Marin Girls Chorus Curriculum 2014-2015

The curriculum of the Marin Girls Chorus facilitates the musical development of young singers in a graduated year-to-year structure. Singers advance through five skill-based groups, working on age-appropriate concepts of proper vocal technique, music theory and notation, memorization of repertoire, and performance practice. The rehearsal and performance structure of the Chorus is such that singers of all levels work together while also working at their individual skill specific level. This creates a community-based atmosphere in which singers are able to work with skill-appropriate material, while also becoming familiar with the more difficult repertoire of upper levels. What follows is an outline of musical goals for each level.

FRESCO AND GIOCOSO CHORUSES (LOWER DIVISION):

VOCAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT:

Respiration

  • encouraging correct singing posture that allows the breathing muscles to engage properly during singing, and encourages alertness throughout the rehearsal and performance process
  • engage and use abdominal muscles and other breathing muscles for support
  • implement the natural cycle of inhalation/exhalation
  • connect the breath to a phrase of music--the foundation of a legato line
  • teach the relationship between breath and musical phrasing
  • physical freedom and release of muscular tension in singing

Phonation

  • learn to differentiate between vocal sounds, upper registration and lower registration
  • produce a healthy sound in both the upper and lower registration and start the gradual process of blending the two together
  • Resonant Tone Production
  • develop the awareness and skill of clear, resonant, and accurate singing
  • develop technique in healthfully projecting the voice
  • develop uniform vowel pronunciation in singing
  • sing with a relaxed jaw and open throat

Expression

  • develop an emotional connection to the music
  • develop confidence in the rehearsal and performance setting
  • develop an appreciation for a variety of songs
  • sing expressively through use of dynamics and tempo

CURRICULUM GOALS

FRESCO

MUSIC THEORY OBJECTIVES FOR FRESCO CHORUS (K-1)

  • Explore and experience ‘comparatives’ (loud and soft, fast and slow, high and low)
  • Learn to feel a steady beat and to discern the difference between rhythms (“the way the words go”) and the underlying steady pulse.
  • Focus on singing in tune by matching the teacher, the piano, or another instrument, or another student
  • Sing a major scale in solfege syllables, with handsigns
  • Recognize, read, write and perform simple rhythmic patterns using eighth, quarter, half notes and rests
  • Recognize basic symbols in music
  • Repeat signs
  • Linking phrase contour to melody
  • Stepping, skipping and leaping sounds
  • Long and short sound durations
  • Concept of lines and spaces
  • Take a basic theory test at the conclusion of each singing semester

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR FRESCO CHORUS

  • Develop good choral singing habits: follow the conductor’s beat and cutoffs
  • Singing a large repertoire of unison songs or canons
  • Learn a large group of folk and composed songs with different tonal relationships
  • Learn songs which implement movement, particularly encouraging beat and rhythmic awareness
  • Learn songs which incorporate improvisation and individual creativity
  • Prepare concert songs for performance, to be memorized and sung at a high standard
  • Gain experience and confidence performing by participating in all MGC concert opportunities:
  • full chorus concerts in December and May
  • outreach concerts to retirement homes and convalescent hospitals
  • community concerts such as Santa’s Breakfast, Love Song Sing-Along, and the Marin Human Race
  • Attend chorus summer camp
  • Pass a basic performance assessment at the conclusion of the singing semester

GIOCOSO

MUSIC THEORY OBJECTIVES FOR GIOCOSO CHORUS (GRADES 2-3)

  • Differentiate between major and minor tonalities
  • Differentiate between duple and triple meter
  • Recognize, read, write and perform simple rhythmic patterns using eighth, quarter, half notes, whole notes, eighth, quarter, half and whole note rests
  • Begin to work with intervals, M2, M3, P4, P5
    • Sing basic melodies using Do, Re, Mi, Fa and Sol
  • Sing patterns and exercises from notes on a staff, using solfege
  • Learn basic time signatures, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4
  • Learn to track their part through a musical score
  • Expand sensitivity to dynamics and apply these concepts within performance:
    • crescendo and diminuendo
    • ritardando
    • forte, fortissimo, piano and pianissimo
    • legato, staccato
  • Take a basic theory test at the end of each singing semester

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR GIOCOSO CHORUS

  • Develop skills in intonation and vocal independence through unison songs, partner songs simple 2-part songs and canons
  • Differentiate between the melody and a high harmony part (descant) or a lower harmony part (alto)
  • Continuing learning to follow a director, specifically:
  • staying together as an ensemble
  • following changes in dynamics
  • Accuracy in entrances and cut-offs
  • Learn an internationally diverse body of repertoire, to develop an understanding of other cultures and languages
  • Gain experience and confidence performing by participating in all MGC concert opportunities:
  • full chorus concerts in December and May
  • outreach concerts to retirement homes and convalescent hospitals
  • Attend chorus summer camp
  • Pass a basic performance assessment at the conclusion of each singing semester

ARIOSO / BEL CANTO/CHANTONS CHORUSES (UPPER DIVISION)

VOCAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT:

Respiration

  • Singers will develop the technique of proper posture through exercises involving stretching and limbering, active body posturing, and mental alertness
  • Singers will develop the technique of correct breathing motion (the cycle of inhalation-exhalation) through exercises involving active use of the major breathing muscles
  • Singers will gain a basic anatomical knowledge of the major breathing muscles
  • Singers will develop the technique of breath management through exercises involving an energized air column and control (the slow emission of air) of the exhaled air when applied to vocal production

Phonation

  • Singers will develop the technique of upper-registration voice production as a means of finding and strengthening the upper register for singing, through exercises involving clarity, placement and projection
  • Singers will develop the technique of vocal-adjustment coordination (transition between registers) through exercises involving vocal clarity, placement, balance and projection
  • Singers will gain a sensitivity to maintaining a healthy speaking voice which continues to nurture the singing voice and prevents vocal damage
  • Singers will gain a basic knowledge of the laryngeal physiology

Resonant Tone Production

  • Singers will develop the technique of clear, resonant and accurate singing through the application of supported respiration and crafted phonation to resonant tone production
  • Develop a basic anatomical knowledge of the six resonators
  • Develop the technique of vocal resonance through exercises involving freedom, focus and projection of the voice
  • Singers will develop the technique of uniform vowel colors for resonant singing, through exercises involving the shaping of the vocal tract, increasing resonance and a legato line

Expression

  • Singers will develop the ability to sing expressively, through exercises related to phrasing, dynamics, tempo, range and agility
  • Singers will understand the making of a musical line as it relates to musical structure and overall musical performance
  • Singers will develop the coordination of both dynamic and tempo variation through exercises involving varying degrees of loudness, softness and fastness, slowness
  • Develop the technique of both agility and range extension through exercises involving increasing articulation demands over a gradually increasing vocal range

ARIOSO

MUSIC THEORY OBJECTIVES FOR ARIOSO CHORUS

  • Differentiate between major and minor tonalities
  • Learn about complex meter, especially 6/8 time
  • Recognize, read, write and perform simple rhythmic patterns using eighth, quarter, half notes, whole notes, sixteenth notes, dotted quarters, dotted half notes and quarter, half and whole note rests
  • Sight-sing simple melodic lines using solfege.
  • Expand sensitivity to dynamics and apply these concepts within performance:
  • crescendo and diminuendo
  • ritardando
  • forte, fortissimo, piano and pianissimo
  • legato, staccato
  • Memorize treble staff letter note names
  • Continue to work with intervals, including major and minor intervals.
  • Learn how to follow a score through following the movement of melodic line through contour of notes
  • Apply note and rhythmic reading to develop independent learning of new music

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR ARIOSO CHORUS

  • Gain experience and confidence performing by participating in all MGC concert opportunities:
  • full chorus concerts in December and May
  • outreach concerts to retirement homes and convalescent hospitals
  • participate in festivals and competitions
  • Attend and participate in all chorus retreats
  • Take a basic theory test at the end of each singing semester

BEL CANTO

MUSIC THEORY OBJECTIVES FOR BEL CANTO CHORUS

  • Recognize and notate intervals, both melodically and harmonically
  • Continue work with solfege syllables, practice sight-reading using solfege syllables
  • Study primary triads and basic inversions
  • Begin to learn key signatures—study the keys up to 2 sharps and 2 flats (C, G, D, F, Bb)
  • Work with compound meters and time signatures
  • Continue to apply note and rhythmic reading to develop independent learning of new music
  • Continue score study, including the concepts of form (including repeats and other form indicators) and tracking individual lines on a multi-stave page
  • Gain experience and confidence performing by participating in all MGC concert opportunities:
  • full chorus concerts in December and May
  • outreach concerts to retirement homes and convalescent hospitals
  • participate in festivals and competitions
  • Attend and participate in all chorus retreats
  • Pass a basic performance assessment at the conclusion of each singing semester

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR BEL CANTO CHORUS

  • Increase skills in singing harmony through multiple-part arrangements
  • Become skilled at maintain a vocal line within a 2 or 3-part song.
  • Sing in 2 and 3 parts a capella
  • Learn an internationally diverse body of repertoire, to develop an understanding of other cultures and languages
  • Sing solos in rehearsals and concerts
  • Gain experience and confidence performing by participating in all MGC concert opportunities:
  • full chorus concerts in December and May
  • outreach concerts to retirement homes and convalescent hospitals
  • participate in festivals and competitions
  • Attend and participate in all chorus retreats
  • Pass a basic performance assessment at the conclusion of each singing semester

CHANTONS

MUSIC THEORY OBJECTIVES FOR CHANTONS CHORUS

  • Recognize and notate major, minor, perfect intervals
  • Continue solfege study, including solfege modulations to related keys
  • Study major and minor triads and inversions
  • Expand understanding of key signatures through the circle of fifths
  • Practice reading more complex rhythmic values, including ties and syncopations
  • Work with compound meters and time signatures
  • Continue score study, including the concepts of form (including repeats and other form indicators) and tracking individual lines on a multi-stave page

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR CHANTONS CHORUS

  • Increase skills in singing harmony through multiple-part arrangements
  • Singers learn more parts than just their own, and can change parts within a song, and sing either soprano or alto parts
  • Sing in 2 and 3 parts without accompaniment – a capella
  • Participate in all MGC concert opportunities
  • Participate in festivals and competitions
  • Sing solos in rehearsal and concerts
  • Become a true performer, comfortable in her body, emoting the song through facial and body expression
  • Gain a sense of leadership within the chorus
  • Gain experience and confidence performing by participating in all MGC concert opportunities:
  • full chorus concerts in December and May
  • outreach concerts to retirement homes and convalescent hospitals
  • participate in festivals and competitions
  • Attend chorus retreats
  • Pass a basic performance assessment at the conclusion of each singing semester