The chorus song in education

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soprano, conductor Member of the Board of the Pan-Hellenic Association of Choral & Instrumental Ensembles Conductors

Lora Petropoulou
soprano, conductor
Member of the Board of the Pan-Hellenic Association of Choral & Instrumental Ensembles Conductors

This article was originally posted on International Choral Bulletin of International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM).

In the Greek educational system choir singing, in general education, is taught as an optional subject.

In Primary Education a choir functions during the afternoon hours (14.00-16.00), inside a cultural and creational frame of work. The students that take part in it are the ones that remain in the school after the end of their obligatory syllabus and it is suggested to those studying in the last four grades. In the morning sessions, the choirs are formed during the Musical Education subject and are primarily aiming at taking part in performances for school or national days’ celebrations but without taking into consideration the pupils’ vocal or acoustic abilities.

In Secondary Education students may participate in a choir for up to two hours per week, as an extra-curricular activity. This is an obligation of the music teachers it is part of their teaching duties and their working hours.

The Music High schools were founded in 1988. In those, students participate in various kinds of music groups such as a choir, an orchestra, a folk group etc.

Despite the adverse conditions, mainly in the public sector schools, due to lack of facilities (music classrooms, musical instruments…), lack of scientific education of the teachers and of the implementation of the necessary methodology, during the last years there has been a gradual increase in the number of school choirs and an improvement in the quality of most of them.

One example of these could be the 4th Panhellenic Meeting of School Choirs that took place in Karditsa, in the February of 2012. 52 school choirs from Greece and abroad participated in it, with an aim to encourage school units to form important choirs.

The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs in 2000 instituted the organization of annual Panhellenic School Cultural Games, aiming at the promotion of culture among students and the connection of education with the arts. In those Games, among other events, there were also Chorus Festivals with a competitive character. Unfortunately, during the past years this institution has weakened.

The repertoire of the choirs consists mainly of Greek music pieces (both traditional and more modern), parts of “serious” pieces of music as well as popular songs of different styles and music streams. A crucial help to the educator is the “Music Anthology” for the elementary school and the “Anthology of Music Pieces” for the junior high-school. They include scores of different pieces as well as instructions for the teaching procedure.

Very important choirs have been set up in many University Schools of the country, especially the Music ones. They are primarily formed by students of the Departments and graduates with a special interest for the chorus song.

Since 2007 the Conservatories have had Departments of Choir Conducting. Up to that point anyone who wished to study in that field, was taught in seminars, by Greek conductors who had studied abroad.

In the choirs of the Conservatories, student attendance, especially in the theoretical and vocal subjects, is obligatory. As a result of that, in the most significant Conservatories of the country, there are active choirs with well-educated chorus singers. Their repertoire covers all music eras from the Renaissance up to date.

About Λώρα Πετροπούλου

Lora Petropoulou ia a Soprano and a Choir Conductor, as well as a Member of the Board of the Panthellenic Association of Choral & Instrumental Ensembles’ Conductors
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