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Middle School and High School Choral Music

Program/School Gateway High School Teacher Mr. Erich Lascek


Class Mixed Choir Time 9:45 Date 11/18/16
Classroom Environment
How are materials organized and passed out (student folders, etc)?
Students did not use folders or music for this rehearsal.
How are the students arranged within the classroom (chairs, risers; sitting, standing; by voice part)?
Students are arranged by voice part.
Is an accompanist used during rehearsals? For Concerts?
During rehearsals, director uses chord sheet or plays certain segments of music. More refined songs are
rehearsed with a backing track, which is also to be used at the concert.

Classroom Management
How does the teacher interact with the students (use of humor, engaging individuals, motivation through
personal connection)?
Teacher is very personally involved with students, and engages individual students so that each feels
important in the ensemble. Teacher also has an excellent sense of humor! However, this is the low
choir- the kind of choir kids join just because they need the credit- and it shows.
Is the teacher able to communicate and apply consistent behavioral or procedural expectations? Describe
ways the teacher accomplishes this communication during rehearsals.
Yes. Teacher is easily able to pull class back to focus, and gets directly to the problem when discussing
behavioral matters.
Is the teacher able to use encouraging, positive, constructive feedback, while clearly defining the need for
change or improvement? Give an example of how this is achieved.
Yes- calls himself a fan of the spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down method. Teacher gives
positive feedback alongside constructive feedback, so that the kids do not feel discouraged.
Describe the pace of the rehearsal and how this affects the behavior of the students. Is there an obvious plan
of action communicated to the students, and how is this communicated? Are there smooth transitions between
activities and songs?
The teacher takes time to relate to the students individually, as mentioned earlier. Some students take
advantage of this time to talk. However, once the teacher begins playing the music for the next song, the
students get quiet immediately. The music appears to all be in concert order.

Pedagogy/Rehearsal Strategy
How much time is allotted for warm-ups?
Roughly 5-10 minutes.
What is the focus of the warm-ups? Resonance? Range expansion? Agility? Diction? Vowel unification?
There is a definite focus on diction and ensemble unity in this class.
Are warm-ups related to the literature used in rehearsals?
Not in particular- the warmups for this class are, for the most part, the same as the warmups used for the
other class, who are singing different music.

How much time is allotted to sight-reading? How frequently do the students sight-read?
Rehearsal was mostly geared toward upcoming concert performances and rehearsal of known music, so
no time was spent on sight reading in this class.
What system do the students use for reading (tonal/rhythm syllables, unison or number parts)?
No time was spent actually reading the music in this class, so it is unclear.
What strategies are used to teach parts to the students during warm-ups, sight-reading, and rehearsal?
Solfege? Sectionals? Rote learning? Use of piano or voice? Verbal or spoken directions? Vocal demonstration?
Movement? Visual aids?
The music for this particular class was already memorized. The teacher used spoken direction or vocal
demonstration to correct errors with the music.
Is there a specific focus (e.g., pitch, intonation; tone, resonance; diction, articulation, and enunciation;
phrasing and expression; breath support; or posture) on choral technique, and how does the director
accomplish this?
Diction and unity were definitely a focus in the class. The director discussed proper vowel shapes, proper
pronunciation and diction style for the songs, and stressed the importance of singing as a whole rather
than as individuals.
Is there a mix of focus on the whole and the parts of each song?
Yes. Teacher worked to highlight specific parts in each song at specific times.
Is there a variety in the repertoire? Are there multicultural, sacred, secular, folk tune and lighter numbers?
Are there polyphonic (partner songs, rounds etc.) and homophonic songs?
Less variety in this class than the Chorale, but still a wide variety of lifestyles and genres represented.
How does the teacher address the needs of the changing voice?
In this particular class, the issue was not addressed.
Is the rehearsal mainly teacher-driven/directed or student-driven/directed?
Definitely teacher-driven. The teacher controlled the entirety of the rehearsal.
When giving directions during rehearsals, how many issues are addressed at one time?
One or two directions would be given at a time, so as not to bog down the ensemble with too much
information.

Musicianship
Does the director have a clear conducting pattern, effective cues, artistic interpretation, and purposeful
gestures?
In this particular class, the teacher sometimes doesnt conduct at all, forcing the students to listen to each
other and work as an ensemble to keep time.
Describe the directors piano skills.
Teachers piano skills are self described as lacking. The piano ability seems solid enough to get the job
done, nonetheless.

Describe the directors vocal skills


The director has actually not sung anything that was meant to sound good in this class.
Do the students clearly understand and communicate the text of the literature?
This class has some problems with expression, which the teacher addresses. They understand, but do
not express the meaning of the songs. Also struggle with diction, which makes the music difficult to
understand.

Additional Observations and Questions to Ask the Teacher


See other high school observation sheet