Solfege and Sonority:
Teaching Music Reading in the
February 22, 2020
Join us as we welcome David Xiques! Solfege and Sonority is a participatory and demonstration workshop for teaching music literacy in a choral rehearsal, with a focus on the needs of teachers who work with young singers. It is based on David Xiques’ book, Solfege and Sonority: Teaching Music Reading in the Choral Classroom, published by Oxford University Press. The workshop lays out teaching sequences for melodic and rhythmic concepts, lesson plans, and concise strategies for introducing key techniques. The individual lessons themselves are short (no more than 4-6 minutes each) and comprehensive, encouraging singers to develop literacy of rhythm and melody together. The lessons are tied to the teacher’s current choral repertoire with the emphasis on teaching music reading and performance repertoire simultaneously in order to use precious rehearsal time in the most efficient manner. Participants will act as a “the chorus” as David leads the lessons of the introduction and reinforcement of the rhythmic and melodic elements, and will view videos of this approach working with young singers, all through diverse multi-cultural repertoire. The teaching procedures are based on tried-and -true practices while re-imagining the instruction for modern choral classroom situations found in many 21st century schools.
David J. Xiques is professor of music in the School of Music and Dance at San Francisco State University, where he teaches ear training and musicianship classes and directs the University Chorus. His teaching experience includes fifteen years in K–12 choral, junior and high school band, and general music classes. A Kodály specialist, he taught for 15 years at the Kodály Summer Certification Program at New York University. In addition, he is a professional singer, tenor, with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, where he serves as assistant chorus director. He is a frequent choral clinician and presenter at professional music conferences.
Professor Xiques is the author of Solfege and Sonority: Teaching Music Reading in the Choral Classroom.
“A fabulous resource! David Xiques’s pedagogical processes towards music literacy for young singers through outstanding choral literature are clear. His sequencing is invaluable for the conductor who wishes to approach masterful musicianship with beginning choirs.” — Georgia A. Newlin, DMA, Adelphi University, Past President, Organization of American Kodýáy Educators
“A thoughtful presentation of concepts that will be of use to teachers at many levels, Solfege and Sonority is the most coherent and broadly applicable pedagogy I have seen on this very important subject.” –Joshua Habermann, Conductor, Dallas Symphony Chorus
Xiques has also published two choral arrangements with Alliance Music Publications: “Bashana Haba ‘a” and “Chants of Faiths”. And a third one, “The Promised Land”, an arrangement based on the shape note hymn from The Sacred Harp, will be available in 2020. All three are written for mixed chorus.
As assistant chorus director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, he prepared the Grammy Award–winning ensemble for performances of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor for Ingo Metzmacher, conductor. He also prepared the Chorus for the North American premier of John Adams’s Flowering Tree for Maestro Adams, who conducted the performances.
His work as a chorus director can be heard in a recording of Printemps on the CD Debussy Rediscovered, Premier Orchestral Recordings, released in 2000 under the Arabesque label. He worked closely with the conductor Emil de Cou, music director of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, in recreating Debussy’s original version of Printemps by restoring Debussy’s wordless chorus to the orchestration. Before this time Printemps had been heard only in an orchestral version.
Xiques earned his M.M. in Music Education with Kodály Emphasis degree from Holy Names University in Oakland, California, where he was a member of the faculty, and B.S. in Music Education from Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania. He studied ear training and musicianship extensively with Erzsébet Hegyi of the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and conducting with Vance George of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, as well as members of the 1995 Chorus America faculty at Saranac Lake, New York.