2015-2016 TCDA Board of Directors

October 2015                                    Choral Notes

Volume 13
Fall 2015

In This Issue...                

  1. We Shape Lives!, by Thomas Rinn, High School, Vice President
  2. True Tales of a Music Teacher, by Jasmine Reed

 We Shape Lives! by Thomas Rinn, Vice President, High School

The start of the school year is always exciting and full of possibilities. I love the feeling of starting fresh, establishing new routines that improve upon old ones, and seeing the potential in the fresh faces in front of me. As I meet the students walking into my classroom and begin to formulate a plan for their development, I am reminded again of how crucial it is to go through the process of carefully assessing what the students know rather than relying on what knowledge I believe they should have. We are fortunate to have a great deal of flexibility in the curriculum we teach. While we certainly have guidelines and standards to meet, we also have the freedom to pace lessons as necessary, choose appropriate repertoire, and design lesson structures that cater to our individual students. As you work through your fall semester, I challenge you to carefully assess the level and the needs of each of your students in the areas of basic rehearsal and social skills, sight-reading, and vocal techniques. This assessment will be crucial in creating an individual plan for success throughout the year. One of the greatest challenges of teaching is putting aside our own conception of what the class “should” be doing and focusing on the skills they need to meet their objectives.

It is impossible for us to understand what each student brings to the table when they walk into our classroom. For many, just arriving at school can be an ordeal. When students enter the choir room I try to remember it is possible they are walking into what might be the only positive experience of their day. Take the time to establish classroom procedures and disciplines to promote a structured environment, one in which students are safe, can be themselves, can be creative, and can open themselves to the vulnerability required to be a musician. Demand that they show empathy for each other and respect the diversity in the classroom. Perhaps our most important job as an educator is not merely to be a good choir director, but to serve as a positive adult role model, demonstrating the qualities we want students to acquire during their time with us.  Music is not what we teach, but how we teach. It is easy to get distracted by the next round of All-State Auditions, upcoming concerts, and the performance you were just asked to do for the faculty meeting tomorrow. Try to focus on this fundamental step in the learning process.

All students have the ability to improve at the craft of choral singing. Examine your students, assess what they need and provide this for them. Time and energy spent teaching what you should teach, or what you simply want to teach, is wasted. Energy spent upset about the skills the student did not acquire before coming to you is also wasted. We can only teach what is put in front of us and it is our job to meet our students where they are and help them become better musicians and better people.

Natural Bridge Caverns is seeking choirs for Caroling in the Caverns this holiday season.  Many performance spots inside the caverns are still available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from November 27th through December 20th, as well as Monday December 21st through Wednesday the 23rd.  There is no charge to participating choirs.  Interested choirs should contact Jo Posey, [email protected], or phone her at 210-651-6101, ext. 1230.


True Tales of a Music Teacher by Jasmine Reed, Member
Sunday, August 9, 2015 (excerpt from Jasmine's blog, http://truetalesofamusicteacher.blogspot.com)

One year ago, I was reeling from my very first TCDA, so I blogged about it, naturally.  This year, you can bet I was extremely excited to attend TCDA. Last year, it served as a springboard for ideas and jump-starting the year. This year the one thing that stood out was the dedication of the music educators who make the decision to serve TCDA and advocate for music education.

 A Servant Heart

Whenever I hear this phrase, I think about people who serve in a church setting, but I believe that every music educator has a servant heart. It doesn’t matter what religion you practice or what God you serve, we all choose to dedicate our lives and hearts to making music education better because of someone before us. Attending sessions and meetings at convention, one thing was clear to me: TCDA works because of the educators who fight to keep it alive.  Music means something to each of us and it was incredible to watch friends and colleagues serving TCDA in so many ways. The amount of knowledge shared is invaluable and I only had one thought watching all of this awesomeness unfold – I hope I am contributing in some way.

And I Am.

By loving my job.

By serving all of the students I have the privilege to work with every day.

By giving my time to this art.

By contributing my positive and uplifting spirit to making our school better.

By choosing to have a leadership position in my region.

By attending several conventions and professional development meetings that I feel are sometimes tailored to everyone else BUT me.

By reaching out and leaning on colleagues when I’m confused, lost, or need advice.

By never settling for less, I am contributing to this world, one filled with educators who have a passion for music and who love to serve.

I only hope that some day, I can assist or present at TCDA and give someone some small token of knowledge that I’ve learned from those who have helped me along the way.  So, while we settle down and tackle another hectic year, Remember Your Servant Heart. TCDA celebrated 60 years! I’m thrilled I have a chance to devote my time to giving it 60 more.

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TCDA Board of Directors 2015 - 2016
President - Kari Gilbertson, Richardson ISD
Past President - Billy Talley, Amarillo ISD
Vice President, HS - Thomas Rinn, Colleyville ISD
Vice President, MS/JH - Connie Horton, Conroe ISD
Vice President, Elem - Michele Hobizal, Katy ISD
Vice President, College/Community - Lynne Gackle, Baylor Univ
Vice President, Church - Josh Taylor, First Presbyterian Dallas
Secretary/Treasurer - Leigh Ann McClure, Keller ISD

Executive Director - Sharon Lutz
Member Services Coordinator - Hallie Boone

Texas Choral Directors Association
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Austin, TX  78754