MMEA Theory/Ear Training In Rehearsal Session
At this year’s annual Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) conference, I attended many sessions relating to secondary vocal music. One session that I found particularly meaningful was James Henry’s session on integrating aural skills and music theory into the ensemble rehearsal. The clever and cheesy name of this session “Guido Together Like Rameau-Lam-A-Ding-A-Dong” may have made it sound like a light-hearted, goofy session to not be taken seriously, but it was packed with information from the start. James covered various types of warmups to help secondary level singers develop their ear in a way that would help them to distinguish between event the smallest musical changes. There were also 3 separate handouts linked in the app for attendees to take home for later references. Many of the exercises discussed in the session were run with the teachers in attendance. It was interesting to see how many music educators struggled with some of the exercises themselves and were not able to simply sight read them as one might expect.
James also explained how these exercises and concepts could be worked into daily rehearsals so that they became second nature for students. He covered topics such as overtones and tuning to true pitches rather than just the piano as well. The session was quite eye opening and was the session I took away the most resources from over the whole conference. Some of his students were in attendance, so they also discussed how this works within their choir a bit too.