Education

Our Unique Methodology

The National Children's Chorus offers world-class music education to America's youth with a variety of programs for students as young as five through the college level in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

Junior Division

In the Junior Division, students ages 5-12 with beginning or intermediate musical experience build their skills and gain confidence in encouraging, creative rehearsal environments and performances.

Senior Division

In the Senior Division, students ages 10-18 with prior musical experience refine their skills to the highest standards and perform in their own state-of-the-art concert series at prestigious venues around the United States and internationally.

International Tours

An important part of the NCC experience is our students’ exposure to world history, unique cultures and social diversity. With music as a common and unifying bond, members of the NCC travel abroad each year, making connections with audiences across the world.

Special Studies

The National Children’s Chorus proudly offers advanced specialized training in the following unique programs with college-level instructors: Conducting Fellows, Vocal Studio, and Composition Workshop.

Musicianship

The Kodály Method

At the National Children's Chorus, students are not just taught music by ear. They are trained in the study of sight-singing, which requires a vocalist to look at a piece of music for the first time, and be able to sing it proficiently both in pitch and rhythm.

Unlike playing a piano, where one may read notes on the page and play the corresponding keys, sight-singing demands that a person find the pitches as a result of knowing where they are in the mind, and then replicating them in the voice. Being able to perform this skill with ease and confidence is a sign of musical excellence that is a prerequisite for the highest levels of achievement.

The Kodály Method, invented and developed by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, is highly structured and sequenced, with well-defined skill and concept hierarchies in every element of music. These sequences are closely related to child development and the way in which young children progress naturally in music. As a child grows physically, socially, emotionally, aesthetically and intellectually, he or she is also led to develop musically in the acquisition of increasingly complex skills and more involved concepts.

Some of the tools used at the NCC from the Kodály Method to achieve musical literacy and sight singing are solfége (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do), Curwin hand signs, rhythmic syllables and a movable “Do” system. It is the relationship between the syllables that trains the ear so that in-tune singing, along with accurate sight singing, occurs.

By using those tools infused with traditional music reading, students of the NCC begin with the simple, and sequentially move to the more complex, always building on the foundations laid in the beginning. Like all skills, practice makes perfect. Once a concept or skill is learned, it is practiced again and again so that it becomes second-nature. With each layer of mastered skills and concepts, the development and artistry of the student is heightened, and Zoltán Kodály’s philosophy is seen in action.

If you would like to know more about the Kodály Method, please visit the Organization of American Kodály Educators website.