Why should we sing?
I believe that singing is something every human being needs to do. And every human being deserves a rich educational experience in music, especially (but not exclusively) our children. Our country and our world must do a better job ensuring that that actually happens. I believe that singing in a choir can, and often does, change a person's life. The multitude of skills learned and refined, the concepts intricately synthesized, the collaboration required, the leadership opportunities afforded, the deep and inevitable connections to mathematics, science, history, and language encountered, and (most importantly) the human connection and expression that results from singing in a choir are immeasurable and invaluable.
I believe that in its conception and original state, the human voice is a perfect instrument. Our task as singers is to return to the perfection of our creation, to undo all entanglements, which keep us from allowing our true uniqueness to be revealed. Therefore, emphasis is placed on the release of the physical manifestations of such psychological entanglements. It has been said that the purpose of education is to teach the child the art of maintaining autonomy while being assimilated by society. Each student is treated as an individual, and is challenged to discover his or her own vocal uniqueness.
Like no other art, singing is the dynamic balance of many ingredients. Or put another way, it is the simultaneous yet independent function of various activities. The student, if he/she is to master the art of singing, must be able to control all the various dynamics.Without control there will be no communication, and, thus, no art. Ultimately, this control must be on a subconscious level, but to reach this subconscious level these competing or conflicting forces must work either naturally or be trained to function as correctly/healthily as possible. These forces are manifested from our mind and emotions through our muscles and are very evident to the discerning eye and ear.
Moving beyond issues concerning the voice alone, the study of music in general contributes in important ways to the quality of every person’s life. Every musical work is a product of its time and place, although some works transcend their original settings and continue to appeal to humans through their timeless and universal attraction. Through singing, students can express themselves creatively, while knowledge of notation (literacy) and performance traditions enables them to learn new music independently throughout their lives. Skills in analysis and evaluation are important because they enable students to recognize and pursue excellence in their musical experiences and to understand and enrich their environment.
Because music is an integral part of human history, the ability to listen with understanding is essential if students are to gain a broad cultural and historical perspective. The adult life of every student is enriched by the skills, knowledge, and habits acquired through the study of music. And the study of music enhances our abilities in and understanding of all other realms of study, including mathematics, science, language, history, and all of the arts.
My goal is to equip each of our students with the tools necessary for not just a lifelong enjoyment, but a higher education and potential career in music, should they choose one. With that in mind, the standards, focus and rigor required will be of the highest degree, in order to enable students to achieve their full potential, both collectively in ensemble form, and certainly as unique individuals.