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Choral Arts Seminar

September 6 - September 7

Updated information coming soon… 



Dr. Alyssa J. Cossey (she/her) is a conductor, singer, educator, and scholar. She is a contributing author for a new choral text on women composers (edited by Hilary Apfelstadt), an inaugural member of the professional women’s choir, mirabai, a 2023 Finalist for the Dale Warland American Prize in Conducting, and is currently serving as Associate Director of Choral Activities at Coastal Carolina University. Before relocating to the East Coast for love, she was an Assistant Professor of Choral Music at the University of Arizona and prior to that, she taught both middle and high school choir in Southern California for nearly a decade. Dr. Cossey holds a DMA from Michigan State University, an MM from California State University, Fullerton, and a BA from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. For additional information or DEI and classroom resources, please visit


Seminar Schedule

Friday, Sep 8, 2023

6:00 PM on-Site Registration Opens- Lobby of USC Music Dept.

6:30 PM Choral Division Individual Committee Meetings. Rooms available: 006, 016, 107, 201, 210, 213, 214, 215, and 232.

7:30- 9:00 PM WORKSHOP– The First Ten Minutes: Re-Imagining the Role of Warm-Up Activities in Choral Rehearsal

Room 006 (Choir Room)

Dr. Alyssa Cossey, clinician


Saturday, Sep 9, 2023

8:30 AM Registration Opens/Light Breakfast Lobby of USC Music Dept.

9:00-9:20 AM Choral Division Website Quick Tips, Mr. Josh Wald

Room 006 (Choir Room)

9:25-10:20 am WORKSHOP– Teaching the Harmonic Learning Sequence: Tools and Strategies for Introducing and Improving Harmony Singing in the Choral Classroom (Dr. Alyssa Cossey), Rm 206 (Recital Hall)

10:25-10:55 am  Middle School/High School Break Out Sessions 

11:00 AM -12:00 PM WORKSHOP– Mind the Gap: Strategies and Tools for the Developing Voice (Dr. Alyssa Cossey)

Room 206 (Recital Hall)

12:15 PM SCMEA Fall Business Meeting 

Room 206 (Recital Hall)


The First Ten Minutes: Re-Imagining the Role of Warm-Up Activities in the Choral Rehearsal 

Description: This interactive session will challenge the traditional role of warm-ups in the choral classroom. Often, small changes can expand previously established exercises to address musical areas such as blend, balance, diction, intonation, pitch-matching, and sight-reading skills. In addition to developing singers’ technical skills, participants will explore how to effectively utilize the first ten minutes of rehearsal to build community within the ensemble, foster student leadership, and establish a positive classroom culture. Participants will leave with strategies and resources to incorporate these practices in their own choral classrooms.


Teaching the Harmonic Learning Sequence: Tools and Strategies for Introducing and Improving Harmony Singing in the Choral Classroom

Description: Choir teachers are tasked with designing meaningful and appropriate musical experiences that empower their students to sing harmonically, from simple partner songs to works with multi-part divisi. This session will provide a recommended sequence for introducing and developing harmonic singing, including teaching strategies and recommended repertoire for each step of the sequence. Using these resources, attendees will be able to accurately evaluate repertoire – from unison to multi-part divisi – for opportunities that align with this harmonic sequence and design singing experiences that empower singers of all experience levels to become more independent in an ensemble setting.


Mind the Gap: Effective Strategies and Tools for the Developing Voice 

Description: In this session, participants will explore research on the developing brain and strategies for applying it in the choral classroom. Attendees will gain tools for working with changed and unchanged voices, pitch-matching techniques, repertoire suggestions for both single-voice-type and mixed-voiced ensembles, recommended seating arrangements for effective rehearsals and performances, fun skill-building and motivational activities to use every day, and ideas for how to create a classroom that welcomes and celebrates all students and voice types. With the help of these core strategies and techniques, teachers of developing singers (at any age) can build classroom environments where singers feel safe and affirmed and can build their musicianship.


September 6
September 7
Event Category:


University of South Carolina School of Music
813 Assembly St.
Columbia, SC 29208 United States
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