Choral all-state policies and practices : a survey-based analysis and critique
McCord, Gloria Dawn Harmon
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During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the massed choral ensemble became a popular phenomenon in American cultural life. Assuming various formats, it also found a permanent place in choral music education in the schools. Today, it exists as the all-state chorus, and is supported as a part of choral music education programs in every state in the nation. In spite of its prevalence, few studies have addressed its policies and practices or its effectiveness as an educational endeavor. The purpose of this study was (a) to provide an overview of policies and practices utilized in all-state choral events; and, (b) to gather opinions of active all-state choral clinicians regarding the effectiveness of these policies and practices. Two researcherauthored questionnaires were designed to collect data. Subjects for the Survey of Current All-State Policies and Practices were those involved in the organization of all-state events in each state and the District of Columbia. Subjects for the Survey of All-State Clinicians’ Opinions Regarding Current All-State Policies and Practices were derived from published and unpublished lists of clinicians who had conducted all-state choirs in at least three states during the past five years. Analysis of data led to the following conclusions: (a) more attention should be given to the formal statement and assessment of objectives; (b) the inservice education of teachers should be a component of the all-state experience; (c) student preparation and audition requirements should be stringent and comprehensive; (d) the role of the conductor as motivator is vitally important to the musical product; (e) communication between all participants should be improved; and (f) the rehearsal schedule should be arranged with the vocal health of the student in mind. Suggestions for further study included: vocal stress associated with all-state events and development of assessment tools for the all-state event.
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