School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Jerry Newman


curriculum, choir, a cappella, pedagogy




As vocalists, it is important for us to understand techniques regarding current styles of vocal composing and arranging including voicing, beat boxing, and body percussion. The success of several mainstream television programs such as Glee and The Sing-Off, popular movies franchises like Pitch Perfect, and groups like Pentatonix and Straight No Chaser, demonstrate the rising popularity of contemporary a cappella music. It also reflects the need to be able to write unique arrangements of traditional or popular songs to keep up with recent trends. Current research suggests that there are very few resources available for music educators to teach this genre of vocal music. Most of this research is aimed towards the experience of being a part of an a cappella choir, rather than the actual music and vocal skills needed to perform and write contemporary a cappella arrangements. Much of the research is also concentrated on the collegiate level. This study explored appropriate pedagogical approaches for teaching contemporary a cappella and discovered the necessary musical literacy and skills to perform, compose, and arrange for contemporary a cappella mixed voice choirs. An objective of the research is to explore how high school and collegiate campuses are currently employing courses geared towards teaching contemporary a cappella. “Curriculum Framework for Composing and Arranging for Contemporary A cappella Choirs,” seeks to build a curriculum framework for teaching composing and arranging for contemporary a cappella choirs by researching a cappella choir history; pedagogy associated with teaching contemporary a cappella; and vocal, composition, and arranging techniques of this genre.

Included in

Music Commons