Choir Director

DR. JOEL PLAAG

Conductor, Teacher, Author


I'm a Choir Director??!

Rehearsing even the rowdiest volunteer choir and loving every minute of it

is now available at your favorite bookseller as paperback, Kindle, or Nook (links below):


Amazon (also available as eBook)

Barnes and Noble (also available as eBook)

PART ONE: BECOMING A CHOIR DIRECTOR...............10
CHAPTER 1 IN FRONT OF THE CHOIR ..................................... 11
CHAPTER 2 WHY WE SING ............................................................ 17
CHAPTER 3 THE MUSICAL CONNECTION .......................... 27

PART TWO: THE MECHANICS OF CONDUCTING...... 34
CHAPTER 4 THE PATTERNS ......................................................... 35
CHAPTER 5 CONDUCTING DIFFERENT METERS ......... 44
CHAPTER 6 PREPARATION .................................................--..... 57
CHAPTER 7 THE LEFT HAND ...................................................... 64
CHAPTER 8 THE BATON ................................................................. 81
CHAPTER 9 STOPS AND STARTS .............................................. 90

PART THREE: PREPARING FOR REHEARSAL........... 102
CHAPTER 10 BEFORE THE FIRST REHEARSAL ..............103
CHAPTER 11 APPROACHING A NEW SCORE ................... 115

CHAPTER 12 – DEVELOPING THE REHEARSAL PLAN ........................ 129


PART FOUR: THE REHEARSAL........................................................... 142
CHAPTER 13 THE WARM-UP ................................................................................ 143
CHAPTER 14 IN THE REHEARSAL ..................................................................... 152


PART FIVE: THE REST OF THE STORY............................................... 161
CHAPTER 15 WHAT ELSE DO WE DO? ......................................................... 162
CHAPTER 16 IF YOU BUILD IT…............................................................................ 172
CHAPTER 17 CODA ..................................................................................................... 183
FURTHER READING .................................................................................................. 188
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ......................................................................................... 189

Why I wrote this book

I have worked with a number of choir directors, especially church directors, who don't have music degrees.  They don't have a lot of the experiece or training that I have been priviledged to have.   I always knew there was a need, but it was two years ago where that need became more poignant.


I was finishing a workshop on changing meters in conducting at a bell conference.  Three of my bell choir members were there, and though none were professional musicians, they seemed fascinated (and didn't fall asleep!) and kept encouraging me, after we returned home, to write these techniques down.


I loved talking about and sharing these little shapes and tricks that I used.  What began as a labor of love has turned into something that I think is necessary for those who are suddenly given the gift of working with a choir.  I wanted it to be a quick read that can be referenced over and over, to identify the facts and the techniques, and to share some of my own experience so maybe others can learn from my horrible mistakes.


If you're a choir director, a fellow musician, or just a friend whose buying one because that's what friends do, thank you.  If you're a new choir director, I hope that the art of conducting will be a long-lasting love affair as it has been for me.


In this book, I have found a great love of writing inside that has been yearning to come out, and after all this time, has finally seen the light of day.


Enjoy reading.

What others are saying:


“An inspiring guide to the technical and spiritual aspects of the church choir,”

Gavin Craig, music director, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Brenham, TX.


“There is a plethora of techniques about rehearsals!  Most of all, this book has heart and will touch the heart of every reader.

Debbie Rawlins, elementary music education, Sam Houston State University


“Dr. Plaag is witty and insightful. He reminds us why we show up, and then offers a clear guide for what to do now that we are here.”

Anne M. Guess, junior high choir director, Katy, Texas.


“Exciting reading!…There’s a real need for it.”

Dr. Ann Frohbieter, organist/choir director, Temple Emanuel, Houston.