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Chorus Confidential Paperback – February 1, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
William Dehning teaches at the University of Southern California, and is an accomplished conductor. This book contains his wisdom, advice, and plenty of self-deprecating humor.
Dehning begins with a chapter entitled "Who," which focuses on what it takes to be a good choral conductor. He then breaks his book up into chapters such as The Score, The Craft, The Instrument, The Ensemble, The Process, Them, and Us.
Dehning makes good points about what we should be doing (namely, conducting and analyzing the score), including a foolproof method for score analysis. His chapters about the instrument and the choral ensemble are wonderful examples of sound voice pedagogy, aspects of choral blend, and even performance formations. Some of my favorite parts were tips on how to sing melismas and fugue sections better, and also issues about how to run a good rehearsal (most choral conductors talk WAY too much).
While some (and perhaps most) will love it, Dehning's valuable handbook is couched in a writing style which is unceremonious, too much so at times. Dehning's humor is indisputably successful at bringing the master down off the pedestal, but I found his jokes, mostly at his expense to be occasionally distracting from great advice. Beginners won't mind, but some conducting elitists might chaff a bit. Also, there are some great things in the appendix, but Dehning avoids adding a bibliography.
That's really all I could find wrong with the book. I think this book can be a great pedagogical tool to conducting students of all ages and backgrounds.
Funny and provocative, Dehning gives lots of helpful pointers (achieving a unified choral tone, vocal pedagogy, rehearsal techniques), and eschews the ego-centered "maestro" model still evident in the profession today. His honest, plainspokenness is particularly interesting when he compares the demands upon the choral conductor with those of the typical instrumental conductor.
All this is presented with plenty of humor in a conversational tone, making for an engaging and entertaining read. Dehning has provided a real service to our profession with this book.
Dr. Eric Stark
Artistic Director, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir
Associate Professor of Music, Butler University
Randi Von Ellefson, Professor of Choral Music,
Oklahoma City University
Artistic Director, Canterbury Choral Society
Those who read it should remember that plain english and clear gesture is the way to communicate with 90% of choirs. Musicians who are incapable of relating to the average person will have limited success. Get a real job, stay there for awhile (as did Dehning) and only then venture into the world of choral conducting. You'll find your singers responding and relating to you. This will result in a much better sound, and a happier choir!
I've given this book as a graduation present to my conducting students for several years now. Timeless, practical wisdom on our choral art.
There are books that are more "academic," there are books that are more technical and exhaustive, but none as real, as funny, as practical, and as helpful. I can't wait for a sequel . . . get on it, Bill!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an easy read, but the author sounds like a prideful, arrogant, know-it-all. He clearly finds himself "the authority" on all things choral, even though it was... Read morePublished 4 months ago by mooncat770
This book gives great insight into the choral director, or any director, and their point of view. This with classes, self-improvement, and with outlook. Read morePublished on July 3, 2011 by GHH
My brother is a music teacher and wanted this book for Christmas, so I went to Barnes and Noble online and looked, and then, as an after-thought, figured I would check on Amazon... Read morePublished on February 23, 2010 by K. Coltabaugh
The book I bought was accurately described, and at a pretty good price- the lowest on the site. I bought it and it was processed that day and arrived right on schedule. Read morePublished on August 7, 2009 by V. Wheelis
This is a great book, an invitation to the world of the music conductor. It includes funny little stories and anecdotes, but practical advice, and easy to read.Published on April 14, 2009 by duchessb4nap