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Choir Ninja, with Ryan Guth

Dec 19, 2017

The best way to grow your current high school choral program is to fertilize the soil. Start a great middle school feeder program, so that in high school you can spend less time on basic choir fundamentals and more time in depth with the music. Don’t worry if that seems like an impossible task; Adam Serpa breaks down all the steps for you. So whether you are faced with revitalizing a withered existing program, or planting something brand new, we’ve got the information you need to get started now.


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Highlight to Tweet: “Keep loving the kids. Be those relationships, and build good music.” -Adam Serpa

Show Notes:

  • The need for Middle School Choir Feeder Programs
    • Maybe your current feeder program for your high school is weak
    • Maybe it doesn’t exist
    • Either way, your next steps are the same.
  • Making the case to Administrators in the Community
    • Could you imagine a district that didn’t start math until high school? Choir is like any other subject. Start early is important for mastery.
    • Middle school is when many kids are finding their “niche.”
    • Get stakeholders on board early
  • Doing Reconnaissance
    • Find out what has been done in your district before.
    • Get familiar with your district’s history
    • What worked, what didn’t, what has been tried before?
    • Find out what resources are available.
  • Getting the Green Light/Deciding on a program Format
    • Traditional middle school: chorus as an elective during the school day.
    • Several K-8’s feeding into one high school: one school hosts a zero hour chorus, then students are bussed to their respective schools.
    • You (or another teacher) may have to travel to the different schools to work with the middle school aged students.
    • Even if you can only get to one other school, that’s a start, and will help your high school program.
  • Marketing/Recruitment
    • Use the district’s monthly admin meeting to present your case. Present the options, and ask, “Which way would work best?”.
    • Word of mouth: talk to students, parents...everyone you can.
    • Flyers
    • Hit EVERY back-to-school night
    • REMIND app
    • Visit 5th and 6th grade classrooms in the spring
  • Curriculum-What do you want choir students to know when they get to their freshman year in high school?
  • The benefits after one or two years
    • Performing in the community
    • The students who have had training in middle school are instant leaders in your high school programs


Adam Serpa is the Choir Director at Dublin High School in Dublin, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is his first year at Dublin High School, he taught previously at Ripon High School in the CA Central Valley. He received his Bachelors of Music in Choral Education and Vocal Performance from CSU Stanislaus and is pursuing a Master's of Music Education at San Jose State. Adam lives in Modesto with his wife Krista and two awesome cats named Berlioz and Bernstein.

Resources/links Mentioned:

Sponsored by:

Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)



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