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Take Advantage of all BHS Education Resources

Originally appeared in The Harmonizer, Jan./Feb. 2018.

By Steve Scott

I am now seven months into my tenure as a member of the BHS staff Education team. One of my major tasks has been to help us gather together all of the past great BHS education resources, update and consolidate them when necessary, add state-of-the-art material, and develop means to distribute them widely and effectively. We've made some good headway so far, and the following are some of the many resources that are already available.

We can be proud of past efforts

I was surprised and pleased to learn how many manuals, videos, and books the BHS produced over the years. Many are wonderful and were sorely needed to serve a population of professed singing amateurs. (Latin: one who engages in activity for pleasure rather than money.) Truly we stand on the shoulders of great teachers and leaders. The world wants and needs what we have!

I am pleased to report that the perception of barbershop singing has changed in academic circles. There are a few vestiges of teachers who think barbershop singing is harmful, but that number is rapidly shrinking. The outside music world has already begun clamoring for what we have. Thanks to our judges, teachers, and coaches who continually hone their teaching skills, our members are singing better and more healthy than at any time in BHS history.

Private lessons

In 2017, the Education team began offering private voice, arranging, and conducting lessons to much success. Available in-person in Nashville and on video-chatting platforms, we have been able to serve our members in new and personal ways. In 2018, we extend this offering to quartets and chorus coaching. If you are interested for yourself or for your chorus or quartet, contact education@barbershop.org. We can also discuss ways to start a vocal development program for your chapter.

My background is teaching voice and choir at the college level, but also researching barbershop singing and history. The Healthy Chapter Initiative has begun to publish some of the latest in evidence-based research as it applies to barbershop in the form of craft articles. The articles are sectioned into three topics:

  • Meaningful Gestures - research specifically for chorus directors and music teams.
  • Vocal Health - research for all members to better understand the voice.
  • Building Musicians - strategies for music teams to increase the musicianship of each chapter member.

We encourage you to explore these offerings. Links are at www.barbershop.org/harmonizer.

Education of the future

Educators can receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and graduate-level credit for attending Harmony University. We are expanding our capacity to serve this population of teachers by offering credits for our 2018 Midwinter and International Convention educational classes. In the near future, teachers will also be able to further their education by purchasing and viewing some of the best of our education content. As an added value of your membership, you will have access to much of this content for free.

We offer world-class instruction during the week-long Harmony University event. HU is a trusted source for knowledge, leadership, and education. We are exploring ways to continue this education beyond our week-long event. Stay tuned for more!

The Education Team is gathering all the past knowledge, organizing what we are currently producing, and planning future education endeavors. All of this information will be located in one place and will be accessible online. This repository of "barberknowledge" will soon be available to members and Associates, delivered in an accessible manner. We will combine face-to-face and online learning for the best in blended education. This is an ambitious project, but one that will have lasting benefits.

Take ownership of your education

What do you want from your Education team? We have the best and the brightest working to bring you the most current, applicable information, and we're eager to provide the education you want. Classes specifically for your chorus or quartet? We can help. Want to know more about singing, directing or leadership? Marketing or inclusion? We can create content specific to you. Please reach out to us with any ideas: education@barbershop.org.