Course Offering Information
The below information are courses that were offered in 2017. Please use the information as example courses that may be offered for Harmony University 2018.
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All Courses and Descriptions
Monday to Friday, same times, same instructor. You are able to select about 85% of these classes, but a few are reserved for people in each college.
This directing course is intended for music educators who are wishing to learn more about BHS conducting gestures who may already be familiar with our style (or new to our style). If you are not a degreed music educator, please select another course. This class will prepare you to be more comfortable with Barbershop style directing…it’s a little different than what you learned in college! Hands-on conducting skills will allow you to more clearly show your intentions in our style. We will provide multiple directing opportunities in a collaborative learning environment. Dr. Mance is a long time barbershopper and college music professor.
Is your chapter aging and struggling to grow? Is your audience shrinking? Generational and societal changes over the last 50 years have had dramatic impacts on non-profit and fraternal organizations, and barbershop is no exception. We’ll examine these changes and their effects on your chapter, then learn specific strategies to use them for your advantage.
Finale notation software is the standard of the music industry with hundreds of bells and whistles, but it can be difficult to use. Spend some time learning many of the shortcuts of templates, speedy note entry, cut and paste, and why you should wait to put lyrics in! Don’t be afraid! Having a laptop with Finale loaded is highly recommended, but not required.
This week we will go through the bel canto principles step-by-step, integrating this understanding into our barbershop bodies. Overall vocal production will be addressed, including: air management mechanics, tone quality, resonance, timbre, legato, wall of sound, singing, forward placement, articulation, tonal center, control, vocal cord function and health, as well as synchronized singing with others, whether in quartet or chorus, as we begin to understand ourselves as optimal acoustic resonating instruments designed to easily and effectively amplify sound.
A cappella music is experiencing a resurgence, but is your chapter benefiting from it? Are you struggling to find and retain an audience? Creating awareness for your chapter requires more than an advertisement in the local paper. We’ll review audience needs and how to align chapter desires with them, as well as partnerships and other relationships that can help you grow your audience. We’ll examine your chorus (the public face that you present in your marketing) and how that helps or hurts your efforts. We’ll also review marketing techniques and their effectiveness, including social media, email marketing, SEO/SEM, and more traditional forms.
We are never too old to sing our best! This course will help anyone who believes that singing at a high level is impossible past a certain age. Re-establishing the importance of the basic fundamentals of good singing will be a high priority in this course, geared towards the challenges of our voice past the age of 60. Vibrato, breath control, pitch issues… let Ron help you as a singer OR leader of singers!
With the explosion of a cappella singing among today’s youth, this course will demonstrate the similarities between barbershop and contemporary a cappella, and explore ways to take advantage of the increased awareness of a cappella music and adapt it to benefit barbershop groups.
Music in the barbershop society has changed quite a bit from our formation. We know this type of singing was around well before we started in 1939, but we started to write it down and record it in the 1940’s, and we now have a record to see how it has changed. Spend a week with arranger Aaron Dale and look and listen to charts, and see how we continue to grow. Is barbershop a genre, a time period like Baroque, or is it a style of arranging? Are chorus arrangements fundamentally different than 10, 20, or 30 years ago, and if so… why?
Learn the common characteristics of great coaching for choruses and quartets, improve your communication skills, and study the relationship between the coach and the ensemble. Should you adjust your methods with quartets or chorus, for men or women, or even young or older groups? Sometimes the mark of a great coach is knowing when to NOT say something!
Prerequisite: Coaching Observer and application: http://www.barbershop.org/harmony-university/coaching-apprentice-program/
Want to learn how to coach at the top level? This is the second step in learning how to coach: First you will watch our master coaches work with our HU quartets and choruses, then you will be gently guided to coach under the watchful eye of our master teachers. An online application is required for this class, and will will only accept 20 students. The application is on the Harmony Univerisity Website. CAP’s are asked to attend both morning (10:30 am) AND afternoon (4:30 pm) sessions, as well as our EARLY BIRD class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8 AM.
Want to learn how to coach at the top level? This is the first step in learning how to coach: Watch master coaches work with our HU quartets and choruses. Dean Gary Plaag will assign you to a variety of sessions where you will have the opportunity to watch our coaches work with groups. After the session is over, you will have the chance to ask questions of the coaches about teaching strategies and why they made “that” choice. You will NOT be in front of groups coaching in this program, you will only observe. You may select morning observer, evening observer, or both sessions. Limit 20. Application Information: http://www.barbershop.org/harmony-university/coaching-apprentice-program/
This course will teach students how to solve several common pitfalls as a conductor and teach how to inspire expressiveness from the ensemble through appropriate gestures.
This directing course is intended for front line BHS directors who are currently working with a chapter. If you are not a front line director, please select another course. This class will prepare you to be a better director, from emerging to master level. Review conducting basics while applying another level of musicality and artistry in the gesture. Hands-on conducting skills will allow you to more clearly show your intentions in our style. We will provide multiple directing opportunities in a collaborative learning environment.
This directing course is intended for barbershoppers who are ready to take the plunge into chorus directing, but have not had the chance to lead their own BHS, HI, or SAI group… yet. This class will prepare you to be more comfortable with Barbershop style directing! Hands-on conducting skills will allow you to more clearly show your intentions in our style. We will provide multiple directing opportunities in a collaborative learning environment.
Being a director is more than conducting and making musical choices. You are a leader of men! Besides attending meetings, you must communicate the vision and culture of the group on a weekly basis. We spend so much time working on the musical elements of our directing, but let’s dig into the people skills leadership style required for directing.
Is your chapter spending more time on non-singing “jobs” than on singing? Is it getting harder to find volunteers for those jobs? We’ll review ways in which you can increase member and audience satisfaction by doing less and singing more, and how to get off the ”financial hamster wheel” so that decisions are not driven by chapter financial needs. We’ll look at free and low-cost resources available to aid with chapter operations, performance, marketing, and other needs, and we’ll review tools, services, and other solutions that you can begin using immediately.
Based on the best-selling book by Jim Colins, explore leadership principles to change your chapter or quartet from surviving to thriving: from good to great. Please purchase “Good to Great and the Socials Sectors” in preparation of the class. Available online for under $12 @ Amazon. This is a 35-page booklet that supplements the much longer original book, addresses the needs of non-profits, like the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Trace your Barbershop roots! Learn how barbershop draws from other musical styles. Listen to recordings and trace the development of the barbershop quartet through the early years of the Society. Dr. Wright is a barbershop legend of arranging, judging, coaching, and history.
Gain an overview of more recent Society history, including the development of the contest and judging system and the introduction of the chorus. Listen to recordings of international champions through the years, and see where the barbershop style was influenced. Dr. Wright is a barbershop legend of arranging, judging, coaching, and history.
When everyone is doing “their own thing” from a vocal production standpoint, sometimes we get very mixed results on the risers. By synchronizing a few basic body mechanics through the bel canto understanding, we can optimize our synchronized singing in fast and easy ways. Join Debra Lynn, as we learn how to bring a variety of levels of singers onto the same page, helping them to speak one language. Learn fast and easy ways to tune, stabilize, resonate and create ownership of extraordinary results.
How do you set up a PVI program (Private Vocal Instruction) for your chorus? What do you need to know, what are the traps and lessons learned? Let Kim share the secrets she has learned over the years as both a retired High School educator and successful women’s barbershop director.
Oftentimes, when four people come together to form a quartet, singers bring their unique timbre and quality of sound to the unit. Sometimes, this mix and match doesn’t lock and ring with ease. Learn how to make small adjustments that create huge positive impact in your overall quartet sound. This class will be designed for both individuals in a quartet, quartets and those interested in forming a quartet. We will use Polecats for our application of these principles and sing our way to better results.
Comedy has always been a staple of barbershop. This class will explore what makes people laugh, and how to maximize comedic impact for your quartet or chorus. Sometimes telling an internet joke is NOT the answer!
How can we share with the world the joy of Barbershop in our lives if the world doesn’t know about us? Learn do’s and dont’s from long time BHS staffer Brian in this class about marketing, public relations, and how to grow your social media impact. Our core messaging needs to be part of every conversation with external audiences. You are bigger when you make the worldwide barbershop movement bigger.
If you have taught music for 1 year or 40, the first time you are immersed in barbershop it can feel strange and confusing! Start every day with other music teachers thrust in a barbershop world. Topics include how to use this style in your classroom, performance practice (why do you ignore the written rhythms in ballads), vocabulary (swipe? tag?) and style differences (vibrato, holding tonic chords). Each morning will have the opportunity to ask about what happened the day before and translate into educator language. Kirk is formally trained high school music educator and well established in barbershop traditions…and also pretty funny! This class required for music educators on scholarship, but all practicing music educators are invited to join us each morning.
Come be a part of Harmony University PREMIER chorus for guys aged 25 and under! You will sing top-notch repertoire with guys your own age and perform on the Saturday night show. This chorus is always a highlight of the week. This year’s director is Sean Devine, gold medal lead of OC Times and Artistic Director of the new Parkside Harmony in Hershey, PA. Your section leaders? Pratt Street Power, our 2016 youth international champs!
Have you ever been asked to lead a group of singers – your section, or maybe even the whole chorus – and felt like you really didn’t know what you were doing? Have you ever wanted to, but been shy about volunteering because you weren’t sure how? If you like the phrase “No experience is necessary”, then this class is for you! Gain basic understandings conducting techniques, vocal techniques, and leadership techniques, and leave with practical exercises so you can get started on the road to become a musical leader.
What is your personality style, and how does this influence your leadership traits? Work with our leaders who can share best practice strategies and then have us all apply this to barbershop chapter, district, and society leadership. Topics include:
- Monday: 5 Leadership Practices
- Tuesday: Feedback: the Breakfast of Champions
- Wednesday: 5 Leadership Role
- Thursday: Chapter Member Audit
- Friday: Setting and Achieving Goals
This is for our highly technical friends who like to geek out on how things work in the world! What is “SOUND”? How is it produced? Study overtones, expanded sound, formants, word sounds, and chord structure. Discover what makes barbershop sound unique. “Physics of Barbershop Sound” (highly suggested) available for purchase at the Harmony Marketplace.
This is for our highly technical friends who like to geek out on how things work in the world! This class takes up where we left Physics of sound #1. Discover what makes barbershop sound unique. “Physics of Barbershop Sound” (highly suggested) available for purchase at the Harmony Marketplace.
How engaging your community will help you become the best ensemble in your community. Topics will include, peer group analysis, discovering your community’s needs, focus on your strengths while understanding your weaknesses, no strings attached except the “hope” string, collaborating with other music ensembles, and so much more! Lessons learned from the success in the Great Northern Union Chorus and CEO for the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Spend a week with Scott as he explains how vowel and formant choice can radically alter the ring of your quartet and chorus. If you are a barbershopper who likes to geek out on how to sound better and get more sound with less effort, this class is for you!
Based on the best-selling book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, this class will present a model of chorus leadership based on time-tested principles. Information applies to choruses, quartets, school groups, and any team.
Focus on the individual vocal skills associated with creating a better choral tone and how to teach the skills in both a group (full chorus / small group) setting and one-on-one. Topics: (1) Tension release and alignment, (2) breathing (support/control), (3) tone (onset of, sustaining, registers, releasing), (4) resonance, (5) addressing choral issues caused by tone production. Strongly suggested for first year directors college students and aspiring coaches.
Focus on the ensemble vocal skills associated with creating a better choral tone and how to teach the skills in a group (full chorus / small group) setting. Topics: (1) Vowel/formant matching, (2) word sounds/synchronization, (3) just intonation/tuning/chord balancing, (4) riser stacking, (5) classifying voices/dealing with problem voices. Strongly recommended for 2nd year directors college and music educators college.
Focus on synthesizing skills from Sound Management I and II, and application of the concepts to address opportunities with your home chorus. Spend time each day a) addressing an issue of the day with 3-5 tools, b) listening and prioritizing areas of improvement of at least one chorus from a class member, and c) teaching skills through a warm-up or craft exercise based on highest priority areas from a video performance. Topics: (1) Tonal center loss (horizontal tuning/flatting), (2) noise (individual vocal issues/vertical tuning, inconsistent production), (3) noise (ensemble synchronization issues), (4) vertical (choppy) singing, (5) phase issues (punched onset, loss of energy at the end of the phrase). Strongly recommended for returning directors college students and music educators college.”
How to start a new chapter or revitalize your current one! Topics include creating a chorus culture, fundraising, and image building. Growth is not JUST membership, but a culture! Mark is from Texas with experience in rebuilding smaller struggling chapters to larger more stable ones… learn how!
Strategic planning may sound daunting, but it’s critical for your chapter’s success and this course makes it easy. We’ll define and review the needs of chapter “customers”: existing members, prospective members, audience, etc. How are they different and how do they compete for your attention? We’ll perform a simple set of exercises to help your chapter identify your priorities, align your actions with them, and build a schedule to support your plan.
What do you need to be aware of as a performer? Allow your artistic performance to be your biggest concern or focus, and not the laundry list of things that could distract from your performance! We will cover getting your body out of the way of your voice, engaging the brain, and expanding your sound. Brian is the bass of our most recent international champion quartet Forefront, as well as performance category judge.
No theory test required: self-select in and out.This class begins with the basics of musical notation, key signatures, and time signatures. Begin construction of major and minor scales by singing them in class. A study of intervals wraps up the class. Learn how the practical application of theory to barbershop can improve your weekly rehearsals.Class adjustments can be made if this is too difficult or too easy! If you think this sounds too hard, sign up for fundamentals of music.
No theory test required: self-select. Starting from Intervals, Theory II continues with concepts like triad construction and identification, and ends with a discussion of seventh chords in root position. Learn how the practical application of theory to barbershop can improve your weekly rehearsals. *Prerequisite: Theory I proficiency. Class adjustments can be made if this is too difficult or too easy!
No theory test required: self-select. Starting with sevenths in root position, Theory III builds on the existing theory knowledge and discusses seventh chords, the circle of fifths, inversions, chord analysis, and voice leading. Learn how the practical application of theory to barbershop can improve your weekly rehearsals. *Prerequisite: Theory II proficiency. Class adjustments can be made if this is too difficult or too easy!
No theory test required: self-select.This class begins with a quick review of Theory III concepts, then discusses chromatically altered sixth, seventh and ninth chords, augmented sixth chords, and the”Neapolitan” (not the ice cream!) Learn basic melodic harmonization and functional analysis of existing barbershop arrangements. This class is the final piece of the theory puzzle. Learn how the practical application of theory to barbershop can improve your weekly rehearsals. Prerequisite: Theory III proficiency.Class adjustments can be made if this is too difficult or too easy!
A workshop for chapter leadership geared toward exploring and maximizing a chapter’s potential. Re-visit the process by which your chapter achieves success and where success is thwarted. Perhaps chapter administration is too cumbersome. Learn how less governance and more simplicity can reap continued successes no matter your chapter’s goals and desires.
Why is music such a universally vital part of human society? We will investigate the unique properties of the appeal of music and explain why music affects us from goose bumps, hair standing up and brain function… from the inside out.
Why do barbershoppers say “sit on that note” and “lift this one up” all the time? Learn how to tune, and spend a lot of time comparing just vs. tempered tuning. This is one of our most popular “nuts and bolts” classes that will help barbershop singers learn how to tune OFF the piano.
This is a serious but fun overview of vocal health for singers. We will examine many vocal health problems that singers seem to experience time and again, and ways to recover from damage. Lecture and discussion will be used as well as interviews with singers that have been “down the road” with specific vocal problems.
This course is designed to equip directors and chapter vocal leaders with the information and skill to address individual vocal problems using techniques based on current research in voice physiology and function. Highly recommended for first year HU directors college students.
Correct breathing, resonance, posture, navigating the break, and tone production. There will be multiple opportunities for one-on-one voice experiences, as well as group discussions and group lessons, as well as teacher-led modeling of vocal issues common to performers and directors.
What if instead of thinking about all the technical stuff in singing (stand tall, spin, drop jaw, support… ), you thought about something else? And sang better? Paul will give decidedly UN-technical coaching and instruction to solve technical issues in Wavebox! This is a great class for aspiring coaches…use your holistic strategies for working with choruses and quartets when you get back home!