Choral PDLC

About the New Choral PDLC

The Choral Certification Program is based on the application of Music Learning Theory and preparatory audiation to beginning and advanced choir instruction.

Using Music Learning Theory, students simultaneously learn two instruments—the audiation instrument (the instrument in the mind) and their vocal instrument. Like all other instrumental PDLCs, the choir courses focus on audiation development so that choral and vocal performance becomes an extension of the student’s audiation.


Choral, Level 1

Course Description

Choral PDLCs consist of three parts: 1) Musicianship wherein participants work on their own tonal and rhythmic skills, 2) the study of Music Learning Theory and 3) the practical application of that theory into their practice as choral educators.

During the practical application section of the course, teachers learn rehearsal techniques for how to teach choir using an audiation approach. Instruction includes the following: 

1) how to develop and connect the audiation instrument to the vocal instrument,

2) how to teach and assess tonal and rhythm patterns in a choral setting,

3) how to perform and create through improvisation in ensemble settings,

4) how to make generalizations about music (both from an audiation and notation perspective) so students can become their own teachers

5) how to apply MLT to the teaching of reading music notation with understanding.

Course Outcomes

Participants will:

  • deepen their understanding of how children learn music and what that means for instruction.
  • develop their own tonal, rhythm, and movement skills.

  • become more familiar and comfortable with engaging musically in a wide variety of tonalities and meters.
  • learn how to teach children tonal and rhythm patterns in major and minor tonalities and in duple and triple meters, respectively.
  • learn how to engage children meaningfully in music creativity and improvisation.
  • develop activities designed to deepen students’ music understanding and audiation through singing, chanting, listening, and moving
  • learn how to model, create, and engage children in developmentally appropriate movement.
  • develop procedures for assessing students’ music achievement.
  • develop techniques for bringing students who are in formal instruction out of tonal and rhythm babble. 
  • explore options for using MLT to create a “sight-reading” curriculum for their students

Course Content

  • Theory and Practical Application
  • Preparatory Audiation and Audiation
  • Types and Stages of Preparatory Audiation
  • Skill Learning Sequence, and Tonal and Rhythm Content Learning Sequence
  • Topics include (a) informal instruction as readiness for formal instruction for the non-singer, (b) applying rote song instruction to the warm-up routine, (b) informal and formal tonal pattern and rhythm pattern instruction, (c) tonal syllables and rhythm syllables, (d) improvisation and generalization, (e) movement, (f) coordinating pattern instruction and choral activities, (g) choral activities at each skill level, (h) creating a musicianship curriculum, (i) creating a “sight-reading” curriculum, and (j) assessment.

Required Materials

  • Gordon, E. E. (2012). Learning Sequences in Music: A Contemporary Music Learning theory. Chicago: GIA.
  • Reese, J. (2019). Navigating Music Learning Theory: A Guide for General Music Teachers. Chicago: GIA.
  • Mullen, A. (2023). The Choral Musician, Digital Workbooks 1 and 2. Boston, MA: The Improving Musician.
  • Gordon, E. E., Bolton, B. M., Hicks, W. K., & Taggart, C. C. (1993). The Early Childhood Music Curriculum: Experimental Songs and Chants Book One. Chicago: GIA.
  • Internet Access

Suggested Materials


Participants should be familiar with the songs, tonal patterns (neutral syllable and solfege), and rhythm patterns (neutral syllable and rhythm syllables) available on the Tonal and Rhythm Skills Development CD, (Grunow, R. F., Gordon, E. E., & Azzara, C. D., (2010) Chicago: GIA. For a richer experience, participants should read Learning Sequences in Music: A Contemporary Music Learning Theory before attending the workshop.