2018 - 2019 TCDA Board of Directors

October 2018                                             Choral Notes

Volume 48
Fall 2018

In This Issue... 

  1. Preparing High School Students to be Successful Music Majors, by Jeb Mueller, College/Communicty Vice President
  2. TCDA Winter Conference
  3. Favorite Tunes from Jeb



Preparing High School Students to be Successful Music Majors by Jeb Mueller, College/Community Vice President

Let me begin by saying, "Thank you." College and university choral programs exist because teachers like you inspire students to study music beyond high school. We depend on your passion and expertise to prepare them, and you do it very well.

 Unfortunately, many music majors dropout after one or two semesters because they expect a different experience. In the spirit of improvement, I recently asked my college and university colleagues the following question: How can high school teachers prepare their students to be successful music majors? Many responded to my inquiry, and all provided valuable feedback.

Honestly Describe the Music Major Life

As teachers know, majoring in music involves far more than singing in choir. Music theory and history, daily practice, and other academic requirements dominate a student's workload. Be sure that those considering a musical career understand the entire experience and expectations.

Music Theory

Most of my colleagues mentioned music theory knowledge as incoming students' largest deficiency. Allen Hightower wrote, "Typically in Texas, we do well teaching sight-reading, because we're graded on it, but having a basic literacy of harmony and dictation is not given priority in lots of places." Many students take A.P. Music Theory, but that course is not offered everywhere, and it only benefits a small percentage of choir members. Incorporating theory basics into weekly lesson plans can positively impact an entire choral program.

Time Management

Establishing self-sufficiency often overwhelms college students. Many struggle to effectively prioritize their time, which then leads to anxiety and underachievement. High school directors can help by requiring students to keep a calendar and notify instructors well in advance if scheduling conflicts arise.

Piano Lessons

Several collegiate directors included piano skills among their list of music major must-haves. Basic keyboard proficiency plays a key role in successful music careers. It not only helps with learning their music, but it aids in theory acquisition and long-term employment opportunities such as teaching private lessons and accompanying ensembles. Mark Marty wrote, "Tell them to RUN, don't walk, to a piano teacher or piano class!"

The Intangibles

Succeeding in college, regardless of major, requires personal resolve; no one forces students to attend class, study, or practice. High school directors can help instill discipline by consistently holding them accountable both inside and outside of the classroom. Empower them to make musical choices rather than dictating every phrase or text stress. Make them responsible for fixing pitches and rhythms by applying the skills they acquired, and intervene only when they cannot solve the issue on their own. Challenge their abilities with quality repertoire, and praise them when they perform it beautifully. Doing all of the above produces students with grit, determination, intrinsic motivation, and a strong work ethic.

Working together, we can provide a wonderful collegiate experience for the next generation of educators, artists, and administrators.



Registration opens on Wednesday, October 10, 2018



Supporting TCDA

TCDA provides wonderful opportunities for professional development, peer to peer networking, personal growth and development and scholarships for college students and professionals striving to improve their skills and career opportunities.

Fortunately, these opportunities are made possible by our very own members and their generosity.  Please consider giving to this organizaiton to ensure we can continue to give back to you when needed.  There are many ways to give and anything helps!  Please visit our Giving Opportunities page to learn more.

 For more information, please contact Clell Wright, [email protected] or 325-670-1415 or MidAmerica Productions

New Tunes for your playlist

The TCDA board would like to share some of their favorites with you periodically. 

This month's selection, courtesy of Jeb Mueller.

Water Fountain

Performed by tUnE-yArDs



Alma Redemptoris Mater á 4 by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Performed by The King's Singers



Partita for 8 Voices by Caroline Shaw

Performed by Roomful of Teeth



Pan African Medley

Performed by the Michigan Men's Glee Club



Say Something

Performed by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera



TCDA supports the international copyright laws for music publications and all directors should be aware of these laws regarding permission to use, copy, perform, etc...music that is protected under these laws.  We encourage all directors to be mindful and follow copyright laws.

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TCDA Board of Directors 2018 - 2019
President -  Pam Elrod Huffman, Southern Methodist University
Past President - Kari Gilbertson, Richardson ISD
President Elect - Thomas Rinn, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD

Vice President, HS - Jason Dove, Deer Park ISD
Vice President, MS/JH - Christina Chapman, Richardson ISD
Vice President, Elem - Katy Flowers, Midway ISD
Vice President, College/Community - Jeb Mueller, University of Houston
Vice President, Church - Robert Stovall, First United Methodist Church Fort Worth
Secretary/Treasurer - Carisa Niemeyer, Richardson ISD

Executive Director - Sharon Lutz
Member Services Coordinator - Tiffany Downey

Texas Choral Directors Association
7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A
Austin, TX  78754