Chorus Overview

At Brooklyn Youth Chorus, when we train singers, we nurture their voices and ambitions. We consider a young voice a resource that needs care, encouragement and time to blossom. The old-fashioned notion of learning by doing is alive here, paired with a modern, healthy approach so our singers can develop and thrive.

The Approach

Brooklyn Youth Chorus students are trained using the Cross-Choral Training® method, a proven holistic and experiential approach to teaching voice and musicianship in a group setting, designed by director Dianne Berkun-Menaker. It is both functional voice training (developed with Jeannette LoVetri), based on voice science and health, and a comprehensive approach to building sight-reading and music literacy skills.

Our goal is to develop each singer’s full musical potential as the group delivers polished and authentic performances across the musical spectrum.

The Curriculum

With a scope and pace appropriate for the ages and abilities of our singers, all students receive instruction in three key areas:

  • Voice training—vocal development and applied technique
  • Musicianship and music literacy—sight-singing, ear training, theory and harmony.
  • Performance elements and historical context—accepted performance practices for the style, genre and period of the repertoire and composers studied.

We also focus on developing attention span, concentration and the art of collaborating as a group—skills vital to performing well in rehearsals, on professional concert stages, and in life.

Voice

Based on traditional classical vocal pedagogy, vocal health and function, our voice training is also age appropriate. With a strong grounding in voice science, we safely expand the technical skill and capacity of singers by developing a range of vocal qualities including those appropriate for classical, contemporary, folk, musical theater, gospel, pop and jazz styles.

Musicianship

Experiential and sequential, our musical training at each level expands and deepens the knowledge and skills learned earlier. Our youngest singers begin with a strong grounding in tonal music, basic rhythms and meters, practiced in the context of the performance repertoire. As the singers advance, studies expand to encompass a variety of relative and fixed pitch sight-singing systems like tonic solfege, scale degrees, letter names and interval relationships. More complex tone sets, modes, meters and harmonic analysis are introduced later. The result: our singers gain the knowledge and confidence needed to rehearse and perform with the world’s greatest conductors and musicians.