I have delivered training workshops and Professional Development sessions for thousands of educators and many school districts in the past decade. I'm very passionate about providing relevant, engaging, actionable Professional Development to educators at all grade levels. A sampling of my PD offerings are below, but I am always happy to customize a workshop to fit the needs of your district/population.
email: TopherKeene@gmail.com for inquiries.
Raise Every Voice: Strategies For Teaching "Tone Deaf", "Droners", and "Non- Singers"
Everyone can sing! As educators we must do our best to help ALL students succeed as musicians. Come learn strategies for working with ‘melodically challenged' singers and helping them shine!
You will leave this workshop more confident in your ability to reach EVERY student in your classroom and help them develop their musical ears. Various techniques will be covered including group choral technique, small group work, and individual one-on-one lesson settings. You will also receive a comprehensive sequenced curriculum for taking a student from "tone deaf" to matching pitch and singing in a capella harmony!
Aural Literacy in the Choral Ensemble: Music as a Language
Want your singers to "read music" but don't know where to start? Worried that teaching literacy will take away from concert preparation time? Want to get away from note-plunking and rote learning? You will leave this session ready to teach all your singers to be literate musicians. This hands-on workshop will cover the basics of the Movable Do system of Solfège (including hand-signs) and how to structure your teaching to mirror the way we learn spoken language. In only a few minutes per rehearsal your singers can begin learning repertoire without piano and develop better leadership, intonation and understanding.
Included in the session handout is a packet of Core Literacy Drills that are carefully sequenced to lead singers from ground zero to full literacy. By taking a few minutes each day to develop Aural Literacy in your singers, they can begin to open their ears to the music they are making in class as well as in the world around them. Students begin dictating bass-lines from pop songs, creating their own harmonies to known melodies, and even producing their own a capella arrangements of their favorite songs.
While you attend the conference, are your students rehearsing or watching a movie? Through Aural Literacy they can develop the skills and drive to continue to work through difficult repertoire on their own, without a conductor or even a piano!
You will leave this session with a wide variety of techniques and tools for developing Aural Literacy in your students, and having gone through the entire process from start to finish yourself, you will see how it can be integrated in your choral program.
Community Sing! Bringing Choirs and Communities Together in Song
This is a "Non-Reading Session", we will sing classic spirituals, folk songs and beloved melodies together in the Aural Tradition, learning to share music and build community through group singing. Incorporating the teachings of Nick Page, Ysaye M. Barnwell, Pete Seeger, Alice Parker, and other master songleaders, this workshop will give you a collection of melodies etched in your ear through repeated singing, along with techniques for leading community sings and adapting the repertoire to all ability levels.
Come sing with your peers as you learn strategies for leading song with groups of any age and size. Leave with a body of repertoire and a collection of teaching tools that will give you the confidence to stand in front of any crowd and say, “Sing with me”.
The session will show you how to adapt and rearrange songs on the fly from unison melodies to 10+ part polyphony. Perfect for combined numbers at multi-grade/ability-level concerts, you will feel ready to ‘bridge the gap’ between grade levels, and between choir and community, as parents sing with children, elementary students sing with high-schoolers, and administrators sing with faculty.
Choir-unlimited: a Singable Accessible Choral Reading Session
Struggling to find the right music for your choirs and classrooms? Join your colleagues in singing through beautiful, accessible arrangements of folk-tunes, classic melodies, and original works designed to show off your singers' best voices and to be easily teachable. All arrangements/compositions featured are written by living composers actively working with choirs and writing with an eye to accessibility.
You will leave with several rounds/canons/part songs from the public domain that will work well with your choirs, and a comprehensive perusal packet of scores that you and your students will love. All scores featured are available for purchase as digital download with unlimited reproduction rights.
You can learn more and order sheet music at: ChoirUnlimited.com
Natural Gesture Theory: Enhancing Communication Through Conducting Gesture
Conductors: do you find yourself spending more time talking than conducting? Do your musicians having difficulty understanding the intent of your gestures? Are dynamics, phrasing, tone, and style inconsistent at best?
Natural Gesture Theory bridges disconnect between the way we use our bodies as conductors and the way we use our bodies naturally. The movements we make as conductors have meaning that is pre-programmed into the human brain, and working together we can discover that meaning and take advantage of it to better communicate with our singers and players.
You will leave this workshop with exercises and best practices for avoiding injury and improving your performance as a conductor. You will also have a toolbox of effective natural gestures that communicate your intentions to your ensembles more effectively.
Music, Math, and the Brain
This session is a deep dive into acoustical science, overtones, harmonics, neuroscience, vocal anatomy and vocal health. You will leave the session feeling more empowered to answer the difficult questions your children ask. You will develop confidence in helping your students more deeply understand how music works, and why it is such a powerful means of learning. You will also be more effective in defending and advocating for your music program by leaving with a collection of statistics, anecdotes, and scientific studies that support the power of music for building better brains.
Vocal Masterclass for Teachers
(Including non-music teachers!)
Learn to use your speaking and singing voice more effectively in this fun interactive workshop!
Voice damage is chronic among teachers and particularly among music teachers. Ensure better longevity in your career and more effectiveness in your teaching through improving your vocal health and technique. You will have the opportunity for one on one coaching and feedback in this session, as well as the ability to schedule followup lessons through the Professional Development program at the Grammy Award Winning Phoenix Boys Choir.
You will leave this workshop more confident in your speaking and singing voice, in addition to receiving a collection of warmups and exercises in print, audio, and video formats for continuing your vocal development. Various technological products and health/performance aids for improving and healing your voice will be discussed as well.
Navigating the Male voice change
Do young men in your choir struggle as their voices begin to shift?
Join Topher Keene, Director of Education for the Grammy Award Winning Phoenix Boys Choir, for an interactive and informative workshop on the male voice change. You'll leave more confident in your understanding of vocal anatomy, the various types of voice change in males, and more clarity in what to expect as your boys' voices begin their shift.
The workshop also provides you with extensive printed, video, and audio warmups and exercises for boys at all stages of voice change, from unchanged high sopranos, to mid-change limited range singers, to fully changed tenors and baritones. This workshop is particularly appealing to female directors who wish for a deeper understanding of male voice change, or for male directors who specialize in children's or adult voices and haven't spent as much time on the voice change. You will also have the opportunity to have the presenter visit your rehearsal or classroom and do a workshop with your young men on navigating their voice change.
Vocal technique and repertoire for changing voices
Join Topher Keene, Director of Education for the Grammy Award Winning Phoenix Boys Choir, for an interactive and informative workshop on adolescent changing voices. You'll leave more confident in your understanding of vocal anatomy, the various types of voice change in males, and more clarity in what to expect as your boys' voices begin their shift. He will also cover the more subtle female voice change, with vocal techniques that help all singers sing their best. You will end with a short reading session of accessible music for changing voices, folk songs, rounds, and other options for your classroom with a free packet of perusal scores!
The workshop also provides you with extensive printed, video, and audio warmups and exercises for boys at all stages of voice change, from unchanged high sopranos, to mid-change limited range singers, to fully changed tenors and baritones. This workshop is particularly appealing to female directors who wish for a deeper understanding of male voice change, or for male directors who specialize in children's or adult voices and haven't spent as much time on the voice change or struggle with coaching female singers through their voice change. You will also have the opportunity to have the presenter visit your rehearsal or classroom and do a workshop with your boys (and girls!) on navigating their voice change.