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7857 Middle School Choir Education: Creating A Foundation For Healthy Voices & Vibrant Programs

Middle school choir can be daunting even for the most creative teacher. Through the 13 class sessions, you’ll master the following concepts: 
  • Understanding the Adolescent (Musician)
  • Traits and Skills of a Successful Teacher of the Adolescent (Musician)
  • Growth Mindset of Climate Development
  • The Place for Process, Procedure and Policy
  • Literature Selection as the Basis for Success
  • Management for Humans by the Humane
  • The Right to Be Wrong and the Wrongs of Being Right
  • Auditions, Assessments and Placements
  • Growing the Good
  • Communication – It Don’t Mean a Thing if You Ain’t Got That…Way to Talk to Parents, Kids, Colleagues, etc. 
This course is designed with your success in mind! Class members will be expected to participate in online interaction and will develop Personal Discovery Artifacts (PDA) that will enrich the class experience and create a supply of various documents useful in the classroom.  


Course Information

7857 Middle School Choir Education: Creating a Foundation for Healthy Voices & Vibrant Programs
3 graduate credits
Tuition: $1,020, due in full with registration.
Instructor: Gretchen Harrison
Required textbook: Growing Musicians: Teaching Music in Middle School and Beyond by Bridget Sweet(Oxford Press, ISBN 978-0199372072
Finding Ophelia's Voice, Opening Ophelia's Heart: Nurturing the Adolescent female Voice by Lynne Gackle (Heritage Music Press, ISBN 978-1429118583)
Online Chat Session Dates:
September 20, October 18 & November 8

Instructor: Gretchen Harrison

Gretchen Harrison is in her 30th year of teaching choral music. After teaching in Blue Valley for 15 years, she is currently the choir director at Frontier Middle School in the Olathe KS school district. The choirs at FTMS routinely earn highest ratings at contests and festivals. Two of her choirs performed at the 2017 KMEA In-Service and Workshop, in Wichita, KS.  Harrison has also been part of the artistic staff of Allegro Choirs of Kansas City since 2005. She directs one of the choirs in that program (Vivo) and assists with two additional choirs (Moto and Brio). Harrison earned a Bachelors’ in Music Education from Wichita State University and a Masters’ in Music Education from University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has completed her Level III endorsement in CME (Choral Music Experience). After serving in various district and state-level leadership position, she is the past National Chairperson for Junior High and Middle School Repertoire and Standards for American Choral Directors Association and is currently the National ACDA Repertoire and Resources Chairperson for Youth Services. She was recognized in 2003, 2009, 2015 and 2016 as “Outstanding Middle Level Choral Educator” for Northeast Kansas Music Educators Association. The Olathe Education Foundation honored her in 2015 with their “Outstanding Educator” designation. Harrison also enjoys serving the profession as a guest presenter and clinician and has served in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Illinois, North Carolina State Treble Honor Choir and will direct the Georgia All-State 6th Grade choir this year. Harrison is active in ACDA, KCDA and NAfME and KMEA. Her musical family includes band director (retired) Kim Harrison and two children, Kellyn, a first-year middle school choral music educator, and Cole, a 5th semester senior in Music Technology and Spanish at Fort Hays State University.


Click to Register for Fall MECA Courses

VanderCook Online is powered by Schoology ( Through this learning management system, you'll be able to interact directly with your instructor, students in your classes, and members of the greater VanderCook Online community.
Fall term classes officially begin on Monday, September 18. Soon after you register, you'll be added as a new Schoology user. Be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you are given credentials, simply visit to login. On the morning of September 18, students are added to classes, at which point you'll have access to your classroom and course material.
Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.
You’ll have the opportunity to work at your own pace each week while completing assignments and posting responses to discussion questions. You’ll constantly be interacting with your instructor and classmates online, and working through new material each week. We know how crazy school schedules can get, so our instructors try to make everything as flexible as possible!
The Fall Online Term runs from September 18 until December 17, 2017 (13 weeks). There are no Online classes the week of November 20-26 because of fall break).
Online grades will be reported by December 20th. If you are in need of a transcript please visit the online transcript request page. If you are in need a quick turn around time for your transcript please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).

VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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