Updated Nov 17, 2020
We began this season remote instruction, featuring enhanced technologies and platforms that meet our choristers’ musical and developmental needs. We’ll phase in physical rehearsals when it is safe to do so, based on state, county, and local school guidelines. Here’s more information about our season:
Ample class time and instructor attention:
During remote learning, boys receive a similar amount of class time as when we meet physically. Classes feature group instruction and supervised time to complete assignments. Multiple faculty and staff members are available in every class. Each class has a supporting staffer who can answer boys’ musical and technological questions (either by chat, or by creating breakout rooms where choristers and faculty can meet). All classes and breakout rooms are recorded.
Enhanced learning goals:
We are committed to providing the best in choral music education. We’re expanding our instruction to include additional subjects that work well online, and which are tailored to meet the developmental needs of each ensemble. Class time includes:
- Choral arts: Individual vocal development, ensemble singing, small group collaboration, arranging, and composing. (Additional possibilities include songwriting, music editing, and music production.)
- Musicianship and theory: Guided music theory lessons, proctored theory study hall, individual sight-reading development, and applied theory using our current repertoire
- Notes from the field: Lessons on music history, plus conversations with special guests including composers, publishers, recording engineers, singers, and arts advocates
- Community-building: Icebreakers, individual performances, and activities that promote teamwork while fostering individual growth
Our faculty has spent months testing music technology platforms, and we’ve selected the best ones for our remote learning. Executive and Artistic Director Kent Jue writes: “As an instructor, I am incredibly pleased with the new platforms I have at my disposal. They allow me to focus on creating engaging lessons and beautiful music. The boys are having a rich and rewarding experience. That’s a good feeling as a teacher.”
Here are a few of the technologies we are using:
- Soundtrap, a collaborative online recording platform (similar to GarageBand, but entirely web-based). It allows choristers to add their voices to group projects, do multiple takes, edit their recordings, listen to what others have recorded, and more.
- Noteflight, an online music notation application (similar to Finale, but web-based). It allows students to transcribe melodies, compose music, sharpen their theory skills, and more.
- Google Classroom, which allows us to streamline communication and assignment submission.
- Ragazzi Virtual Studio: We’re working with tech leaders to test an experimental remote rehearsal technology that improves audio quality and reduces latency. Boys in our Premiere, Avanti, Concert Group, and YME ensembles are currently using Virtual Studio.
Boys use the most developmentally appropriate technology for their age group, allowing them to focus their attention on learning musicianship. We’ll continue to test and incorporate new technology, and plan to continue using many of these exciting new platforms even after we return to in-person rehearsals.
Concerts and culminating projects:
Each semester concludes with a performance, whether physical or digital. We truly hope to perform in person soon, but safety is our highest priority. If a physical performance is not possible, we’ll produce professional-quality virtual choral projects for each level. Our virtual choir videos this spring taught us so much about the production, editing, and logistics of these projects. We are excited to feature our choristers in the next generation of videos that are even more memorable.
If possible, our older groups will go on their planned tours during Summer 2021 (with Avanti touring domestically, and Concert Group/Young Men’s Ensemble touring Italy and Austria).
Weekly schedule by level:
Young Men’s Ensemble: Wed, 6:15–8:45 pm
Choral Scholars: Wed, 5:30–6:15 pm, plus individual coaching by appointment
Concert Group: Mon and Wed, 5:30–7:30 pm, plus individual coaching by appointment
Avanti: Mon and Wed, 5:30–7:30 pm
*Premiere: Mon and Thu, 5:30–6:30 pm
*Primary: Mon and Tue, 4:15–5:15 pm
Music & Movement: Mon, 4:15–5 pm
*Premiere and Primary have traditionally met once a week for two hours. During remote learning, all Premiere and Primary choristers will attend two separate one-hour rehearsals each week. We have found that having multiple shorter classes is the best way to engage our youngest choristers online. When we return to in-person rehearsal, these groups will meet Mondays from 5:30–7:30 pm.
All Saturday events (like retreats, rehearsals, and Singing Saturday) are on hold until we return to in-person rehearsals.
Spring 2021 dates to remember:
- Mid-Winter Break: Mon, Feb 15-Fri, Feb 19
- Ragazzi Spring Break: Mon, Apr 5-Fri, Apr 9
- No rehearsals: Mon, May 31
- Music and Movement classes end: Mon, May 17
- Rehearsals end for Primary Group and older: Thu, Jun 3
Register now for Spring 2021
To register or learn more, please contact Chorus Manager Joan Addicott at email@example.com or (650) 342-8785. Even though our virtual learning expenses have risen, the Board has made the decision to keep tuition costs flat. Need-based tuition assistance is available at all levels. We are excited to have you with us!