Summer Music Literacy Course

Drake University, June, 2017

Step-by-Step Inspiration with Choral Songs and Bel Canto Solfeggio

Clinician: John Armstrong
June 26-29, 2017
Course fee is $325

Teachers may earn 2 EDMA credits (additional $100 per graduate credit hour fee through Drake University) OR staff development credit (additional $25 for the course through Heartland AEA).

Class meets 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

This is a patient, sequenced course, derived from our highly successful "Step-By-Step Bel Canto Solfeggio" class, that will help you practice integrating the three-step process and lead your choral singers from basic music reading instruction to sight singing actual songs and choral literature beautifully. This class format has been developed in response to requests from music educators who work with singers and who believe in sight reading music every day. We will implement the Cooperative Learning model so you will be an active participant in the process.

A detailed description appears on the Drake Summer Music Institute website:

We've noticed the power of collaboration in our classes when returning veterans work alongside first-time directors.  The veterans will enjoy a fresh approach with song and choral literature while the newbies gain support as they develop their handsign/solfeggio "chops".  We will sing songs that evolve into two-, three- and four-part choral pieces.  Our mission is to help you develop "choristers” into expressive singers who think, count and read music.

Step by Step

Directors immediately practice-teach each fundamental handsign/solfeggio for music reading instruction in small groups as soon as that skill is introduced “In the Air”, beginning with the diatonic scale.

"This has truly been one of the most significantly useful classes that I have taken throughout my career."  - J.B.

Directors learn how to read Pitch Charts and Pulse Charts “On the Board”, then experiment with leading those activities right away as those skills are incorporated in rehearsal.

"Now, I am building in literacy skills throughout the rehearsal.” - J. N.

The Cooperative Learning model also provides opportunities to exchange ideas and experiment with various applications of the process. This class is about much more than music reading instruction for singers.

“John Armstrong will simply change the way you think about music education.”  Dr. M.K.

NB:  The Reading Choir Singer is required text for this course.


Questions?  CONTACT:  Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier
Director of Choral Activities
Drake University, Des Moines Iowa   50311


John Armstrong, Director, American Music Literacy Association