Updated Aug 4, 2020
Ragazzi is excited to share our plans for the 2020-2021 season. We will begin this year on Sep 9 with remote instruction, featuring enhanced technologies and platforms that will 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 how we will begin the year:
Ample class time and instructor attention:
During remote learning, boys will receive a similar amount of class time as when we meet physically. Classes will feature group instruction and supervised time to complete assignments. Multiple faculty and staff members will be available in every class. Each class will have 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 will be 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 will include:
- 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 the last several 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 will allow me to focus on creating engaging lessons and beautiful music. The boys will have a rich and rewarding experience. That’s a good feeling as a teacher.”
Here are a few of the technologies we will use:
- 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 will allow us to streamline communication and assignment submission.
- Remote rehearsal consoles: We’re working with tech leaders to test an experimental remote rehearsal technology that improves audio quality and reduces latency. This hand-built console is still in development, but we’re having increasing success in singing together remotely. Our older choristers will continue to test and give feedback on this cutting-edge technology. We anticipate utilizing this technology with Avanti, Concert Group, and YME by mid-semester. We hope to make the experience available to younger boys later in the year.
Boys will 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:
Our Fall semester will conclude with a performance, whether physical or digital. We truly hope to perform in person, 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.
Our Spring semester will also conclude with a (physical or digital) performance. 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 Thu, 5:30–6:30 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. It is unlikely we will hold these events during Fall 2020.
Dates to remember:
- Online parent open houses: Thu, Aug 13 at 7 pm and Sat, Aug 15 at 11 am
Join us to learn about our new platforms, ask questions about the season, and connect with our leadership.
- Rehearsals begin for Primary Group and older: Wed, Sept 9
- Music and Movement classes begin: Mon, Sep 28
- Listening forums: Thu, Oct 1 at 7 pm and Sat, Oct 3 at 11 am
Come share your thoughts on our new technologies and class formats with ED/AD Kent Jue, members of the board, and other Ragazzi leaders.
- Thanksgiving vacation: Wed, Nov 25–Sun, Nov 29
- Music and Movement classes end: Mon, Dec 7
- Rehearsals end for Primary Group and older: Thu, Dec 10
Register now for Fall 2020
Please help us plan for the semester ahead by registering on UltraCamp. Even though our virtual learning expenses have risen, the Board has made the conscious decision to keep tuition costs flat. Need-based tuition assistance is available at all levels. If you have any questions, contact Chorus Manager Joan Addicott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 342-8785. We are excited to welcome you back for another great season.