Browse our list of Frequently Asked Questions below, call us at 650-362-4425 or send us an email.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what age should my son join a choir?
Around 7 to 9 years old. Boys should start singing in time to become skilled treble (soprano or alto) singers, before voice change. The well-trained boy’s treble voice is highly valued for its unmatched quality – nobody except a trained boy can come close. Such a voice is sought after and affords spectacular performance opportunities. For many boys, the perfect age to start is age 8, or in second grade. Earlier than 7, boys find it difficult to manage an almost two-hour rehearsal or to progress smoothly through the written music theory workbooks. After age 10, boys may face voice change before gaining solid choral and music theory skills.
My son loves to sing, but he is only six years old. Can he join?
We’ve got the perfect start for him! For boys who are not quite ready for full rehearsals and written theory, our Prelude (formerly Music and Movement) class is the first step in Ragazzi’s program. This non-auditioned 45-minute class is tailored for boys ages 5-7 with little or no previous musical experience. Our child-developmental approach encourages boys to explore rhythm games, channeling their energy through music learning and exposes students to concepts they can apply in any musical setting.
How much does it cost?
Fees vary by ensemble. Please see the most recent costs here.
Are you a religious choir?
No. We sing great music from both the secular and religious traditions from around the world, often in their original languages. Because the famous boy-choir tradition is historically European and English, much of our core repertoire was composed for European religious purposes. We emphasize the artistic and cultural elements of the music we sing, but don’t ignore the religious context. All vocal artists need to understand the meaning of what they sing in order to communicate with their audience.
We also rehearse and frequently perform in churches. Churches have facilities that suit our musical and teaching needs, rent their spaces at very reasonable rates, and often have amazing acoustics.
Is Ragazzi hard to get into?
We accept most boys who audition. The auditioner is looking at whether he can match pitch (recognize and sing back a given note), sing in a natural high (or “head”) voice, reproduce basic rhythm and follow the directions of the teacher. The auditioner will also listen for hoarseness, which might indicate vocal problems that should be addressed before joining the chorus. If the boy is young, needs more time to mature or isn’t comfortable singing yet, we’ll recommend our Prelude (formerly Music and Movement ) class. This will prepare him for the next steps in our program. His Prelude teacher may recommend him directly to the next level (Primary Group) without having to audition.
Does my son have to sing a solo at his audition?
No. Our auditions are group-based and involve call-and-response fun music games. There is no need for your boy to prepare ahead for his audition, and we make the experience low-key and friendly. We do not expect previous vocal training, just a natural enjoyment of singing.
When will I hear about my son’s audition results?
We will contact you via email within a few days of your son’s audition.
What level will my son be placed in?
Generally, boys are placed in one of our Primary (beginning) Groups, but a few older boys with more singing or instrumental experience and music theory training may be placed in the intermediate Premiere section.
If offered a spot, when would my son start?
He would start at the beginning of our next session — either Summer Session (Camp) in July or August, Fall Semester in September, or Spring Semester in January.
Rehearsing and Performing
How often will my son practice?
Boys at our beginning levels (Primary and Premiere) practice once a week, Primary 5:30 p.m.-7:20 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays and Premiere 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Mondays or Tuesdays. Our intermediate (Avanti) and advanced (Concert Group) levels rehearse twice a week, from 5:30–7:30 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. Our changed voices ensemble (Young Men’s Ensemble) rehearses once a week on Wednesdays, 6:15-8:45 pm. Choral Scholars, our internal honor choir of changed voices who also belong to Young Men’s Ensemble, rehearse an additional hour per week, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Concert Group and Choral Scholars also rehearse for two hours one Saturday per month.
Where are rehearsals?
Most rehearsals will be at our main campus near downtown Redwood City. We have one satellite rehearsal location for our Monday Primary Group class at First United Methodist Church Palo Alto. Our Young Men’s Ensemble rehearses across the street from our main campus in Redwood City.
How often will my son perform?
Each chorister will have at least three opportunities to perform each year. At the beginning level, boys will perform once at the end of each semester for the Winter and Spring recitals, plus one December lunchtime or Saturday morning concert. Beginning boys all have the option of joining the entire chorus in singing the National Anthem at a spring San Francisco Giants game. Intermediate-level boys have more performance opportunities (about three per semester, including singing the National Anthem for a San Francisco Giants game).