(Sung to the tune of "The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends")

Well, I've been to Heaven.  I sat through a session this morning by Dr. Alan Zabriskie of The University of Central Missouri and then went straight to the Pepper booth in the exhibit hall to buy his book.  It's called Foundations of Choral Tone:  A Proactive and Healthy Approach to Vocal Technique and Choral Blend".  Dr. Z's bright idea is that rather than basing his choir's sound on the least skilled members' abilities, perhaps he should teach his students (even middle or high school students) how the voice works and train them to use their voices in a healthy way so that he can create a choral sound based on actual principles of good singing. 

I doubt that I will read all of his book, since it's basically the stuff of which vocal pedagogy is made -- been there and got the t-shirt.  I will read his lesson plans to see all the clever ways he teaches vocalism to his students, but mostly I'll lend it to my friends and students.  I will also Email the folks planning the national NATS convention for next summer to recommend him as a presenter, and maybe the GMEA folks, too, for 2015.  I expect they already know who's coming this January.

The sad part is that several of the choral directors in the crowd asked (in several ways) do you actually teach "all this stuff" to your choir along with the music they have to learn?  His answer came swiftly that it was more efficient to teach them vocal techniques that he could then ask them to implement or adjust than to re-invent the wheel every time there was a tonal issue.  Yeah.  What a concept.  I think I'm in love.