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Dealing With The Haters

If you're going to spend your professional life getting up in front of groups of people and telling them what to do and how to do it,...

The moment that makes it all worthwhile

I think everyone seeks validation in life, as a matter of course. We all want to feel like we matter, like we can achieve something...

Making peace with imperfection

I have never ever had a perfect performance. I’ve done some great, even remarkable concerts, but the truth is that something always goes...

Audition Choices

I direct a number of choirs at various levels, and I also teach at the university level. So I spend a fair amount of my time (usually in...

The Right Note At The Wrong Time…

…is the wrong note. End of story. Apparently this is a quote from Robert Shaw, but honestly,  it’s just the plain truth. I’ve always felt...

Staying On Top Of The Details…

I am a runner. I started running a few years ago, mostly for weightloss and fitness, and I got hooked. Now I’m one of those crazy people...

Singing as Community

I am one of the luckiest people on the planet. I conduct choirs for a living. Multiple times per week, I stand in front of a group of...

Dancing About Architecture

One of the most challenging aspects of choral rehearsal is communication. Now, that word covers a lot of ground; but in this case, I’m...

"My Choir Can't..."

I had a conversation yesterday with a young choral conductor, who has recently taken on her first “real” conducting job, working with a...

The Good, The Bad, and The Good.

In rehearsal today with my men’s choir, we were working on on a lovely arrangement of Loch Lomond. This is a well-known standard, which...

The Hows and Whys of a Good Choral Warmup

This comes up an awful lot with my students, so it seems worth putting here. Ok, first, we all agree that a warmup is a necessary thing,...

First-World Choir Problems

Last fall, I started a new men’s choir. Our initial recruitment was what I like to call the “Y’All Come” approach: we made it clear that...

The Freedom To Breathe

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about breathing as it relates to the choral singer. As a singer and voice teacher myself, I obviously...

Practice Makes Permanent

Not too long ago, I read somewhere that “an amateur is someone who practices until they get it right; a professional is someone who...

The First Post: Thinking Out Loud

Conducting is a lonely profession. Oh sure, we all have friends and a professional network, but the fact is that when it comes down to...