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CPA Preview Concert

Before we went to CPA (Choral Performance Assessment), I scheduled a preview concert about two weeks before the actual event. This is the second year I’ve had a preview, and I’m completely sold on it. There are so many benefits!


Here is a general breakdown of what I did:

Before Preview

Each of my performing groups (Women’s Choir and Men’s Choir) had two after school rehearsals. In the past, I’ve done more after school rehearsals but:


  1. It kills me.

  2. I don’t like living at school.

Narrowing it down to only two after school rehearsals per group eliminated so much stress from my life. To make it even better, I scheduled other directors to come in and clinic my students for one rehearsal per group. So I wasn’t even doing all of the work myself! (Thanks to my wonderful friends/colleagues for doing that, btw.)

Benefits of bringing in a guest director

Preview set-up

(Some of my Men's Choir members after working with a guest clinician last year)

  • The kids really enjoy getting to work with someone besides me for a change

  • Different ears hear different issues= cleaner music

  • Reinforces concepts and skills for the kids when they hear SOMEONE ELSE say the same thing I do every day.

  • It’s fun for the guest director to come in and have a “clinician experience” ( I’d do it for you any time, and consider it an honor!)

  • Allows you to observe and listen-something we don’t often get to do with our own students.

I also ask directors to come to the actual preview and act as mock judges. This year, my high school directors, and one of my colleagues who also worked with my students at an after school rehearsal acted as my three mock judges. I try to make it as official as possible.


 I set up table at the back of our auditorium and provide them with numbered copies of our music, and the exact judges forms that are used at CPA. I go over the scores and comments the next day in class with my students and we decide what we need to address based on the feedback we receive.


Here’s the full un-edited video from our preview concert this year. Feel free to watch the video in its entirety, or fast-forward to the parts you’re interested in:

It’s super casual. I invite the parents to come watch, because I don’t perform this repertoire after CPA. I try to take time to explain to our audience exactly what we are doing and why, so they have a better understanding of the process. I let the students dress casually, and i think they like that it’s a little more chill than our typical concert set-up.

Order of Events

  1. I start both groups seated out in the audience so they can practice walking up on stage. I introduce our judges at the back, and explain the process a little.

  2. Men’s Choir performs.

  3. Men’s Choir sight reads. I make everyone sight read on stage, including the practice time, in front of everyone. I think showing parents how we do this is SUPER important. They are used to seeing the product side of what we do, and it’s nice to show them the process for a change.

  4. Women’s Choir performs.

  5. Women’s Choir sight reads.

  6. Everyone goes home. I chat with my colleagues after and receive their feedback.

Comparisons of Preview concert and CPA recordings coming soon, so stay tuned!

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