I won’t lie. It’s worth listening to this entire podcast just because five and a half minutes into it Dr. Yarrington does an impression of an orchestra warming up, and it gave me life. Besides that, there is valuable information here about vocal warm ups, accountability, choosing appropriate literature, student conductors, and why adults are more frustrating than children.
Highlight to Tweet: “I want my kids to sing well, and be happy they sang well. Other than that, what is there?” – John Yarrington
- You don’t have time not to warm up each week
- Warm ups should be timed (5 minutes is plenty), more about listening than producing, and intentionally productive.
- Program for your students, not for yourself or other directors.
- Put your singers first. That means hard work, hard rules, and no participation trophies.
After 18 years as the head of the Choral Department at Houston Baptist University, Dr. John Yarrington has retired. During these years, a significant change in the choral culture was accomplished with outstanding concerts of varying repertoire, major works with orchestra, outstanding guests including Alice Parker, Morton Lauridsen, Dan Forrest, James Jordan, and Anton Armstrong. Five trips to the Classic Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria were accomplished and the HBU Schola Cantorum was the featured choir singing a concert in the Bergkirche, Haydn’s church.
Dr. Yarrington is a published composer and author – his latest book is Have We Had This Conversation, published by Sacred Music Press. He has completed a new book entitled “In Pursuit of Musical Excellence, yet to be published.
Dr. Yarrington was, for 34 years, a full time church musician and continues today as the Chancel Choir Director of the First Presbyterian Church of Houston. At Pulaski Heights UMC in Little Rock, Arkansas, he started the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Chorus and was, for a season, interim conductor of the orchestra. He also was Artistic Director of the Arkansas Chamber Singers for several seasons – a professional choral group.
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