117-123.
Bartle, J.A. (1988). Lifeline for childrens choir directors. Toronto, Canada: Gordon
V. Thompson Music.
Birge, E. B. (1929). History of public school music in the United States. Reston, VA:
Music Educators National Conference.
Bolton, C. D. (1982). An evaluative examination of present-day selected
denominational children's choirs in churches of southern California (Doctoral dissertation,
California State University, Long Beach, 1982). International, 21, 274A.
Boonshaft, P. L. (1996). Commissioning new works for band. Teaching Music, 3(4),
30-31.
Bourne, P. A. S. (1990). Instructional techniques for children's choirs: a curricular
model (Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University, 1990). International, 51, 1150A.
164


116
If the director is female, males should have prominent and visible positions in the
organization so that boys will feel comfortable. Men can distribute music, collect fees, or
lead section rehearsals.
Just as recruiting boys needs to be planned for, minority and disadvantaged
childrens needs should be included in initial planning. Rehearsal location, scholarships,
transportation and the relationship between minority parents and choir leadership are
factors in enlisting and retaining low income and minority singers.
Those contemplating directing a childrens choir would do well to talk to
experienced directors and determine the choirs that are considered to be of high quality,
then order the recordings and attend the concerts of these groups. This will help the
director form an idea of his or her own ideal sound.
For Music Teacher Preparation Programs
Colleges and universities can help in the establishment of childrens choirs by
teaching the skills that directors will need. Potential directors need to know basic singing
techniques, common vocal problems they will encounter, the best way to correct singing
difficulties, and how to select a repertoire suitable for childrens interests and abilities.
These skills can be incorporated into music methods courses and will not take an
inordinate amount of time. The ability to match pitch might be a prerequisite for passing
the course.


APPENDIX A
QUESTIONNAIRE A AND RELATED MATERIAL


Ill
the group alive. Those who are contemplating a childrens choir need to seriously
consider the demands on their time before inaugurating a program.
Location
In addition to the amount of time available, location is another issue that needs to
be considered before beginning a choir. Of the seven choirs that participated in this study,
all were from communities which have institutions of higher learning, either community
colleges or universities. One city had one community college, but the other areas had
multiple opportunities for post-secondary study. All of the communities also had an
orchestra and/or a ballet company either in the city or in the neighboring county (Marth,
1998). The 1990 census figures for each county in which a choir was located showed that
the smallest population from which a choir drew its membership was approximately
68,000, while one choir had a population base of almost two million people (Marth,
1998).
These figures argue that a potential choir location needs to have a substantial
population that is educated and supports the arts. Parents with a low level of education
may be unlikely to understand the benefits that a choir can provide to the child and would
be unwilling to supply the substantial amounts of time and money that a childrens choir
demands.
With the many opportunities available to children, no director can expect that
every child in a community will give up sports or scouting activities to sing in the choir.
Just as every child will not want to play soccer, so every child will not want to sing. The


64
beginning of his group. Seven years later, the choir had grown to include four choirs and
200 children.
Each of these choirs began under different circumstances, and has developed its
own personality which meets the needs of singers, directors and communities. All of them,
however, continue in existence to give children expanded artistic opportunities.
The Directors
According to information supplied by the respondents on the questionnaires, each
director participating in this study had a baccalaureate degree in some area of music. Five
directors had a masters degree, one had an education specialist degree, and one a
doctorate.
The degrees encompassed several aspects of music, including two bachelors and
one masters degree in music education; one bachelors, one masters, and one doctorate
degree in piano performance; one bachelors and one specialist degree in church music; a
masters degree in piano; a masters degree in composition; and both a bachelors and two
masters degrees in voice. The performance area for three directors was voice, two were
piano, one was organ and one majored in composition.
For all but two of the directors, the current choir was the only community
childrens choir they had directed. Two directors had led other childrens choirs, one in
another state, and one that was the forerunner of the current choir. Both previous choirs
were conducted for less than five years.


39
of doing it easily and well (1927, p. 10). Phillips (1992b, p. 570) agreed, observing that
there is no knowledge base that teachers can consult to know which techniques are useful.
No one method has proven to be the perfect technique of voice training, and the ideas and
techniques being used by current childrens choir directors are the focus of a portion of
this study.
Related Research
Children's choirs may not exist solely for the purpose of performance (Mercer,
1972; Monk, 1987). Those directors who do not make opportunities to incorporate the
teaching of music concepts into the rehearsal miss the chance to influence the child's
future participation in, and appreciation of, music. Indeed, said Rao (1993a), "the value of
music performance in music education can be found beyond the concert stage in the
development of musicianship, the experience of enjoyment, and the psychological benefits
of self-esteem." Choirs that are considered to be of excellent quality often teach their
choristers to become all-round musicians, as well as good singers (O'Leary, 1990).
According to Phillips (1988) choral music education ... is the whole process of
becoming a musically educated person.
Elliot (1993) agreed, claiming that astute listeners come from intelligent
performers. Merely listening to others perform will not aid in the development of
musicianship, for this can only be done by being involved in the music making. McRae
(1991, p. 35) stated that choir experiences may be the only opportunity for musical
learning for some children.


10
If a choir is truly a community choir, it will include representatives from all
segments of the community, including the differing races, religions, and cultural and socio
economic groups. This study sought to discover whether or not these choirs are culturally
representative of the areas in which they are based.
Without money, a choirs possibilities are severely limited. It is not possible to
purchase music, tour, or pay salaries. The tuition paid by singers is an important monetary
resource for the choir and this study investigated the amount of tuition and how the money
was used.
With the proliferation of activities and organizations for children, it may be difficult
for a director to design a choral program that will capture and hold the interest of young
singers. Concert and rehearsal schedules which do not conflict with the many other
practices, games and meetings which singers want to attend may be crucial to the
continued existence of the choir. This study sought information on how directors find
adequate singing time for their children.
Delimitations
1. This study was limited to community children's choirs in the state of Florida,
which has active choir programs.
2. Children's choirs in this study were those that included both boys and girls
whose voices were not yet changed. All children were capable of singing all of the vocal
parts.


21
At the turn of the century, Elizabeth Van Fleet Vosseller led children's choirs at the
First Presbyterian Church of Flemington, New Jersey (Ball, 1981, p 10). Her work with
children's sacred music led others to become interested in children's choirs. Vossellers
choirs were church-based, another attempt to improve singing in the church (Ball, 1981, p.
11).
Ruth Krehbiel Jacobs was a direct philosophical descendant of Elizabeth Van Fleet
Vosseller. Like Vosseller, Jacobs believed that the material available for boy choirs was of
limited use in children's choirs, and that, by teaching the child, she influenced the adult
(Ball, 1984) Because of her attempts to reach as many children as possible, and because
so many children's choir directors wanted her advice, she organized the Choristers Guild in
1949 (Ball, 1984). While the Guild existed primarily for church choirs, its advice and
suggestions worked well for community choirs as well.
As schools began to give music a place in the curriculum, singing schools declined
because the public no longer felt a need for them (Mark and Gary, 1992, p 90). Children
learned to sing in school, and thus did not need extra-curricular vocal instruction.
About the middle of the 19th century, a scientific approach to education began to
be evident and it became desirable to evaluate the subject matter (Mark and Gary, 1992, p.
166). Music teachers developed lesson plans that dealt with knowledge about music that
could be regularly tested (Mark and Gary, 1992, p. 167). It was about this time that
music series were written to help children learn to read music. These books dealt with the
facts of music rather than the music itself (Mark and Gary, 1992, p 176). Children
learned about rests, clefs, sightreading, scales, meter and music dictation.


3
the question of where directors receive education in vocal methods for children, and
which philosophy, if any, of vocal training they follow.
To fill the gaps in their knowledge about childrens voices, directors attend
workshops, read professional literature, and converse with colleagues. Knowing where
directors obtain their training is essential for the music education profession so that quality
materials can be provided in those venues.
How the Directors Practices Support the Vocal Training Philosophy
Choir directors need a mental concept of the ideal sound of childrens voices, both
alone and in ensemble (Bartle, 1988, p. 7; Shrock, 1990; Swears, 1985, p. 51). Without an
idea of the desired sound and repertoire, achieving a quality product would be difficult, at
best. Once directors form their philosophies of vocal training for children's choirs, the
question remains as to whether or not they have designed activities that support those
ideas.
How Vocalises Are Used in the Choirs
Vocalises can form a part of the philosophy of vocal training used by the director.
They can be used merely to warm up the vocal mechanism or to perfect the literature
while the body is being readied for singing. Alternatively, vocalises may not be used at all.
The use and purpose of vocalises form part of the total approach to children's choir
singing. This study investigated them from that perspective.


172
Robinson, R. & Althouse, J. (1995). The complete choral warm-up book. Van Nuys,
California: Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.
Roe, P. F. (1983). Choral music education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Ross, W. E. (1959). Secrets of singing. Bloomington, IN: William Ernest Ross.
Runfola, M. and Rutkowski, J. (1992). General music curriculum. In R. Colwell (Ed.)
Handbook of research on music teaching and learning (pp. 697- 709). New York:
Schirmer Books.
Sadie, S. (Ed). (1980). Antonio Vivaldi. The new Grove dictionary of music and
musicians (6th ed., Vols. 1-20, Vol. 20, pp. 31-46. Washington, DC: Groves Dictionaries
of Music.
Sample, M. W. (1966). Leading children's choirs. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
Sewell, D. R. (1990). A guide to the formation and cultivation of an effective
community boychoir program. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.
Shaffer, R. E. (1992). History of the Phoenix Boys Choir: From 1947 through 1989.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University.
Shrock, D. (1990). An interview with Jean Ashworth Bartle, director of the Toronto
Children's Chorus. Choral Journal, 57(1), 7-16.
Sinor, J. (1997). The ideas of Kodaly in America. Music Educators Journal, 83(5),
37-41.
Small, A. R. (1998). Childrens choirs. Choral Journal, 55(10), 33.
Smith, K. (1993). Focus: Commissioned works. Works commissioned for American
childrens choirs. Choral Journal, 33 (8), 33-37.
Smith, M. J. (1988). Contemporary communication research methods. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Stafford, D. W. (1987). Perceptions of competencies and preparation needed for
guiding young singers in elementary school music classes (Doctoral dissertation, Florida
State University, 1987). Dissertation Abstracts International, 48, 591 A.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Mary Jeanette McGregor Howie was bom in Miami, Florida, on July 15, 1947, to
Angus and Clara McGregor. She was graduated from Miami Senior High School in 1965
and received her Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Appalachian State
University in Boone, North Carolina, in 1969. She married John Gunter Howie in 1969
and they moved to Danville, Virginia, where she taught first grade for one year. While
John served in Vietnam, she moved to Miami and taught first grade for one year. After his
return to the United States, they moved to Colorado while John finished his Air Force
service. Their first daughter, Virginia, was bom in 1973.
John and Mary Jeanette moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where Mary Jeanette taught
music to grades K-6 at a private school. She entered the University of North Florida in
1974 and received her Master of Education degree in 1979. She began teaching in the
Duval County Public Schools of Jacksonville in 1977 and has done most of her teaching in
elementary music. Their second daughter, Katherine, was bom in 1976. Mary Jeanette
began her doctoral studies at the University of Florida in 1988.
175


99
concert program, and introduced the administrative chairperson of the major underwriters
to the audience.
Two choirs contracted to sing for weddings and other events to raise money. One
director reported in an e-mail message that his choirs also sold recordings of their music
making to help meet the budget. During the authors attendance at a concert by Choir II,
parents sold stationery to help pay for a trip to a New York choral festival.
Grants were another way of obtaining funds. Choir I applied for, and received, a
grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the local county Arts Council.
Another choir also received money from its local county Arts Council and from the
Florida Arts Council. Private corporations and businesses also have active grant programs
which were tapped for funds.
An activity that benefited the choir vocally as well as monetarily was undertaken
by Choir IV in the summer. The director stated in an interview that she offered a vocal
workshop for a few of the singers. Enrollment was limited to the first 11 children who
enrolled in the four day class. Each child paid $40 and received basic vocal instruction.
The accompanist and the director were paid for their efforts, and the choir made $350
profit after the 1997 workshop. The class was popular with the children and plans are
made to offer two sessions in Summer, 1998.
An area which seemed to receive scant attention from directors was insurance.
Only two choirs reported in the questionnaire responses that they spent any money for this
vital protection. If a singer becomes ill or injured while participating in choir activities, the
resulting medical and legal bills could devastate the organization and result in financial ruin


UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
120
liege of Fine Arts
partment of Music
130 Music Building
PO Box 117900
Gainesville, FL 32611-7900
(352) 392-0223 Fax (352) 392-0461
Date
Name
Address
City, State
Dear
I am a doctoral student at the University of Florida, studying community children's choirs
and areas of concern for directors of these choirs. For the purposes of my study, I am
defining community children's choirs as those choirs which are composed of both boys and
girls, and whose membership is drawn from an area at large, rather than exclusively from a
school, church or other formal organization.
I would appreciate your help with this study. Please fill out the enclosed questionnaire and
return it in the self-addressed envelope. Additional pages may be used, if necessary.
Your name will not be used without your prior permission. Should it prove essential to
quote you, you will be given the opportunity to review the material and be sure it is
accurate.
Thank you for any information you can provide.
Sincerely,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone number
E-mail address
Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Institution


APPENDIX B
QUESTIONNAIRE B AND RELATED MATERIAL


57
clarified answers on the questionnaire or explored new issues which the directors raised.
A printed copy of e-mail correspondence and handwritten notes of telephone
conversations were also kept. Interviews were structured individually for each director,
based on the returned questionnaire, but became less structured as subjects raised new
issues which needed to be explored (Merriam, 1988, p.73-74). Handwritten notes were
taken during and immediately after interviews. Two additional directors proved extremely
difficult to contact, in spite of many telephone calls, and the remaining directors material
did not need explanation.
Treatment of the Data
As the questionnaires were received, the data from closed-form questions were
written in the appropriate boxes on a chart (Merriam, 1991, p. 197). The answers to
open-form questions were placed into categories. As material was entered on the chart, it
was possible to see similarities and differences in the choirs. For example, the contrast in
the sizes of the choirs and the higher percentage of boys in most of the male-directed
choirs was obvious.
Data from interviews and concert attendance were also included on the chart. This
supplemented existing information or supplied material that was missing.
After this process was complete, the information was checked for mistakes and
reliability as follows:


5
stated that young children learn by doing, and the first Content Standard for Grades K-4,
Grades 5-8, and Grades 9-12 was singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of
music. Professional music educators believe that children can learn to sing expressively,
on pitch and in rhythm, many different kinds of songs. Equally desirable is the ability to
follow a director and to sing music with more than one vocal part (MENC), 1994, p. 13,
17,21).
While children who participate in a choir receive training in singing, directors may
also attempt to provide a deeper understanding of the music under consideration. To teach
the sounds alone, neglecting the relevant music concepts of rhythm, melody, harmony,
form, expression, and style, squanders valuable teaching opportunities. Music education
has been accused of just such waste in the past (Mercer, 1972), but it may be that
directors are now availing themselves of teaching opportunities that help children attain
the goals in the arts that every student should know and be able to do (MENC, 1994, p.
v).
Concert Repertoire
Bartle (1988, p. 194) urged directors to be fastidious when selecting music. She
and Swears (1985, p. 161) both advised directors to select music that is worth learning. It
would be useful to both new and experienced directors to know which compositions
choirs involved in this study have used. It may also be of interest to learn whether
directors use readily available lists, such as those published by the American Choral
Directors Association or the Music Educators National Conference.


143
40. In respect to vibrato, which best describes your thinking?
a. Allow vibrato to develop with maturity
b. Inject vibrato into the voice
c. Restrict vibrato; use a straight tone
d. Other; please specify
41. Do you use pet phrases, imagery, and/or physical examples as you teach your singers?
If you do, what are they?
42.Do you think that posture and breathing are directly related?
Yes
No
43.Why or why not?
44.Do you use specific drills for breathing?
Yes
No
45.Why or why not?
46.Do you use specific drills for posture development?
Yes
No
47.Why or why not?
48.How do you approach the development of vocal technique?
a. Through exercises designed to build vocal technique
b. Through a set of exercises based on a given musical passage
c. Through the music being studied
d. Other; please specify


TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii
LIST OF TABLES vii
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTERS
I INTRODUCTION 1
Statement of Purpose 1
Statement of the Problem 2
Questions Investigated 8
Delimitations 10
Assumptions 11
Definitions 11
Community Childrens Choirs 13
II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 15
Introduction 15
Historical Overview 15
Vocal Philosophies 26
Related Research 39
Summary 46
m METHODOLOGY 48
Introduction 48
Overview of the Study 48
Procedures 49
Treatment of the Data 57
v


CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY
Introduction
This study examined the community childrens choir movement in Florida. Both
quantitative and qualitative methods were used to determine the extent of the movement
and the activities within that movement, since studies of this type should employ a
combination of survey, interview and concert attendance. This chapter includes
descriptions of the population selection process for this study, the instruments used to
gather data, and methods of data analyses.
Overview of the Study
The goal of this study was to expand our knowledge of community childrens
choirs in the state of Florida. The methods of inquiry used to gather this information were
similar to those used by Bourne (1990): interviews with childrens choir directors,
workshop attendance, questionnaires and concert attendance. While many childrens
choirs exist in the state, including those in churches, schools and private organizations,
this study used only those choirs which met the following criteria: choirs of boys and girls
with unchanged voices, primarily aged eight through sixteen, whose membership is not
drawn from a single organization.
48


154
112. To raise money to meet the needs of this choir, we
a. Have fundraisers
b. Solicit contributions
c. Apply for grants
d. Charge tuition
e. Sell program ads
f. Sell recordings
g. Sell t-shirts
h. Sell merchandise
i. Sing for weddings, parties or other contracted events
113. If you receive grants or funds from organizations or charities, please list those
organizations.
114. We charge tuition per .
N. COMMITMENT
115. Finding adequate rehearsal time is difficult.
a. Yes
b. No
116. Adequate rehearsal time is difficult to find because
a. Children are involved in other activities
b. Parents are too busy to bring them
c. Rehearsal space is not available
d. A year-round school calendar makes it difficult to find days when all the
children are not in school.
e. Other; please specify
117.Other childrens activities which conflict with choir are
a. Sports
b. Civic organizations
c. Scouting
d. School activities
e. Church activities
f. Other; please specify


APPENDIX C
REPERTOIRE


This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Fine
Arts and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Dean, College of Fine Arts
Dean, Graduate School


Whitten, L. (1996). From the president. Choral Journal, 37(2), 3.
Wilcox, J. C. (1935). The living voice. New York: Carl Fischer, Inc.
Wis, R. M. (1998). Invite, instruct, and inspire. Teaching Music, 5(6), 38-40.


94.Would you commission another work?
95.Why or why not?
96.From whom would you commission a work?
97.Why would you select that composer?
K. THE ROLE OF PARENTS
98.Do parents fill any VOLUNTEER positions in your choir(s)?
Yes
No
99.What positions do they fill?
100.Do parents fill any PAID positions in your choir(s)?
101.What positions do they fill?


60
Transportation
Programs
Space
Accompanist
Auditions
Esprit de Corps
Community support
Publicity
Organization
Time
Parents
Commitment
Recuiting
Funding
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Number of Responses
Figure 4-1
AREAS OF CONCERN


149
80.Do you attempt to teach music reading by using the choral literature?
Yes
No
81.Why or why not?
J. CONCERT REPERTOIRE
82. Do you use a published repertoire list, such as one from the American Choral
Directors Association or the Music Educators National Conference, as a source for
selecting music?
83. What list do you prefer to use?
84.Why do you prefer that list?
a. I have found useable music on that list in the past
b. I have not seen any other list
c. My local music store can easily order from that list
d. It was recommended by a colleague
e. Other; please specify
85.Do you look for choral literature that will help you correct VOCAL problems in your
choir?
Yes
No
86.Why or why not?


66
Because directors said they looked to professional journals as places where they
could find instruction in childrens singing skills, they were asked about the journals to
which they subscribe. The most frequently listed journal, noted by six of the seven
directors, was The Choral Journal, a publication of the ACDA. Three respondents cited
the journals of the MENC and the Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA): Music
Educators Journal, Teaching Music and Florida Music Director. Two directors said they
read The Voice of Chorus America, published by Chorus America, while American Music
Teacher, a publication of the Music Teachers National Association, and Anacrusis, the
journal of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, were each cited by one
conductor. Only one director listed Choristers Guild Letter, the publication written
especially for childrens choirs, perhaps because Choristers Guild was formed primarily
for church choirs.
Directors may read or consult journals to which they do not subscribe, so they
were asked which journals were the most helpful in addressing the problems encountered
in childrens choirs. Three directors listed the Choral Journal. Chorus America and
Anacrusis were each cited by one director. Two directors said that no one journal was of
particular help, but occasional articles in any of the journals were useful.
Each director, when asked on the questionnaire what undergraduate experiences
would have been helpful to their current choir tasks, stated that they would like to have
had exposure to childrens choirs, their vocal capabilities and the literature available for
childrens choirs. They also listed observations, hands-on experiences, laboratory
experiences, interning with a childrens choir, a master class with a choir director after a


35
Kemp (H. Kemp, workshop, February 6, 1999; 1989, p. 28) was in agreement with
the mixture of song and formal approaches. She suggested a variety of mental images,
physical response and vocalises in conjunction with songs as techniques for teaching a
choir to sing. Stollak and Alexander (1998) agreed, stating that children can be helped to
understand the abstract concepts necessary for a good sound by the use of metaphor,
analogy, and simile.
Repertoire and techniques are of little use, however, unless the director has an idea
of the desired vocal tone. Before trying to teach a child how to sing, the teacher must first
know what the end product should be (Jacobs, 1942, p. 20, 27; Phillips, 1985b). It would
appear that the first task of the director is to establish for himself a realistic mental concept
of the sound he wishes to hear from his childrens choir (Sample, 1966, p. 78). Unless the
conductor knows the desired sound, there is little chance of achieving it.
While directors may differ about the techniques they use to teach singing, they
agree that children can learn to sing. Age and gender are immaterial when it comes to
selecting a singing method, but the teacher must have the end product in the minds ear
and both teacher and student must be willing to work toward that goal.
Head Voice versus Chest Voice
One concept of sound that is much discussed in the writing on childrens singing is
the use of the head voice. It is sometimes referred to as the thin voice. Small (1998)
called it a distinct and ethereal choral tone produced by children between the ages of
eight and fifteen, while Ingram (1959, p. 83) described the head voice as a light,


146
60.How do you evaluate the entrance audition?
a Subjective impression of all factors
b. Objective evaluation of all factors
c. Jury/panel of judges
d. Other; please specify
61.Do you admit singers who cannot match pitch?
Yes
No
62,Why or why not?
63. If you admit non-pitch matching singers, how do you help them learn to match pitch?
a. Private lessons
b. Small group instruction
c. Placement in training choir
d. Seated between strong singers
e. Other; please specify
H. HOW TRAINING CHOIRS ARE USED
64. Do all of your choir children sing in one choir?
Yes
No
65.Why or why not?
66. Ifno to #64, how many choirs do you have in your organization?
67. If no to #64, how many children sing in each choir?
a. Concert choir
b. Training choir
c. Touring choir
d. Other; please specify


43
singing student the opportunity to experience a refined, higher-level choral program
(Hollenberg, 1996). Bartle (1988, p. 110-112) believed in auditions, but looked for more
than vocal skills. In addition to singing, she had the child read poetry and answer
questions which required imaginative and thoughtful answers to gauge non-musical
qualities. This helped her assesses other areas, including physical health, social skills,
vocabulary level, organizational skills, ability to read language, and, of primary
importance, motivation.
Goetze (1988) also auditioned singers, but not for the purpose of elimination. She
believed choirs should be available to all students who express an interest in singing,
regardless of their musical or vocal gifts, but only when you knew the abilities of the
choir could vocalises and literature be selected. In choosing material to use with the
singers, you can correct deficiencies and advance the skill level of the children.
Farrell (1976, p. 31) found, in his study of American boy choirs, that directors
looked at scholastic grades, previous musical experiences and musical aptitude when new
singers sought admission to the group. A sense of individual musical responsibility is a
most important element in the success of the choir, according to Ortlip (1986), and can
be gauged at the time of the interview and audition.
Once a child has been accepted into a choir, placement in a junior, or training,
choir may be required. Some organizations use these choirs to give the beginning singer
the opportunity to develop vocal skills and assess the time and commitment that is
required of a member of the organization. It is both a learning and a trial period for both
the director and the singer.


UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
135
illege of Fine Arts
partment of Music
130 Music Building
PO Box 117900
Gainesville, FL 32611-7900
(352) 392-0223 Fax (352) 392-0461
Date
Name
Address
City, State
Dear
Thank you for agreeing to participate in a study which is designed to investigate the
community childrens choir in Florida. To help in gathering information for this project, a
questionnaire was recently mailed to you, but the completed information has not been
received. I want to include your knowledge and experience because they will contribute a
great deal to the total picture of the work being done with childrens voices.
A second copy of the questionnaire is enclosed is enclosed, should the first copy have been
mis-placed. It has been designed for obtaining the necessary data while requiring a
minimum of time for completion. Please check or fill in the appropriate answers on the
survey form, and additional comments you may have are welcome. Please feel free to use
the backs of the pages or use additional pages as needed.
Upon receipt of your questionnaire, your name will be separated from the questionnaire
and replaced with a code number to protect your privacy. There will be no references to
specific directors or choirs. Any responses which are cited in the study will be identified
solely by question number or a fictitious designation. Names and addresses are requested
on the questionnaire only for the purpose of following up on incomplete or unclear
information at a later date. You do not have to answer any question you do not wish to
answer.
Please return the questionnaire to me as soon as you are finished. A self-addressed
stamped envelope is included for your convenience. Thank you again for your assistance.
Sincerely,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone number
E-mail address
Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Institution


171
Phillips, K. H. (1985a). The effects of group breath-control training on the singing
ability of elementary students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 55(3), 179-191.
Phillips, K. H. (1985b). Training the child voice. Music Educators Journal, 72(4), 19-
22, 57-58.
Phillips, K. H. (1988). Choral music comes of age. Music Educators Journal, 75(4),
23-27.
Phillips, K. H. (1992a). Teaching kids to sing. New York: Schirmer Books.
Phillips, K. H. (1992b). Research on the teaching of singing. In R. Colwell (Ed.),
Handbook of research in music teaching and learning (pp. 568-576). New York:
Schirmer Books.
Phillips, K. H. (1993). Back to basics: Teaching children to sing. General Music
Today, 6(3), 30-32.
Phillips, K. H. (1994). Recruiting singers for elementary chorus. Teaching Music 1(6),
24-25.
Phillips, K. H. (1995). Recruiting and retaining males. Teaching Music 2(6), 28-29.
Rao, D. (1987). Choral music experienceeducation through artistry. New York:
Boosey & Hawkes.
Rao, D. (1989). Children and choral music in ACDA: The past and the present, the
challenge and the future. Choral Journal, 29(8), 6-14.
Rao, D. (1993a). Children's choirs: A revolution from within. Music Educators
Journal, 80(3), 44-48.
Rao, D. (1993b). We will sing! Choral music experience for classroom choirs. New
York: Boosey & Hawkes.
Rao, D. (1995). Letter to the editor. Choral Journal, 35(1), 4-5.
Reid, C. L. (1950). Bel canto: Principles and practices. New York: Coleman-Ross
Company, Inc.
Rhoden, D. C., Jr. (1971). Community-related boy choirs in the United States
(Doctoral dissertation, Florida State University, Tallahassee). American Doctoral
Dissertations, Source Code XI972.


91
for children. The other choir directors said that they had no trouble securing singers for
their organizations because they used a variety of methods to attract their members. Only
one choir conductor reported on the questionnaire that he had a waiting list, although that
did not mean that recruiting had ceased.
Every choir contacted used word of mouth, relying on singers and their families to
encourage others to join the choir, and the program of the choir was designed to be
attractive to children. Both classical and popular music was included in the repertoire so
that singing was appealing to prospective and current singers.
Local schools were places where new choir members might be found. Four choirs
reported on the questionnaire that they tried to attract singers from these areas, including
three choirs that sang in the local schools so that potential singers could see and hear them
and possibly want to join. Choirs also performed in other venues where potential members
could see and hear them.
It was interesting to note that only two of the seven participating choirs used the
local churches to recruit members. Most churches have choral programs and would seem
to be the ideal place where new singers might be secured. In many churches, childrens
choirs are an integral part of the ministry of the church, forming a ready-made pool of
potential recruits. When an adult choir is the only choral organization within a church,
many members have children at home who might be interested in singing. These families
obviously understand the value and joy of singing, since they make the effort required for
their own choirs.


170
Neuls-Bates, C. (1982). Women in music. New York: Harper and Row.
Newman, G. (1995). Teaching children music. Madison, Wisconsin: Brown and
Benchmark.
Nolan, E. (Comp.) (1995). Commissioning music: Is it really a Pandoras box?
Teaching Music, 3(1), 26-27.
Nordholm, H. (1966). Singing in the elementary schools. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Nye, R., Nye, V., Aubin, N., & Kyme, G. (1962). Singing with children. Belmont,
CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc.
Nye, R. E., Nye, V. T., Martin, G. M., & Rysselberghe, M. L. (1992). Music in the
elementary school. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
O'Leary, M. (1990). Outstanding children's choirsa world view. International
Society of Music Educators Yearbook, pp. 101-104.
OToole, P. (1999). A missing chapter from choral methods books: How choirs
neglect girls. Choral Journal, 39(5), 9-32.
Ortlip, S. J. (1986). Factors in the success of a childrens choir. Choral Journal, 26(8),
37-38.
Ottman, R. W. (1961). Elementary harmony. Englewood Cliff, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Paulin, C. (1989). in ACDA National Committee on Children's Choirs: Phase Two:
Finding a permanent place for children's choirs in American music education. Choral
Journal, 29(8), 17-19.
Pemberton, C. A. (1988). "Singing Merrily, Merrily, Merrily": Song for the skeptics of
1838. American Music, 6(1), 74-87.
Phillips, K. H. (1983). The effects of group breath control training on selected vocal
measures releated to the singing ability of elementary students in grades two, three and
four. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Kent State University, OH.
Phillips, K. H. (1984). Child voice training research: Song approach-formalized
training. Journal of Research in Singing, 5(1), 11-25.


Froelich, H. (1979). Replication of a study on teaching singing in the elementary
general music classroom. Journal of Research in Music Education, 27(1), 35-45.
167
Fuqua, D. R., Hartman, B. W., & Brown, D. F. (1982). Survey research in higher
education. Research in Higher Education, 77(1), 69-80.
Gawthrop, D. E. (1997). The national endowment for football were fighting the
wrong battle. Choral Journal, 5#(3), 17-20.
Gehrkens, K. W. (1934). Music in the grade schools. Boston, MA: C. C. Birchard and
Company.
Giddings, T. P. (1919). Grade school music teaching. New York: C. H. Congdon.
Giddings, T. P., Earhart, W., Baldwin, R. L., & Newton, E.W. (1923) Juvenile music.
New York: Ginn and Company.
Goetze, M. (1988). Wanted: Children to sing and learn. Music Educators Journal,
75(4), 28-32.
Gould, A. O. Building specialized programs for singing in the elementary school.
Council For Research In Music Education, Bulletin No. 17,9-22.
Hall, H. H. (1981). Moravian music education in America, ca. 1750 to ca. 1830.
Journal of Research in Music Education, 29(3), 225-234.
Harris, J. N. (1986). The instructional philosophies reflected in the elementary music
series published by Silver Burdett Company, 1885-1975. (Unpublished doctoral
dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1985). Dissertation Abstracts
International, 46(07), 1860A.
Haworth, J. L. (1992). Elementary school choirs and auditions. Music Educators
Journal, 79(4), 44-46.
Haworth, J. L. (1995) Music programs in year-round schools in Florida: Current
status and implications for future development. Doctoral dissertation. University of
Florida, Gainesville.
Heller, G. N., & Pemberton, C. A. (1996). The Boston Handel and Haydn Society
collection of church music (1822): Its context, content, and significance. The Hymn,
47(4), 26-29.


28
be taught from the earliest songs by the knowledgeable teacher and went on to state that
childrens voices can be greatly enhanced through training (p. 131), although they
believed that private studio voice lessons are best left until young adulthood or later, when
the vocal mechanism has fully matured.
Ross (1959, p. 181G) placed the age for beginning vocal training a little later at
about ten years old and said that children should be taught in classes. They should be
taught normal quality, a singing diction, how to sing in the high and low voice, and how
to breathe for singing.
Ross did not suggest that childrens voices are different from the adult voice in any
respect but immaturity. Since vocal methods apply equally to either gender or any age,
how-to articles and books written for adults, as well as those written for teachers of
young children, were used for this study.
There appear to be many schools of thought concerning the best way to teach a
student how to sing. Ross (1959, p. 26) listed 14 different schools of teaching singing
and stated that the list may not be complete. He described them as follows:
1. Bel Cantobased on vocalization, registration and vowel purity
2. Emotionalsinging should be something you feel, rather than something you
do, and not a science
3. Interpretativeinterpret everything you sing, even exercises
4. Naturalleave the singing instrument alone
5. Psychologicalthe mind sings, not the voice
6. Resonancevoice is resonance and nothing more


153
106. The hardest group for us to recruit is
a. Boys
b. Girls
c. Minorities
d. Inner city children
107. We try to include hard-to-enroll children by
a. Holding auditions in their school
b. Holding auditions close to their homes
c. Providing scholarships
d. Providing transportation to rehearsals and concerts
e. Other; please specify
M. FUNDING
108. Funding is a problem for this choir.
a. Yes
b. No
109.If funding is not a problem, why not?
a. We have a dependable group of sponsors.
b. Our usual program of concerts and fund-raisers provides enough money to meet
our needs.
c. The tuition we charge is adequate for our needs.
d. A combination of tuition, concerts and fund-raisers provides the money we
need.
e. Other; please specify
110. We have a yearly budget of .
111. Approximately what percentage of your budget is spent on
a. Salaries
b. Music
c. Travel
d. Insurance
e Facilities for rehearsal and concerts
f. Uniforms
g. Miscellaneous materials


169
Mariani, A. (Producer). (1997). Behind cloister walls: Nuns music. Harmona.
Bloomington, IN: WFIU Radio Station.
Mark, M. L. & Gary, C. L. (1992). A History of American music education. New
York: Schirmer Books.
Marth, D. & M. (1998). 1998 Florida Almanac. Branford, FL: Suwannee River Press.
McRae, S. W. (1991). Directing the childrens choir. New York: Schirmer Books.
McConathy, O., Miessner, W. O., Birge, E. B., & Bray, M. E. (1929). The music hour.
New York: Silver Burdett Company.
McConathy, O., Morgan, R. V., Mursell, J. L., Bartholomew, M., Bray, M. C.,
Miessner, W. O., & Birge, E. B. (1944). New music horizons. New York: Silver Burdett
Company.
McKinney, J. C. (1994). The diagnosis and correction of vocal faults. Nashville, TN:
Genevox Music Group.
Mercer, R. J. (1972). Is the curriculum the scoreor more? Music Educators Journal,
58(6), 51-53.
Meredith, V. (1997). The pivotal role of Brahms and Schubert in the development of
the womens choir. Choral Journal, 37(7), 7-11.
Merriam, S. B. (1988). Case study research in education: A qualitative approach. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Miller, R. (1996). On the art of singing. New York: Oxford University Press.
Monk, D. C. (1987). The 'flaw' in the ointment. Design For Arts in Education, 89(2),
2-7.
Mursell, J. L. (1951). Music and the classroom teacher. New York: Silver Burdett
Company.
Mursell, J. L. & Glenn, M. (1931). The psychology of school music teaching. New
York: Silver, Burdett and Company.
Music Educators National Conference. (1994). The school music program: A new
vision. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference.


103
revue with singing, dancing and scenery. Budgets varied widely, from $12,000 to
$147,000, but in spite of the differences, each choir exists to give children the opportunity
to make music and to become a more knowledgeable participant in the arts.


V FLORIDA
& UNIVERSITY OF
131
liege of Fine Arts
partment of Music
130 Music Building
PO Box 117900
Gainesville, FL 32611-7900
(352)392-0223 Fax (352) 392-0461
Date
Name
Address
City, State
Dear
You recently received a letter from me which solicited your participation in a study of Floridas
community childrens choirs. These choirs seem to be increasing in popularity and number in recent
years, but there seems to be little information about any choirs of this kind which are located in
Florida. I am conducting a doctoral research program at the University of Florida which will study
community childrens choirs in this state and I am asking for your assistance.
This signed agreement which was included in that letter has not yet been received. Your help is very
important and is being sought so that information may be gathered about the function of the choir m
the community, how choirs are organized, and the theories and practices of the conductors. A better
understanding of how choirs serve both their membership and their locale will enable directors to be
more specific in creating programs that will attract audiences and singers.
In order to conduct this study, I am asking that you complete a questionnaire which will be sent to
you upon receipt of this signed consent. The questionnaire should take less than an hour to
complete. A follow-up interview may be conducted by telephone, e-mail or in person. Handwritten
notes and/or cassette recordings of the interviews will b kept. You will be free to refuse to answer
any question.
Your name will be separated from the questionnaire to protect your privacy and replaced with a code
number. There will be no references to specific director or choirs in the competed study.
Enclosed you will find another copy of this letter. Please indicate whether or not you are willing to
participate in this study on one of the copies, sign it, and return it in the envelope provided. The
second copy you may keep for your records.
I value your knowledge and anticipate your participation in this project.
Sincerely,
Mary Jeanette Howie
Address
Telephone number
E-mail address
Equal Opportunity i Affirmative Action Institution


9
directors may include vocalises and auditions, and these areas were important to this
study.
In attempting to teach children to sing well, a director may use training choirs.
These choirs are for children not yet mature enough to perform. They are an instructional
opportunity for choristers, giving the child time to prepare for the more exacting needs of
a concert choir. Training choirs were examined as part of the directors approach to
training a childs singing voice.
The music being taught is another means of teaching vocal skills. It can also be
used to teach music concepts. While this practice is advocated in the professional
literature (Mercer, 1972), the question of whether or not it is actually used was deemed
worthy of investigation.
The selection of concert repertoire is an indication of the directors philosophy in
the areas of music education and vocal training. Preference for one composition over
another may be the result of a desire to teach a particular music concept or to polish vocal
skills. Information of this nature is helpful to composers, arrangers and publishers who are
seeking to meet the needs of the childrens choir market.
While the music the choir sings is vitally important, so are parental attitudes, for
parental attitude can determine whether or not a child joins a choir, the degree of
enthusiasm the child exhibits, and the length of membership. The way in which the choir
leadership deals with parents may have a part in forming this attitude. This investigation
attempted to ascertain directors perspectives on parents and how these interested adults
may best serve the choir.


Each item of the closed-form data was checked to ascertain that it had been
placed in the correct category. An observer selected random questionnaires and
verified the coding.
Any discrepancies found were reexamined and corrected.


APPENDIX D
COMMUNITY CHILDRENS CHOIRS IN FLORIDA


47
articles, workshops, festivals and research studies have expanded the knowledge base
available for directors (Tagg, 1993).
The work of childrens directors appear to have long-term affect on the children in
their ensembles, for Long (cited in Humphreys, May and Nelson, 1992) found a significant
positive correlations between experiences in choral ensembles and an expressed preference
for concert-type music among elementary age students. Gawthrop (1997) concurred,
saying that involvement in the arts will create a life-long desire for artistic expression.
Children's choirs no longer exist solely to facilitate worship, but as a means of music
education and as a way to encourage aesthetic sensitivity in children.


42
them emerge from the songs (Nordholm, 1966, p. 22). One of the techniques successfully
employed by the boy choirs studied by Farrell (1976, p. 156) was the use of carefully and
sequentially developed vocal exercises to develop vocal technique. Vocal warm-ups
were seen as imperative to good vocal health.
Jean Ashworth Bartle, director of the Toronto Children's Chorus, agreed, stating
that her choirs begin every rehearsal with exercises that develop the voice and ear. For
example, the children hum major, minor, diminished and augmented triads in various
keys (Shrock, 1990). She stated that vocal exercises sung for their own sake ... are
meaningless and there needs to be a purpose to the warm-up (Bartle, 1988, p. 8).
Froelich (1979) found that neglecting particular aspects of a song, such as pitch,
phrasing, rhythm, diction, or dynamics, all of which can be taught in vocalises, resulted in
groups that would not rate superior in singing performances. In his study of outstanding
children's choirs around the world, O'Leary (1990) found that the best choirs did not
necessarily have the most rehearsal time, but they made the most of the time that was
available. Using vocalises to work on choral problems enables directors to correct
difficulties and prepare the total child for singing.
Auditions
The question of whether or not to audition children is an area rife with
controversy. There are those who stated that children should not be auditioned, believing
that elementary age singing opportunities are developmental experiences (Haworth, 1992;
Swears, 1985, p. 17). Others believe that an auditioned choir gives the more advanced


140
23.Have you been able to recruit a proportionate sample from each segment of your
community?
a.Race
Yes
No
b.Socio-economic groups
Yes
No
c.Income
Yes
No
d.Ethnic background
Yes
No
24.Why or why not?
P. ORGANIZATION
25. How many persons do you have on your musical staff?
26. What positions do they fill?
27.Do you have student officers in your choir(s)?
Yes
No
28.Ifno, why not?