Curriculum

The Chorus School curriculum provides the opportunity for girls ages 7 to 16 to develop musically at their own pace. Individual progress is measured within four graduated Level Objectives. While work toward Level Objectives occurs in every rehearsal, choristers schedule time each day at home to work on vocal technique, theory assignments and music repertoire memorization. There is much to learn both personally and musically at each level; each chorister, regardless of age, develops at her own rate.

A sample of specific skill objectives is listed below:
Go to: Level I, Level II, Level III, Level IV
Go to: Music Theory Curriculum and Goals
Go to: Summer Music Camp


LEVEL I (Ages 7 - 10)

Level I provides the foundation for progress and development in the Chorus School. Attention span and quiet concentration are a point of focus, as well as practice and development in vocal technique and theory. Working goals are aimed toward both areas: the need to learn important musical basics and the need to learn to work together as a group.

Sample Objectives:
 

  • To be attentive throughout rehearsal
  • To sing with correct physical concepts of correct breath support and control; dropped, relaxed jaw on correct vowels; articulated, clear and precise consonants; distinct and correct diction
  • To listen to and match correct pitches on scales and intervals
  • To read from a music score
  • To begin 2-part singing in rounds or canons with pitch accuracy and part security

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LEVEL II (Ages 8 - 11)
Level II offers a greater diversity in individual attentiveness, repertoire, vocal skills, theory requirements, and performance demands. To enter Level II, choristers must demonstrate basic vocal and musical competence, and additionally they must master elementary sight-singing concepts and skills. At this level, choristers learn to be more confident and more independent in their work. Rehearsal concentration and performance demands are increased in Level II.

Sample Objectives:
 

  • To become confident singing 2-part repertoire
  • To support vocal tone for accurate intonation and focus
  • To adjust tone color or intonation for blend and tuning
  • To develop the concept of correct placement of head voice & activated muscles of breath control
  • To memorize 25-30 minutes of repertoire each semester

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LEVEL III (Ages 8 - 13)
Level III extends the challenging program of music repertoire, musical concepts, and performing experiences. The expectations and personal responsibility of choristers are increased, the training is more intensive, and the rewards become more fulfilling. Choristers are exposed to an expanded three-part repertoire in two to three additional languages and more advanced concepts of choral singing are introduced. Choristers who work conscientiously in Level III should have little difficulty in progressing toward the standards that are required for advancement to Level IV.

Sample Objectives:
 

  • To increase physical and mental stamina in a rehearsal situation
  • To develop increasing vocal strength to sustain more sophisticated melodic phrases
  • To continue to cultivate a healthy tone quality with correct vowel and consonant placement
  • To continue the development of listening skills for more accurate in-tune singing
  • To increase independence in music reading and music memory

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LEVEL IV (Ages 10 - 16)
Level IV presents a stimulating, comprehensive, and significantly more demanding program in music repertoire and skills, as well as increased and varied performing experiences. Preparation for graduation from the Chorus School is part of the Level IV curriculum.

Emphasis is placed on more complex and challenging music, in addition to more demanding expectations for the refinement of sight-singing skills. Comprehension and vocalizing of musical phrasing is more complex at this level. Vocal technique is expected to become more consistent, and greater agility and practice are necessary to hear and learn music in more foreign languages. There are high expectations for the development of chorister independence in work ethic and also in rehearsal techniques. An ambitious schedule of performances allows Level IV choristers to offer their music – thereby sharing their talents and musicianship -- to a variety of audiences throughout the greater Bay Area. Level IV includes preparation to audition for the professional-level and touring ensemble, Chorissima.

Sample Objectives:
 

  • To develop independence in working on and in learning repertoire
  • To increase and develop physical and mental stamina within rehearsal and concert situations
  • To continue development of vocal technique for consistency of placement and focus
  • To sing with consistency of breath and relaxation of the jaw for resonance and brilliance in tone production
  • To be constantly alert to the properties of the score provided by the composer or editor, learning sensitivity to the intangible considerations of text and musical line

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MUSIC THEORY/SIGHTSINGING CURRICULUM
Music theory skills are taught during every regular rehearsal. The purpose of music theory in the Chorus School program is to increase choristers’ knowledge and practical application of music theory skills -- both written and aural. The direct result of this emphasis on music theory is that it produces better musicians in general and, more specifically, better sight-readers and choral singers.

LEVEL I GOALS:
 

  • treble clef note names
  • solfege C major scale
  • notation skills -- introduction
  • rhythmic values -- whole, half, quarter, eighth, dotted half,
  • dotted quarter notes and equivalent rests
  • meters -- simple and compound
  • beat placement in relation to meter signature
  • introduction to intervals
  • simple rhythmic and melodic dictation
  • introduction of accidentals
  • sight singing step-wise melodies based on C major scale
  • vocabulary


LEVEL II GOALS:

 

  • all previously covered skills
  • solfege diatonic melodies
  • major scales
  • basic intervals
  • rhythmic values -- reinforce basic values and patterns
  • meter -- reinforce simple and compound meters
  • key signatures
  • primary triads
  • rhythmic and melodic dictation
  • sightsinging melodies and 2-part music
  • vocabulary

LEVEL III GOALS:
 

  • all previously covered skills
  • continue solfege study
  • major, minor, perfect intervals
  • rhythmic values -- more complex patterns with ties and syncopation
  • meter -- reinforce compound meters
  • key signatures: relative and parallel major and minor
  • solfege modulations to related keys
  • major and minor triads
  • rhythmic and melodic dictation of longer melodies involving more complex skips
  • sightsinging 2-3 part music
  • vocabulary


LEVEL IV GOALS:

 

  • all previously covered skills
  • rhythmic values -- 32nd notes, triplets; eighth note syncopation
  • meter -- complex and mixed meters
  • key signatures -- reinforce parallel and relative minor keys
  • visual recognition and construction of all key signatures
  • scales -- major, minor, chromatic, whole tone, modes
  • aural/written identification of major/minor/diminished/augmented triads in all three positions
  • seventh chords
  • construction of all intervals
  • music vocabulary
  • introduction of bass clef
  • sightsinging and dictation all perfect, major, minor, augmented, diminished intervals
  • sightsinging 3-4 part music with degree of independence and security
  • passing the Qualifying Exam for graduation from Chorus School

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SUMMER MUSIC CAMP
Please click here for more details.

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