Browse our list of Frequently Asked Questions below, call us at 650-342-8785 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 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 Music and Movement class. This will prepare him for the next steps in our program. His Music and Movement teacher may recommend him directly to the next Primary level 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.
Do you offer online auditions?
Yes! All auditions are currently being conducted online. We can use whatever video-calling platform you are most comfortable with.
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, usually sooner.
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 semester — either Fall (September) or Spring (January).
Rehearsing and Performing
How often will my son practice?
During remote learning, boys at our beginning levels (Primary and Premiere) practice twice a week, from 5:30–6:30 pm on Mondays and Thursdays. Older boys rehearse twice a week, from 5:30–7:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Where are rehearsals?
During fall 2021, we are continuing to utilize our groundbreaking Ragazzi Virtual Studio (RVS) system to rehearse online in real time from the safety of our homes while also working toward safe in-person rehearsals for vaccinated boys. We are also offering safe in-person activities for choristers who have yet to be vaccinated. Once a vaccine is widely available to our choristers, we plan to return to our regular in-person rehearsals. In-person rehearsals will be at our main campus near downtown Redwood City.
How often will my son perform?
Once we return to meeting in person, 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).