Repertoire Selection Practices of Elementary School Choir Directors

July 28, 2008 / By: Benjamin E. O’Connor

The intent of this study is to investigate the repertoire selection practices of elementary choir directors. to what extent do elementary choir directors consider the following criteria when selecting repertoire for their ensembles?  (1) Age and ability appropriateness, (2) Text, (3) Part-writing, (4) Accompaniment, (5) Craftsmanship, (6) Programming needs, (7) Aesthetic, expressive elements, and (8) Teachable elements.

Subjects of this investigation include public elementary school choir directors in the South Washington County School District in Washington County, Minnesota.  Elementary music teachers who teach classroom music but not choir were not be asked to be subjects.  Subjects were asked to complete a survey using the Likert scale.  The survey was self-administered, and subjects anonymously submitted it online.  The survey consists of eight sections, each pertaining to one of the eight established repertoire selection criteria.  Each section contains 4 – 5 questions, and assesses the extent to which the choir directors use the specific repertoire selection criteria when selecting music for their choirs.  The forced-choice answers for the survey questions include: “all of the time,” “most of the time,” “some of the time,” and “never.”

Sixteen usable instruments were completed and returned online for the study.  Survey results are displayed on a series of bar graphs in chapter four, with each bar graph representing the results of an individual survey question. Survey results indicate that respondents value age/ability appropriateness, text, and programming needs as the most important repertoire selection criteria.  The surveyed directors’ repertoire selection practices most closely aligned with the views of the well-known directors and researchers regarding the use of age/ability appropriateness, concert programming needs, aesthetic/expressive potential, and teachable elements in the music selection process.  Greater discrepancies were found between the research and the surveyed directors regarding the use of text, part writing, accompaniment, and craftsmanship as music selection criteria.