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Band or Choir in high school?

mom2themmom2them Registered User Posts: 347 Member
edited February 2010 in Musical Theater Major
Hello all....

My daughter took both band and choir in middle school. She is currently a freshman in high school and decided to take band this year. Her required courses and ECs don't allow her to take both this year.

She wants to major in MT in college but in a BA program, not BFA. Long term goal after college graduation is to teach threatre in high school. Short term goal is to work as a performer at Disney World.

Of the triple threat activities, she is probably strongest in dance as she has taken ballet, jazz, tap since the age of 3, and that is one of her EC courses. Another EC course is "talented" theatre which she has had since 5th grade and will continue thru senior year. i would say that singing is her weakest activity. She had vocal lessons only one summer, but does have a natural talent.

I want her to take choir because I told her whenever she auditions for any play or college scholarship or at Disney World, she has to sing -- not play her instrument. She tells me she wants to stick with band for four years and take choir in her senior year when she will have room in her schedule. I told her that she should take the course to improve her voice, one of the triple threat activities....but she says taking band helps her voice by teaching her how to breathe (she plays clarinet) and read music.

MT students and/or parents: What would you advise?
Post edited by mom2them on

Replies to: Band or Choir in high school?

  • CalMTMomCalMTMom Registered User Posts: 160 Junior Member
    Let her follow what she wants to do. if you really think she needs more voice just get her private lessons. It is great to read music, to play an instrument, all of those things will help her with longterm goals. Mostly she needs to be where she loves to be. She has so much time....
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 12,214 Senior Member
    I agree with CalMTMom that a student should be able to choose the course which interests them. In this case, she's made the right choice, in my opinion. Most successful MT actors are also musicians who can not only read music and play an instrument, or two, but many also write music as well. If you feel that your D needs vocal lessons, you might want to look into a private voice teacher, which is likely to be more worthwhile than a choir class would be.
  • famousactress2b_famousactress2b_ Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
    I agree with the 2 posters above me. I am currently a sophomore in a BFA MT program and I used to play the flute. I wish I had kept up with it in high school because it really would have helped me in terms of music theory and giving me another skill to use to my advantage. I did not take band or choir in high school (because it was a new school, we did not have those courses) but I did take private voice lessons. Let your daughter do what she is interested in. She may decide later on down the road that she does want to take choir. Either way, whether she is in band or choir, it will benefit her in terms of reading music. :)
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,461 Senior Member
    Singing in a choir will not necessarily help her voice and could, depending on the director, do more harm than good. I wouldn't expect the choir director to know much about solo technique, and if he/she does, it won't be taught. Agree that a private voice teacher who can give her a strong, classically based technique and help her learn a healthy belt and mix is what you want.
  • takeitallintakeitallin Registered User Posts: 3,378 Senior Member
    I agree with all of the other posters. Music theory and sight reading is so important later on in MT- and above all she enjoys band.Iwould let her do what she enjoys. Choir does help to the extent you learn how to sing in groups, but my D found the vocal technique taught in high school was not always right. If your D just takes it her senior year she should be fine. My D took private voice lessons all thru high school and that is how she developed her voice. She got 95% of her MT experience outside of high school in community and regional theater. High school theater was just for fun. Good luck in future ventures with theater!!!
  • AngieAAngieA Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    I would agree that knowledge of sight reading and music theory as being important but not as important as your daughter's vocal performance abilities if she wants to go into Musical Theater. If your daughter's singing is her weakest area, I would recommend including both private voice lessons and choir during her high school years. Her vocal technique will best addressed by private lessons but the lessons don't give you performance opportunities. Choir can help any performer work on overall vocal performance, stage presence, group performance, soloist work, and offer leadership opportunities. My D was involved in show choir (dance, couples dance, solo and group vocals), female jazz (a-cappella, community performances), and Advanced Choir (mostly classical pieces). She gained experience in auditioning, leadership (section leader, dance captain)and had opportunities to participate in district choir, state choir, national choir competitions, and Governor's School(all audition). All of these opportunities were valuable to her as a performer. She is in a BA MT program and continues to be in an audition choir, even though it is not required in her MT program.
  • onstageonstage Registered User Posts: 1,250 Senior Member
    I also agree with the posters above. Choir is wonderful if your school has a very developed program, like AngieA's. But as a private voice teacher, I have worked with many experienced choir vocalists who have no stage presence, no idea of how to act a song, and poor volume control. Some choir directors teach these things, but many don't. Consider starting out with private voice lessons, and let your daughter stick with band so she can learn some music theory basics. Many private instructors offer performance opportunities for their students in the form of recitals or cabarets. Perhaps as your daughter develops her voice, she will also develop an interest in joining the choir!
  • musicmom1215musicmom1215 Registered User Posts: 2,421 Senior Member
    Your D sounds like mine. She loved band, played oboe and was in an award-winning color guard during marching season (oboes don't march). Our HS did not offer any dance classes, but the CG instructor had a degree in dance/choreography and was fabulous. D did not have room in her schedule for choir until 2nd half of her junior year. She quit band her senior year (new director, long story) and concentrated on choir (a great program at our school) and theater (a joke) and took some private voice lessons when time would allow. The band experience was really helpful with theory and sight reading. She excels in those areas, and I don't think she would do anything differently. For your D, I would say stay in band, add choir when the schedule permits, and start private voice lessons NOW.
  • mom2themmom2them Registered User Posts: 347 Member
    Thanks everyone for the responses. You've made me feel much better about her decision!

    My D has also been involved with local community theatre performing in 13 plays (mostly musicals) in the last 4 years! So, she has had many performance opportunities. Initially the performances were mostly all kid shows so she had more lead roles/solos earlier on; now she's just turning 15 and is too old for the all kid shows and kinda young for the adult shows, but she has managed to be in the ensemble and dance ensembles for several adult productions! Her first role ever was Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie....albeit with an all-kid cast when she was 10, but I have had to really keep her feet on the ground and tell her most people "pay their dues" first. She has realized this over the past few years though since she's now become the little fish in the big pond, so to speak.

    Anyway, I have thought of vocal lessons but they are quite expensive (as I'm sure you all know), but more importantly I'm trying to figure out when she would fit them in. She has an all honors course load, is two years ahead in math, plus she's on the high school dance team and all of their activities must come first (which makes me crazy b/c I think it interferes with outside theatre opportunites , but again my D wants to stay with it).

    Our choir director works closely with D's theatre teacher and last year for the first time the two collaborated and did Wizard of Oz, which my D was in just as ensemble, but did have two dance numbers with a few other girls. My D first met him (choir director) while she was in middle school and then got to work with him more closely in WOZ. He is very supportive AND has a graduate student in voice come out once a week after school to give lessons to his students. He offered for my D to have a slot this Monday (he really wants my D in choir!)...and it's only $10 for a half hour .... BARGAIN OF THE CENTURY.

    Even if my D stays in band, I may be able to arrange lessons with this grad student for my D outside of school at a more reasonable rate....

    Anyway, thanks for letting this mom vent and for the reassurance!
  • mom2themmom2them Registered User Posts: 347 Member
    I forgot to say that she is the only freshman clarinet player in her high school's symphonic band and was asked to be in the parish (county in Louisiana) honor band. So she is in the highest level band....

    But while the Choir Director (CD) hasn't promised that she would be in the highest level choir, he did say that he thought she could be based on what he saw of her in WOZ and knowing her seriousness. Anyway, I was thinking choir would be better b/c of classroom time day in and day out of preparing the voice... and the performance opportunities that Angie A discussed. We don't have a show choir, but the CD did say he wanted to expand his ensemble choir to more members....

    And my D is auditioning for several summer local MT opportunities in the next few weeks. Hopefully her dance team schedule will allow her to participate in them!!

    Anyway, thanks again to everyone for your words of wisdom!
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