In order to shape our young students into competent and well rounded musicians, we as teachers need to help them become well versed with the three prime components in music: melody, harmony and rhythm. In the same way a painter cannot do justice to her work were she limited to only two of the three primary colors on her palette, neither can a musician create respectable works of art with a grasp on only two of the three aforementioned musical components. Of the three, it is fairly easy to observe which needs significantly more attention by choral directors. It's harmony. Pure and simple.
We can all agree that as Choral/Vocal majors in college, we were treated to precious little in the ways of harmony. And what we were treated to in many cases was a jumbled mess of rules about writing and analysis. These lengthy lists of “no-no’s” left most of us feeling more confused than informed. We also had an inkling that the “minimum piano proficiency exam” would hardly serve our future. Alas, as well meaning as our colleges were, they failed us. The results of this became obvious to us as we tried to enter the industry as professional musicians and/or as competent directors. In either case, without a full grasp of the component of harmony, we consequently found ourselves feeling inadequate and insecure.
But all hope is not lost. Far from it. One doesn’t need to be a piano virtuoso to be well-versed in harmony. Within a short period of time, one can command the skills necessary to take his/her performance ensembles to unimagined heights. An educator’s life shouldn’t be riddled with feelings of insecurity and apprehensiveness. The profession should be a fun and exciting adventure! And when it IS that, the student will respond in the same manner, setting in motion the synergistic exchange the educator has longed for. The purpose of this 7-day retreat is to put you on precisely that course. If you’re willing to apply yourself to a retreat of this magnitude, your life will change dramatically. After this one intense week of study, you’ll feel as if you’ve walked out of a cave into the bright light of day!