The Junior Division of the National Children’s Chorus consists of the Prelude Level, the Minuet Level, the Sonata Level, and the Concerto Level. In the Junior Division, students with beginning or intermediate musical experience build their skills and gain confidence in encouraging and creative rehearsal environments and performances. The Junior Division performs in two showcase concerts each year at Schoenberg Hall and Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York, and the National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C.
Members of the Prelude Level are introduced to the thrilling world of music in a fun and interactive class designed to open up the ear and explore the possibilities of musical expression through listening and moving. Basic vowel formation, proper posture, and the beginnings of breathing technique are taught, while the foundation of the Kodály Method is set.
Members of the Minuet Level are introduced to the formal structure of a choral ensemble—seating, rehearsal protocol, choral tone and blend. Musical terms are taught and used freely in an environment where students are encouraged to be curious, ask questions, and seek answers. Vocal technique, vowel formation, breathing, diction and phrasing are emphasized in order to create a beautiful and professional sound, while sight-singing intervals and rhythms will be practiced in Kodály training.
Members of the Sonata Level are trained to be well-versed in the areas of tone, vowel formation, diction, breathing, and musicianship. From here, students are taught the beginnings of advanced choral and vocal technique, including singing in 2-part harmony within the context of more sophisticated repertoire that will include texts in foreign languages. The beginnings of advanced Kodály methodology will also be employed as part of the curriculum.
Members of the Concerto Level are expected to possess intermediate skills and knowledge in the areas of tone, vowel formation, diction, breathing and musicianship, as well as be comfortable singing in harmony. Rehearsal speed and intensity are augmented here, as students prepare themselves for advancement into the Senior Division ranks. Private vocal study is introduced at this level, where students regularly meet with an instructor for ten minute intervals, enhancing work on head tone development. Sight singing in the Kodály Method will also be employed as part of the curriculum, with students getting greater opportunity to utilize their growing knowledge of rhythms and pitches.