Helen Dietz offers observations on ACDA; tosses in some suggestions for preparing for a substitute

by Helen Dietz, Membership Chair, ORACDA (12/29/17)

has been a big help to me in my teaching career.  I have absorbed teaching techniques from rehearsal planning, voice development, musical literacy, and I’ve found repertoire that works!

More importantly, I have found friends and colleagues.  During years when I was struggling (and we all have them!), I had friends who had been in a similar situation and could help.  When I was rejoicing for a great year, a great choir, or even a wonderful moment in rehearsal, I had someone with whom to share who truly understood the joy and the process it took to get to that point of success.

NW ACDA Conference happening right here in Oregon
We have an opportunity to share ACDA with new members every day.  This coming year, we have a
chance to share a NW ACDA conference here in Portland, on March 8-12, 2018!  For the new choir directors, for the band, orchestra or general music teachers re-assigned to choir, for the experienced teachers who are looking for a shot in the arm, the conference creates an opportunity to see amazing choirs, create honor choir experiences for students, participate in workshops for rejuvenation, and to make connections with colleagues.

Please share the emails you get from Oregon ACDA with other choir directors in your area.  Especially the music teacher who may have just one choir and who feels left out of the choral loop.

Give your students an opportunity to participate in an ACDA honor choir.  IT’S LIFE CHANGING!

Keep your eyes open for honor choir experiences for your students
Lately, more middle school district honor choirs have been popping up in Oregon.  This is a chance for several students from each school to rehearse and perform with leaders from other schools.  It builds community in the same district where the athletes are competing.  When my students returned from the honor choir to their home choir, they brought back musical and leadership skills.  They also had more maturity and depth to their skills and could empathize with what the choir director was trying to achieve in the rehearsal process.  Portland has their honor choir and band students meet every Monday for a few weeks, then perform.  Other districts in the metro area have a Friday/Saturday rehearsal and performance.   These district choirs have not been restricted to ACDA members but when those involved see the process, they also want to be a part of the ACDA honor choirs!

Helpful hints when you must have a substitute teacher
As an official retiree, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of subbing in several music programs and now see things from a slightly different perspective.  My best success came with a prepared classroom. So, in closing, a few simple but helpful hints that will make your sub’s life easier:

– Include an outline of your usual rehearsal plan.
– Make sure music to be rehearsed is labeled and in an easy to find folder or notebook.
– Seating charts are VERY helpful  (especially ones with pictures).
– Accompaniment tracks are a bonus; (this helps with style, tempo, and accuracy in the rehearsal).
– Added bonus: Students who have jobs outlined for them, are self-reliant and have more ownership of the music group.

Thank you for being a part of this amazing occupation and for sharing the life-long joy of singing…and  thank you for reading until the end of my article!  Take care and have a wondrous new year!

Helen Deitz

ACDA member since 1989
Currently Oregon membership chair
Retired from Gresham/Barlow SD
1 year of high school
30 years of middle level
2 years of elementary

You may contact Helen HERE