Choir Ninja, with Ryan Guth
Choir Ninja, with Ryan Guth
Ryan Guth
Formerly the Find Your Forte podcast - Step up to the podium with purpose and make the most of your public or private school's choral program with solutions you never saw coming! Join Choir Ninja, Ryan Guth as he brings you weekly interviews with veteran in-the-trenches choral directors on how to manage your choir, teach concepts like sight-singing and group vocal technique, market your program, and help inspire a love of choral music in your students each day.
B.R.E.A.T.H.E, with Ryan Guth
It's that time again! Back-to-school, new church choir season, community choir getting back into it... Remember to B.R.E.A.T.H.E. Listen as Ryan gives a warm hug of encouragement and a few well-timed reminders to make sure you get started right and stay strong all year! Sponsored by Choirs Are Horrible - The card game for choir nerds
Sep 17, 2018
21 min
Coda, with Dr. Donald Beebe and Maryann Beebe, Jon & Robbin Rose, and  Don Crafton, and Adam Rabung
This is the final episode of the Choir Ninja Podcast. As always, the goal is to bring value to you choir directors, so Ryan gives you a chance to get to know the people behind the companies that have supported this show. Listen to their origin stories, their goals, and what motivates them to make the choral world better everyday. Ryan also has a special farewell for Choir Nation, and a reminder that there is enough pie for everyone.     [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android] Show Notes: Donald Beebe and Maryann Beebe, from Sheet Music Deals Donald started playing piano as a child, and loved the music store. PhD in Renaissance Studies from Yale Shifted to accounting Passion for early music combined with the desire to get music inexpensively led to the creation of Sheet Music Deals. Customer care and service is cornerstone of their business. Typical turnaround time is 2 weeks. They promote Arts Partner relationships, where they work with artists to promote each other’s work. Choir Nation, what are you looking for in your music store? What experience are you looking for? Donald wants to hear from you! Jon and Robbin Rose, with My Music Folders Jon and Robbin started a community choir. By coincidence, their first rehearsal was the day after 9/11. They were expecting 60 people to show up; double that number came to the first rehearsal. They started buying folders for their own choir, bought more than they needed to get a discount, and then sold the extras to other choirs. They sold out so fast, they decided, “Let’s do this again!” Their business has grown from one choral folder to band folders, orchestra folders, and choir robes. They have worked with several notable clients to custom design the folder they need for their specific needs. Jon and Robbin are musicians. They use their own products, and are constantly testing and revising their products. Since they buy and sell directly, the money that the save on not having a distributor gets invested in quality. They never cut corners on quality. Folders mean something beyond the most utilitarian use. You can get a personalized folder to commemorate a particular achievement or event, like a choir tour. They are launching “Song a Week,” a music subscription service that will link new composers with new music to high school choir directors. Membership give you a new piece each week, with the right to reproduce as many copies as you want for your choir. The selections will be curated to provide music appropriate for the season. Look for www.song-a-week.com, launching soon. Don Crafton and Adam Rabung, with Sight Reading Factory Don needed something to help his choirs strengthen their sight-reading skills. What he wanted didn’t exist, so he designed what he needed. A mutual friend connected Don with Adam, a programmer whose job would be to translate Don’s ideas into a computer program. Their first customers were passionate about the product, so much so that they wrote messages of appreciation, with suggestions for improvements. Ryan’s assistant, Stevie Berryman, is awesome and Ryan is helpless without her. Choir Nation is also awesome. Thanks for going along on this journey. Remember: sharing is important. This is not a zero sum game. There is enough pie for everyone. It is our job to make the pie bigger. A win for you is not a loss for anyone else, and vice versa. You have the ability to do so much good in this world. People just need an invitation, and to know that you care. People need you; they don’t know it yet, but they need you.   Resources/links Mentioned: Choir Nation group on Facebook (What should a sheet music retailer do?) Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!
Apr 20, 2018
1 hr 6 min
Motivation Monday: Feeling Like An Imposter?, with Ryan Guth
Imposter syndrome is real, and it means that you are human and have achieved success. Be thankful that you have these feelings; they mean you are accomplishing something worthwhile. But that doesn’t make it easy to deal with. For this penultimate podcast episode, Ryan returns to one of the post prevalent issues plaguing directors. Name your imposter syndrome, call it out for what it is, and then keep on doing amazing things. [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android] Show Notes:   Feeling like an imposter?   Yes. Duh. Of course. Anyone who has achieved any modicum of success (unless they're up their own butt) deals with imposter syndrome.   What is it? It’s the fear that you'll be found out; the idea that you're actually a fraud and don't deserve what you've worked so hard to achieve. YOU worked hard and have realized some success. And because YOU'RE responsible for your own success, you feel like YOU put yourself there. Which you did. Which is why it's easier to tell yourself you're a fraud.   The reality You deserve your success, for the same reason you feel like an imposter: YOU earned it yourself. Remember, everyone else is working toward their own successes, so why should you feel like you shouldn't.   Being successful puts you in the spotlight Now you not only deal with imposter syndrome, you deal with people who hate you for your success. So, now you speak negativity to yourself for the same reasons: Maybe because you took something other than the traditional path, and they watched you take a shortcut and are envious. Maybe you're just plain talented and don't have to work as hard. Maybe you worked harder than others were willing to work. Maybe your focus was on serving others, and those others are giving you all the attention. Maybe you operate in an environment where your peers believe in a zero-sum game, even though you don't. Maybe you're anti-establishment and just popped out of nowhere, not taking the traditional path to success. Maybe those with a higher degree of education (or debt) are struggling, but you chose a different route. Maybe… You name it.   The problem with listening to your imposter syndrome You stop doing what helped you achieve success in the first place. You, by proxy, allow your critics to control you and your level of anxiety. It's a losing scenario, because if you listen to your imposter syndrome and kill your success your self-talk changes and attacks you for being a failure.   So what do you do? Understand that it's part of being successful. Say “Of course. Just when I'm trying to enjoy life… Here you are!” Name it. (Mine is Phil) Put it in a bubble. Push it out. Affirm, out loud, that you deserve success. Name, out loud, all the people that have benefited along the way. Keep a “Smile File” of notes, emails, cards, articles, and things having to do with your journey that make you smile. Have someone you can talk to about your imposter syndrome who will be your cheerleader. Could be a best friend or spouse, or it could be someone you meet in Choir Nation. Bio: Having spent most of his middle and high school career in detention, Ryan Guth loves to speak to audiences about ways for choral directors to engage the seemingly un-engageable. Ryan learned fearlessness and indomitable spirit from a young age through many years studying the martial arts while also pursuing music – especially the time in middle school when he tried to break a board with his head in front his entire ninth grade class and failed spectacularly. He believes the best choir directors face challenges head-on (no pun intended), are solutions-oriented, and take full responsibility for all aspects of their program.  Ryan’s most popular and surprisingly positive article “Your Choir Sucks Because You Suck” was shared over 2,200 times in 48 hours, and has since become his manifesto, mantra, and the platform that his work was built upon. Through his first podcast, Find Your Forte, Ryan connected thousands of weekly listeners with some of the most brilliant minds in choral music such as Helmuth Rilling, Patrick Quigley, Joseph Flummerfelt, James Bass, and 80-plus others. He recognizes the fact we become the best when we learn from the best. In 2017, Ryan created the Choir Ninja podcast to share solutions with middle and high school choral directors so they learn to work smarter – not harder. That’s why he focuses on sharing what works in choral programs across Choir Nation in a way that makes running a great choral program approachable, fun, and rewarding. When not dressing up in his ninja jammies or buffing his diploma from Westminster Choir College, Ryan is a financial advisor in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before that, he spent a decade building a large middle school program and for-profit choral ensemble  and musical theater business in central New Jersey. Ryan’s choirs have been heard alongside GRAMMY winners Kenny Rogers, Linda Davis, and The Chieftains and on the stages of Boston’s Symphony Hall, Philadelpha’s Mann Music Center, and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, to name a few. In July 2017, he made his Wolf Trap debut as Chorusmaster with the National Symphony Orchestra as they performed the music of the wildly popular Zelda video game. Ryan was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Iowa Choral Directors Association Annual Summer Symposium, has been a presenter at the Chorus America Annual Conference, and a guest speaker at various other conferences and workshops throughout the year in both the choral and podcasting niches.Ryan enjoys getting lost outdoors with his beautiful fiancé, Amanda, and pitbull-lab Sasha. He also dislikes socks and only wears them when absolutely necessary. This bio was sponsored by Gold Bond Powder. Resources/links Mentioned: Agnes Isn’t the Boss of You, with Lynn Lyons Choir Nation group on Facebook Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!
Apr 16, 2018
26 min
Countdown, with Ryan Guth and Stevie Berryman
We begin the Choir Ninja wrap up with a countdown of the stats, names, and episodes that define us. In this antepenultimate episode, Ryan and Stevie look back on the moments and interviews that have stayed with them. Did they mention your favorites? [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android] Show Notes: 2 Names Find Your Forte Choir Ninja 226 episodes featuring my musings, Stevie’s brilliant ideas, and interviews with the greatest minds in the choral world More than 186,000 unique listens 8.7 million minutes of audio consumed by Choir Nation 2736 members of a little Facebook group called Choir Nation The most super-concentrated positive, vulnerable, supportive, honest, humble choir group on Facebook. I’ve met HUNDREDS of really amazing nice choral directors (and a handful of truly horrible people) 3 happy sponsors Sheet Music Deals My Music Folders Sightreading Factory 1 Sponsor that helped me when I needed a boost KI Concerts Top 5 episodes by download numbers Your choir sucks because you suck, with Ryan Guth Technique Tuesday 002 : Male Vocal Range Evaluation FYF 002 : The importance of being present on the podium with Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt FYF 004 : Serve with your whole being for a long and happy life, with Dr. Helen Kemp Find your entry point, with Craig Hella Johnson And COUNTLESS hours behind a computer and or microphone doing my best. Ryan’s favorite episodes (in no particular order) From a journey standpoint FYF 004 : Serve with your whole being for a long and happy life, with Dr. Helen Kemp FYF 002 : The importance of being present on the podium with Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt The Creative Roots Run Deep, with James Mulholland FYF 016 : Turn your setbacks into success (Pts 1 and 2), with Gabriel Crouch Find your entry point, with Craig Hella Johnson From a practicality standpoint (Ones that Ryan wishes he’s heard a decade ago) The 3 R’s of Sight-Singing, with Jon Duncan and Chris Munce 4 Functions of the Church Choir: Check Your Priorities, with Brian Hehn Agnes Isn’t the Boss of You, with Lynn Lyons Connect with their Culture, with Conrad Weber How to teach a piece using sequential layering, with Denise Eaton Stevie’s favorite episodes Inspiring/motivational Functional Art and Label Makers, with Terry Price When You’re Not Their First Love, with Beth Richey Sullivan When You Teach for Generations, with Benita Eldridge Leave My Christmas Carols Alone, with Dr. John Yarrington Equality and Dignity for All People, with Sean Baugh Homeless, Not Voiceless, with Johnathan Palant How to do things better Beer Choir, with Mike Engelhardt Uke, I Am Your Father, with Christopher Kurt 8 must-do’s for choral directors in December, with Amanda Simon and Ryan Guth Thank you! Thank you to ALL the Guests Thank you to the guests that I didn’t get a chance to interview: Trey Davis, with Red Shift Tim Herbel, with In Cahoots Fundraising Phil Drozda (Prairie Middle School in Aurora, CO) Mario and Lauraine Guarneri, with BERP & Co. Matthew Myers Thank you to ALL the Patrons Thank you Choir Nation! Bio: For the first time in many years, Stevie Berryman is soon to be unemployed. The mother of two and wife of one will stay busy creating snarky card games for niche audiences. You can find Stevie teaching or conducting at various handbell festivals around the country, which is not at all a made up job and is in fact something that people pay her to do, even though it’s her favorite way to spend a weekend anyway. Stevie is also active on Facebook about 23 hours a day, so you can usually find her in Choir Nation or Team Handbell. If you are in the Houston area, come to a Houston Chamber Ringers concert and see why an episode all about handbells cracked the top 20 list of most popular Choir Ninja podcasts.   Resources/links Mentioned: Choir Nation group on Facebook KI Concerts Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!
Apr 10, 2018
1 hr 25 min
Big Wins with Little Singers, with Anna Dore
At the end of this episode, Ryan Guth makes an important announcement about Choir Ninja. If you’ve ever felt stuck in your job, like you couldn’t make your reality match your vision, this episode is for you. Anna Dore talks about what she, as an elementary choir and band director, learned from the Choir Ninja podcast that helped her transform first her attitude and then her program. She has brought an inspiring creative approach to fully engaging her students with their music. Her students have responded, and their parents and Anna’s administration have noticed. [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android] Show Notes: Overcoming professional frustration Choir Ninja Podcast Grad School Program Changes to push my own creativity and vision: Grant for new risers--Flip Forms; allowed for more movement and dancing in my performances Themed concerts tied to character education (inspired by Stevie’s episode “Sell Out Your Concerts”. Cross-curricular collaboration: tie the theme into general education class work; essays, projects, etc. Display student work at the concert. Extra Performance Elements for higher audience engagement: Choreography Narrators Solos Digital Program using Google Slides (inspired by Ryan’s episode “Programs with Impact”) Theme Ideas: “History Has Its Eyes on You”: “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia “Seize the Day’ from Newsies “My Shot” from Hamilton “I Was Here” by Lady Antebellum “Pursue Your Dreams” #Passion #Persistence #Pride “Try Everything” from Zootopia “Climb Every Mountain” from Sound of Music “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story “I Wanna Be Like You” from Jungle Book “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan Result: High engagement from my students High audience engagement and positive audience feedback Very positive administrative feedback and support Bio: Anna Dore is an elementary choir director, band director, and general music teacher at Woodside Elementary School in River Vale, New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Grove City College in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in music education from Montclair State University. She lives in Hawthorne, New Jersey with her husband, Ryan.   Resources/links Mentioned: Woodside Elementary School Choir Nation group on Facebook Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!
Apr 4, 2018
35 min
From Failure to Flanders Fields, with Dr. Paul Aitken
November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of World War I. It’s an unprecedented milestone of the modern era. Dr. Paul Aitken will observe that anniversary in concert with a performance of his moving and beloved setting of the poem “Flanders Fields,” on location at the Flanders Fields battlefield in Belgium. Dr. Aitken is encouraging choirs around the world to observe this milestone in their own ways, because making music together is sometimes the best possible response to war.   [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android]   Highlight to Tweet: “Let’s do concerts of peace this 11/11, and show our true colors.” -Dr. Paul Aitken Show Notes: Choir directors like to help people. That can carry over into very different fields, but helping people is helping people. After getting rejected from doctoral programs at the University of Oklahoma (twice), Paul got permission to audit the program. During that time he set a poem called "In Flanders Fields," by WWI veteran, John McCrae to music. It was the first winner of the Raymond W. Brock Student Composition Competition in 1998. The powerful piece helped to win him a spot in the OU doctoral program. His current success comes from that difficult place of failure. Coming up this year: A mass choir singing "Flanders Fields" and Paul’s 30-minute-long cantata, "And None Shall Be Afraid" at Flanders Fields proper. Honoring veterans around the world by remembering the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day (this November 11th) by organizing concerts around the world that feature choirs singing songs of peace and performances of "Flanders Fields" worldwide. Bio: Dr. Paul A. Aitken (b. 1970) is Director of Music & Worship Arts and Composer-in-Residence at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise, Idaho where he oversees more than twenty ensembles and a professional staff of six spanning two campuses.The first ever winner of the ACDA Brock Student Composition Competition for his piece “Flanders Fields,” Aitken is sought after as both conductor and composer. He has been commissioned by organizations such as the American Guild of Organists, the State of Idaho, and the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale. Aitken made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 conducting his major work, And None Shall Be Afraid with a choir of 200 and the New England Symphonic Ensemble. Aitken now has more than 40 compositions to his credit spanning more than two decades of writing.Aitken is a lifetime member of ACDA and has served at State, Division and National levels, including National Chair of Music in Worship. Dr. Aitken holds degrees from the University of Western Ontario, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and the University of Oklahoma. He is married to his lovely wife, MacKenzie, and together they are raising four teenage boys and running a very robust real estate business together. Resources/links Mentioned: Paul Aitken’s website Paul Aitken on Facebook And YouTube Or Twitter And why not also check out Paul on Soundcloud And of course, Instagram Choir Nation group on Facebook Patreon - Support the podcast! Watch THIS version of “Flanders Fields” In Flanders FieldsBy John McCrae, 1872 - 1918In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on row, That mark our place, and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead; short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe! To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high! If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, and not Dan Forrest The Great British Bake Off Giada De Laurentiis has a huge head     Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!
Mar 30, 2018
38 min
It's Worth It: Directing in Rural Communities, with Dr. Marlen Dee Wilkins
Life’s happy out in the sticks. It’s also hard, inconvenient, and sometimes lonely. But in this episode, Dr. Dee Wilkins talks to Ryan about why it’s worth it. There are real limitations in rural schools: numbers and funding will always be less than you want. But with creativity, heart, and an entrepreneurial mindset, you can still show you students a little bit of choral heaven. All twelve of them. [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android]   Highlight to Tweet: “Imagine not having anyone within 45 minutes of your school who can play piano.” - Dr. Dee “Life’s happy out in the sticks.” Dr. Dee Wilkins Show Notes: There are real limitations in rural schools: numbers and funding will always be less than you want. You just make it work. There are also positives to working in rural schools: the interpersonal relationships with students are unmatched, you form close relationships with colleagues and administrators, and there is little to no red tape. Teaching music in a rural town can be a lonely world. Participate in collaborative events with other teachers. Learn from each other’s challenges and successes, and lean into their experiences to enrich your own. Being involved in multi-school events allows small schools to find strength in numbers and perform repertoire that is otherwise beyond their reach. Don’t have an event nearby? Start one. Students can learn from every choir director they get to work with. A successful rural music program is all about the positive relationship you have with the students. Students have to know they are going to be successful when they perform with you Bio: For nearly 20 years Dr. Marlen Dee Wilkins has been teaching and directing Middle School, High School, Collegiate and Church choral ensembles. He holds degrees from Eastern Arizona College, Northern Arizona College, and the University of Northern Colorado. His current post is the Director of Vocal Music at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. He and his wife Leisel are the proud parents of 8 beautiful children. Resources/links Mentioned: Oklahoma Panhandle State University Choir Nation group on Facebook Patreon - Support the podcast! Just a really fine family photo:   Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!
Mar 28, 2018
52 min
CN Rewind: You're better than you think you are, with Ryan Guth
This episode first aired in July 2017: Drawing on lessons learned while losing at pool, Ryan shares what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset as a  choir director. You will hear strategies about how to win at pool, how to lose at pool, and how to embarrassingly injure a friend during pool (with a step by step guide in the show notes). You will also hear why it is so important that we mindfully choose which kind of game we are going to play, which entrepreneurial super-skills you already posses, and how to avoid the traps that prevent you from being the real thing.   Highlight to Tweet: “If your win is a standing ovation, you need a bigger win” - Ryan Guth   Show Notes: You are already functioning as an entrepreneur in 2 WAYS: Through Task: Recruitment = Sales Market concerts Concert Programs = Graphic Design Press releases = PR Concerts = Event planning Working one-on-one with a student who’s more invested than the others = Coaching Talking to parents = Counseling/Negotiation Sending detailed emails so your students do what you need them to do = Copywriting Making resources for students like practice tracks = content marketing Updating your “teacher page” = web design Creating and upholding the rules in your choir handbook = Contracts Making an itinerary for your choir’s trip to Disney World = Travel planning Budgeting = Budgeting Picking the uniforms = fashion design Problem solver Through thought: Knows his/her own “why” Stands for something Abundance-minded Proactive Solutions-oriented Focused on personal growth and learning. Self-aware Places the greatest value on helping others before themselves. Knows other people's “Why” Takes ego out of the equation Confident in his/her unique value proposition to the world.   What’s holding you back from being great? Listening to haters and critics. It’s a long game, and a numbers game. You have to get through your “no’s.” “Good” concerts are part of the process. They aren’t all great. Worrying about things outside your control. Blaming others Comparing yourself to others Zero-sum mentality When you get close to success, imposter syndrome tries to shut you down. The biggest pitfall is sometimes the smallest one: small goals that produce small wins   Construct a big “win”...not one based solely on applause, scores, or the admiration of others. Bio: Having spent most of his middle and high school career in detention, Ryan Guth loves to speak to audiences about ways for choral directors to engage the seemingly un-engageable. Ryan learned fearlessness and indomitable spirit from a young age through many years studying the martial arts while also pursuing music – especially the time in middle school when he tried to break a board with his head in front his entire ninth grade class and failed spectacularly. He believes the best choir directors face challenges head-on (no pun intended), are solutions-oriented, and take full responsibility forall aspects of their program.  Ryan’s most popular and surprisingly positive article “Your Choir Sucks Because You Suck” was shared over 2,200 times in 48 hours, and has since become his manifesto, mantra, and the platform that his work was built upon. Through his first podcast, Find Your Forte, Ryan connected thousands of weekly listeners with some of the most brilliant minds in choral music such as Helmuth Rilling, Patrick Quigley, Joseph Flummerfelt, James Bass, and 80-plus others. He recognizes the fact we become the best when we learn from the best. Ryan Guth recently created the Choir Ninja podcast to share solutions with middle and high school choral directors so they learn to work smarter – not harder. That’s why he focuses on sharing what works in choral programs across Choir Nation in a way that makes running a great choral program approachable, fun, and rewarding. When not dressing up in his ninja jammies or buffing his diploma from Westminster Choir College, Ryan is a high school choir director in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before that, he spent a decade building a large middle school program and six-figure-choral-ensemble-based-for-profit-business in central New Jersey. He is also the founder and sole member of the Hyphenation Club of America. Ryan will be the keynote speaker at the Iowa Choral Directors Association Annual Summer Symposium, a presenter at the Chorus America Convention in the Summer of 2017, and a guest speaker at various other conferences and workshops throughout the year. Ryan enjoys getting lost outdoors with his beautiful fiancé, Amanda, and pitbull-lab Sasha. He also dislikes socks and only wears them when absolutely necessary. This bio was sponsored by Gold Bond Powder.   Resources/links Mentioned: Choir Nation group on Facebook Email Patreon - Support the podcast! Instructions for setting up a nut-shot in a game of pool:1. Tell the unsuspecting victim you know a cool trickshot, but that you’ll need him to be your assistant. 2. Place the quarter about 8 inches from the end of the table, right down the center line. 3. Have your victim position himself behind  the quarter.4.  Hand him the two balls and, whilst patting him on the back, tell him “Now you have 4!”5. Ask the victim to place one ball at each of the corner pockets, hanging over the edge, just about to fall in.6. Direct your victim to place his pointer fingers on each ball to prevent them from accidentally falling into the pocket. 7. He will need to brace himself, so remind him to take a step back and balance on both feet.8. Now, walk to the other end of the table, and explain that through magic and complex feats of 9th grade geometry, in one shot, you will hit the two balls into each pocket. ;)9. Place the cue ball on the dot, aim for the quarter, and… if you hit the quarter just right… it’ll jump off the table directly into the victim’s unsuspecting “huevos rancheros”. 10.  Lastly, point at your victim and have a good laugh at his expense.   Sponsored by: Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!) My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) Sheet Music Deals (Use promo code "NINJA" to receive 20% off all Bri-Lee and Carl Fischer Music publications)
Mar 14, 2018
40 min
Imposter Syndrome? You’re Not Alone (or a narcissist), with Stevie Berryman
Imposter Syndrome is a thief; it steals joy from success, and pride from achievement. Feeling like your accolades are undeserved is a common occurrence among artists. Even when you feel secure in your abilities, the fear of looking foolish can keep you from taking the risks that lead to amazing opportunities. Ryan and Stevie discuss how to beat Imposter Syndrome, and the rewards of taking risks. [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android]   Highlight to Tweet: “The truth takes time.” -Stevie Berryman Show Notes: Imposter Syndrome - a phrase coined in the 1980’s to describe the nagging fear that you are not as smart or experienced or talented or deserving as people think. You do not deserve, nor have you earned, your success, and soon people will discover you are a fraud. Imposter Syndrome is the realm of the high achievers. So if you have ever experienced it, you are neither a narcissist nor a slacker. How to beat it: Identify what you are worried about. Talk about it with a mentor Focus on the value you bring. Value does not mean perfection. Claim your wins. You didn’t get here by accident. The people who put you where you are did not make a mistake, you haven’t conned them. Stop comparing yourself to others. “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” -Iyanla Vanzant Check your self talk. Replace “I feel” with “I think.” Ditch language like, “maybe it’s me, but…”. Don’t apologize for asking questions; assume they are valid. Have courage; embrace ambition. Don’t talk yourself out of taking risks. Say yes to even those opportunities that risk you looking foolish. Bio: Stevie Berryman is shockingly good at video games. She can fold a fitted sheet so it looks like it came right out of the package. Likewise, her skills as music director and teacher have also been acquired through long hours of arduous and dedicated practice. For much of her career Stevie has directed seven or more ensembles each week, meaning she has 98 years of experience (in dog years). Her effusive energy and wild creativity found a perfect setting in 2013 when she became the Artistic Director of the Houston Chamber Ringers, which has let her smash together her love for music, laughter, and tacos in a truly remarkable way. She has a particular passion for teaching children how to ring, and her innovative methods have made her a sought after educator at area and national handbell festivals. Stevie loves helping other choirs as a private clinician, or planning epic concerts for them as a creative consultant. Her next step in global domination is to take over the choral world, which is a side bonus of her job as Chief Awesomeness Officer at the Choir Ninja Podcast. Resources/links Mentioned: Houston FebFest Tammy Waldrop Stevie on Facebook Choir Nation group on Facebook Patreon - Support the podcast! Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!
Mar 9, 2018
51 min
Life Changing Concerts, with Dr. Abby Musgrove
Yes, your concerts should meet educational standards. Yes, they should also meet your own goals for helping your singers become better musicians. But how about planning concerts so powerful that they change people's’ lives? What if your concerts actually strengthened bonds in your community? Dr. Abby Musgrove from Illinois College talks with Ryan about ways to create concerts that are meaningful to your audience, and how to make sure that audience is comprised of more than just the parents of your singers. Music should be a gift, not an obligation. Here’s how you make that happen. [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android]   Highlight to Tweet: “It’s important that whatever you are doing, you are doing at a quality level.” Abby Musgrove “People came trusting me that I was going to create something that would change their life.” Show Notes: Choir directors are entrepreneurs, and that isn’t a dirty word. People should come to choir concerts because it’s a great product that adds value to their lives, not because they are obligated to just because their child is singing. Building Audiences Keep the main thing the main thing - Quality Matters Use quality literature. Don’t dumb things down for your audience. Are you creating an objectively beautiful product? Quality music does not mean difficult music. Why should they even come? It’s a lot to ask someone to come to a choral concert. They could always just watch a choir on youtube instead. Consider the experience you are giving your audience: the venue, the atmosphere Themes, Collaborations, and Partnerships Pick a generic enough theme that everyone can understand and grasp. Connect your theme with a collaboration. Build a relationship with people and groups in your community, where they see value in what you produce. When you take your group out to sing in the community, ask yourself whether it is a place that could be a potential audience builder. So go sing at the nursing home (service), but ALSO the Chamber of Commerce (potential partners). Loss leader - Getting them hooked A “loss leader” is something that a company gives away...probably at a loss...in order to get people in the door. Your loss leader could be your theme, your concert title, a group that you are partnering with. Educating your audience gradually Being "entertaining" doesn't mean you've sold out! Bio: Dr. Abby Musgrove is the Director of Choral Activities at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where she conducts choirs and ensembles, teaches conducting and other various music classes, and oversees the Music Education Program. Prior to her appointment at Illinois College, Dr. Musgrove was on the faculty of Aurora University and received degrees from the University of Kansas, University of North Texas, and Millikin University. A native of central Illinois, Dr. Musgrove has taught all ages and levels of music, including choirs and bands, and is an avid church musician. She is also the director of the Jacksonville Symphony Chorale, and the founder and director of the newly-formed Spero Chamber Chorale. Her musical interests are eclectic, from Renaissance polyphony and Baroque chamber to experimental and avant-garde, with plenty of classic rock thrown in. Dr. Musgrove’s research often focuses on connections between the arts, and the science behind aesthetics. She is a fan of science fiction, Shakespeare, steampunk, archeology, and tea. Abby lives in Jacksonville with her husband, Will, and their one-year old daughter, Quincy. Resources/links Mentioned: Illinois College Choir Nation group on Facebook Patreon - Support the podcast! Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!
Mar 6, 2018
54 min
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