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Find Your Forte, with Ryan Guth

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Helping you step up to the podium with purpose, this podcast was created for the young choral director, but perfect for any passionate musician. Each episode features interviews with some of the world's most accomplished conductors, and is formatted to keep you energized and inspired during your morning commute, workout, or whenever you need that extra boost! Ryan Guth delivers a three-part episode beginning with "The Downbeat", a look into his guests' histories, failures, successes, and "lightbulb moments". The second part is the "Find Your Forte" segment, where the guest shares something they do well, and gives the audience some quick tips to take action. In the FINAL part, the "Accelerando" segment, guests will respond to rapid-fire questions about their morning routines, favorite concerts and books, exciting projects, and more!






Tech Toys for Teachers, with Greig Ashurst

Happy Birthday, teachers, it’s the episode you’ve asked for! Tech expert Greig Ashurst shares his favorite apps and software for your choir classroom. Ryan and Greig go deep into ways to use a few of these tools to make your rehearsals more productive, but make sure you check out the show notes for an expanded list of essential music tech to explore. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “Make them engage with their cell phones...they are going to have them anyway.” - Greig Ashurst Show Notes:...

Duration: 00:42:31

Authenticity and Experience, with Sean Baugh

Authenticity and Experience, with Sean Baugh (Part 2, Following “Equality and Dignity for All People”) Turtle Creek Chorale does not do “stand and sing” concerts. Balancing music with a message is a difficult journey with great rewards, for both the musicians and the audience. Sean discusses the importance of balance in your programming, and gives you guidelines for programming a concert with an activist purpose. Musicians are, at the core, humanitarians. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “Don’t...

Duration: 00:38:56

Equality and Dignity for All People, with Sean Baugh

Sean Baugh skillfully leads the Turtle Creek Chorale in performances of both artistry and activism. Sean talks about how his ensemble of largely untrained singers is able to give powerful performances, leaning heavily on the passion of the musicians. We are all passionate about something, making us all activists, and music is our agent of change. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “You can do a lot on a little bit of money if you love what you’re doing.” - Sean Baugh Show Notes: Bio: Now in his...

Duration: 00:24:19

Let Them Dab, with Samantha Patterson

Choral elitists beware: we’re calling out the Emperor for having no clothes. Indiana choir director Samantha Patterson finds value in incorporating pop music, sporting events, and yes...even the dab...in her program, which has reaped the benefits of her innovative recruiting strategies. Want to know how to recruit boys, or anyone, into your program? This episode is the how-to guide you’ve been waiting for. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “No wonder no one wants to be in your class; you pick...

Duration: 00:34:01

The Singing Conductor, with Dr. Eugene Rogers

Dr. Eugene Rogers “preaches the word of the singing conductor.” There is singing, and then there is singing that utilizes technical mastery to communicate the meaning and emotion of a piece. Dr. Rogers calls these leaders who are so deeply connected to sound and its purpose Singing Conductors, and reveals the four characteristics they share in common. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “The choirs are singing from the inside out. ” - Dr. Eugene Rogers Show Notes: Bio: Recognized as a leading...

Duration: 00:21:42

Trust Your Gut, with Dr. Eugene Rogers

Dr. Eugene Rogers gives you permission to listen to your gut. Whether it’s a move, a job, or even a bold programming choice, you can take risks. Some of them will pay off. Some of them will leave you stranded in New York City with no job and no car. But you will grow from all of them. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “Choral music was deeply inside of me. I had a real passion for it, no matter what.” - Dr. Eugene Rogers Show Notes: Bio: Recognized as a leading conductor, pedagogue, and...

Duration: 00:24:14

Keynote Address to ICDA 2017: You’re Better Than You Think You Are; with Ryan Guth

Drawing on lessons learned while losing at pool, Ryan shares what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset as a choir director. You will hear strategies about how to win at pool, how to lose at pool, and how to embarrassingly injure a friend during pool (with a step by step guide in the show notes). You will also hear why it is so important that we mindfully choose which kind of game we are going to play, which entrepreneurial super-skills you already posses, and how to avoid the traps...

Duration: 00:37:14

Vocal Athletes, Start Your Engines: with Dr. John Yarrington

I won’t lie. It’s worth listening to this entire podcast just because five and a half minutes into it Dr. Yarrington does an impression of an orchestra warming up, and it gave me life. Besides that, there is valuable information here about vocal warm ups, accountability, choosing appropriate literature, student conductors, and why adults are more frustrating than children. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “I want my kids to sing well, and be happy they sang well. Other than that, what is...

Duration: 00:28:51

Leave My Christmas Carols Alone, with Dr. John Yarrington

Did you ever want to sit down with one of the great choral directors over coffee and just chat? It might go something like this. Ryan and Dr. John Yarrington cover a lot of ground in this interview, including avoiding yard work in retirement, politically correct Christmas carols, the importance of doing great works and basic literature, reasons why Texas is a choral powerhouse, Alice Parker, not speaking to Robert Shaw, how Ryan self-identifies as Texan, Bach motets, and choral overreach....

Duration: 00:34:28

Sing the Stories of the Living (part 2), with Saunder Choi

Ryan continues his conversation with Los Angeles based Filipino composer Saunder Choi. In this episode they delve more deeply into the question of what constitutes an authentic cultural exchange. Saunder makes the case for more fully exploring a culture by going beyond the well-known folk or patriotic songs, and looking to their contemporary poetry and stories. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “Explore music from other countries that are not folk songs.” -Saunder Choi Show Notes: Bio: Saunder...

Duration: 00:26:58

Sing the Stories of the Living, with Saunder Choi

Los Angeles based Filipino composer Saunder Choi was raised in a Chinese family, and his diverse cultural background is informing his voice as an emerging choral composer. Saunder’s motive in composition is to use music to facilitate cultural exchange, telling stories that people might not otherwise hear. Ryan and Saunder discuss Philippine choral culture, family business dynamics, dead white guys, and what it was like to be an immigrant during the 2016 election in this first episode of a...

Duration: 00:20:03

Be a Part of the Dialogue (part 2), with Justin Caithaml

Your music program probably didn’t come with an instruction manual, which is a shame. Fret not, because Justin Caithaml has a list of tools to supercharge your program. These aren’t just teaching tips. This is an explanation of national programs that can impact your choir, and some ways to get school-wide recognition and appreciation for your choir. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “It’s the music that makes me come to school each day.” - Justin Caithaml’s student Show Notes: Bio: Justin...

Duration: 00:22:47

Be a Part of the Dialogue, with Justin Caithaml

The best thing we can do for our music education programs is to be actively involved in the discussions that shape our standards. Don’t just respond to decisions that other people make without the benefit of an arts advocate guiding them. In this episode Justin deconstructs the Every Student Succeeds Act, No Child Left Behind, Common Core, and the mysteries of speaking your administration’s language. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “It’s easy to feel unappreciated….It’s easy to turn negative....

Duration: 00:35:04

How to Flirt, with mostly Stevie Berryman

Exactly what it says on the tin. In addition to refining your game, you will also discover how the principles of flirtation can be applied to your performances. It’s about caring as much for the context of your performance as the content. It’s also about WikiHow, movie heroes, Stevie’s wedding, pick up lines, Steve Martin, gig boxes, henchmen, and how Ryan picked up his fiancée Amanda. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “I love the concept of performance as a conversation...most of the time, our...

Duration: 00:54:09

The Care and Feeding of Contemporary A Cappella Ensembles, with Dr. J.D. Frizzell

This is the complete toolkit. So you just need to do two things. 1.) Listen to this episode. 2.) Start your own contemporary a cappella ensemble (vocal band). J. D. Frizzell outlines every why, how, and what you need to know to bring this insanely popular vocal experience to your school. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “Everybody in the area of a cappella education is very open and helpful, so please reach out to us” - J.D. Frizzell Show Notes: Bio: J.D. Frizzell is the Director of Fine Arts...

Duration: 00:26:09

The Three C’s of Managing Parents, with Dr. J.D. Frizzell

Something happened on the way to the a cappella ensemble. Composer and conductor J.D. Frizzell has some wisdom to share about building relationships with your singers and their parents, and how to maintain a supportive choir program. So before they settle into discussing the mechanics of starting an a cappella ensemble from scratch (catch that episode on Friday), Ryan and J.D. talk about One Voice, Maroon 5, babies, and explosions. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “Ryan, it was like the school...

Duration: 00:26:27

10 things I learned as a veteran director in a new school, with Ryan Guth

Ryan looks back on lessons learned this past year as a choir teacher in a new school/state/culture. This is a must listen for anyone...novice or veteran...who is entering a new classroom (or any choir podium). You might want to make sure you listen to the whole thing. Allllll the way to the end. Listen: Highlight to Tweet: “Wait...can we just end it like that...awkward silence...and then just go to your tag? Could we do that?” - Stevie Berryman Show Notes: Resources/links Mentioned: Choir...

Duration: 00:36:04

Choir Ninja Rewind: Sell out your concerts and create raving fans, with Stevie Berryman

Since she’s away at choir camp, it’s “Stevie Week” on the Choir Ninja podcast. Today’s episode is a re-airing of one of our top episodes of the Find Your Forte podcast. Stevie Berryman, of Stevie Be Music, explains how she goes beyond programming to create concert experiences that entertain, sell out, and create raving fans. She gives examples of her own concert experiences and breaks down the essential elements. Listen: Sponsored by: Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at...

Duration: 01:01:01

Choir Ninja Rewind: 5 considerations for writing a bio people actually care about, with Stevie Berryman

Since she’s away at choir camp, it’s “Stevie Week” on the Choir Ninja podcast. Today’s episode is a re-airing of one of our top Technique Tuesdays from the Find Your Forte podcast. It’s about how to write a bio that makes audiences root for you before you even step foot on stage. This one is perfect for conductors, teachers, and performers alike. Enjoy! Listen: Show Notes: Ready to write your own? Here’s how to do it: Step 1: Know who you are. That is not the same as knowing what you do....

Duration: 00:16:27

When You’re Not Their First Love, with Beth Richey-Sullivan

Beth Richey-Sullivan discusses strategies for surviving the most perilous of choir director jobs: taking over a program from a rockstar. When your predecessor is both beloved and skilled, the incoming director needs “the skin of an elephant and the heart of a butterfly.” This episode is full of jaw-dropping examples that Beth culls from this past year of taking over from an adored former director. Her warmth, encouragement, and wisdom is required listening for anyone stepping into a new...

Duration: 00:32:56

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