As choristers pass through the The Choir School, they’re advancing through a six-level music training program that teaches the fundamentals of how to read music, music theory, rhythm, and sight-singing, the ability to put that knowledge into practice.
Choristers must pass level one before their Tour Choirs audition, and level four mastery is required before joining The MasterSingers.
Levels five and six are optional but increasingly popular, says Assistant Director Garrett Law, who oversees the curriculum and is responsible for producing the forty-or-so page workbooks that accompany each level.
“People are getting their level five and six ribbons because they are just appreciative of music theory and want to learn more. Not because it’s required, but because they enjoy it. That’s been satisfying to see happen,” Law said.
“It’s an empowering thing to do. It’s like reading another language, and it takes a lot of practice. As students get to MasterSingers, they’re learning their own music. We want to give them the skills to do that, but I think that applies to so many things in life as well.”
The curriculum includes important non-musical tasks, too. Young boys must learn how to tie their neckties, and on tour, all choristers learn how to write thank you notes to our hosts with correct spelling and good handwriting.
At the end of each season, choristers are recognized for their accomplishments and receive a ribbon indicating their level of achievement and a handmade silver medal; these are worn with The Choir School’s formal choral vestments.