Choral Literacy Standards
This Rubric for Choral Literacy is a ground-breaking document for choral music educators. Grade-based rubrics such as these have been foundational elements in the development of bands and orchestras for decades, but heretofore were non-existent in the choral world. Choirs differ from instrumental groups in that singers come and go from ensembles, do not start “on their instrument” at the same time, and for the most part do not take lessons, so it was necessary to develop a Level-Based, rather than a Grade-Based Rubric. I’ve developed this rubric over the last eighteen months and beginning in June 2017 will be BETA tested in five leagues, regions, and school districts from across the Pacific Northwest.
This Rubric consists of twelve areas of literacy, only two of which deal what the traditional elements of music literacy, that is music reading. The descriptors on the rubric are written as Mileposts and Markers of development, and describe what literacy looks and sounds like for ideal choir at every level of development. The ramifications are many, and include:
-This Rubric gives educators a necessary and well-rounded tool for Self-Assessment. A Self-Assessment form has been developed in tandem with this Rubric (not shown here) and is intended for directors and choirs to self assess based on the descriptors of Markers and Mileposts.
-Currently at least one publisher of a literacy methods and materials curriculum is working with this Rubric to sequence and label their material so that teachers who self-assess can refer to the appropriate materials.
-Adjudication forms based on the Rubric are being developed. This allows adjudicators to give feedback based on the choir’s self-assessment that is specific to each choir’s needs, and allows directors to know specifically which areas of literacy to focus on for growth. This process does away with the traditional measurement against an imaginary ideal.
-Software is being developed that can scan an measure choral repertoire using analytics based upon this Rubric. Ultimately a website will be developed with Level-based lists of repertoire, to allow teachers to choose repertoire more appropriate from a curricular perspective.