The policy recognises that teachers and music educators have the greatest day-to-day contact with young people and the greatest capacity to promote barbershop singing among young people.
The policy recognises that barbershop is not a common element of the music curriculum in Australian schools, nor is it often included as an extra-curricular activity in school choirs or among community-based youth ensembles.
The policy recognises that many teachers and music educators do not have the background and/or motivation and/or confidence to teach the barbershop-style.
The policy’s primary purpose is not about active recruitment of young people into BHA choruses. However, it does acknowledge the important place of BHA at national, regional and club level in providing opportunities for interested youth to sing in quartets and choruses, including youth choruses.
The policy is largely directed towards working with teachers/music educators and youth to provide opportunities for young people to experience barbershop singing in school, in the barbershop community and broader community.
The policy seeks to raise teachers and music educators and youth awareness of barbershop harmony as a valuable musical style.
Fundamental to this policy is the encouragement of teachers and other music educators to include some barbershop music within the repertoire of their existing ensembles.
The policy also seeks to provide performance opportunities for young people to sing barbershop.
The policy is underpinned by building positive working relationships between BHA at all levels with teachers, music educators, and youth.
Strategies 1. Quartet Visits to Schools
This strategy is to introduce and interest teachers and students in the barbershop style.
School visits organised by regions/clubs should be by a well-established quartet of singers, which can confidently present a lesson incorporating demonstration, theory, and student participation. Suitable teaching quartets need to be scoring at a 60+
This strategy may be extended to working with community-based youth ensembles to introduce them to the barbershop style.
2. Teacher Professional Development
This strategy is essential to assist teachers and music educators to gain an understanding of the barbershop style and help build their willingness and capacity to include some barbershop music within their curriculum/choral program.
Teacher professional development must be of a high quality and meet the Australian National Professional Standards for Teachers.
BHA can develop an appropriate one-day course that contributes towards teachers’ professional development requirement of 20 hours annually.
Teacher professional development courses do not require accreditation; the only requirement is that the school principal approves participation as contributing towards the teacher’s professional development plan.
Teachers should take away from the course high-quality resources that allow them to try straight away, barbershop singing with their students.
Presenters must be highly credible and extremely competent.
Presenters should have BHA accreditation.
Courses may be presented in major venues on a cost recovery basis. Ideally, courses should be offered early in the year to allow time for ensembles to prepare for BHA school/youth events planned for the year.
3. Barbershop Big Day Out - BBDO
This strategy is an intensive full-day introduction for young people to singing in the barbershop style. Typically, students have access online, well in advance, to the sheet music and learning tracks for the two songs to be worked on during the day. Teachers are encouraged to help prepare students for the day. On the day, an accredited BHA quartet and an accredited SAA quartet, along with accredited music educators, work with the students.
The BBDO is most often run in conjunction with SAA.
SAI and BHA each provide their own educators and music for the event.
The implementation of a BBDO requires lead-time of a number of months and ongoing communications with schools, workshop leaders, as well as close liaison with SAI representatives.
A detailed website is frequently used to provide students with details of the BBDO as well as provide access to music and learning tracks.
Successful past practice has included providing participating teachers with a series of brief weekly lessons to help prepare their students –
Successful past practice has also included conducting sessions for music teachers during the day.
The Blenders Voices in Paradise is a good example
4. Youth Events
This strategy is to sustain the interest of teachers, students and other community-based ensembles in singing barbershop by BHA providing opportunities for them to participate in contests and festivals.
Opportunities for singing may include:
Clubs supporting an a cappella section in local eisteddfods.
Invitations to local schools/youth ensembles to appear on club shows.
Participation in regional Young Singers in Harmony school and youth contests.
Participation in the School and Youth section of annual conventions. The Contest Rules for Young Singers in Harmony are attached.
Participation in an Australian Youth Chorus at the international midwinter convention.
Another idea is providing opportunities for short-term participation in barbershop activities. This approach may be regarded in much the same light as a school production, or a community musical production, where young men commit to a limited time, say two/three months, to prepare and present a one-off event.
5. Youth Choruses
The role of clubs/regions in establishing and supporting youth choruses is an important strategy as it plays a key role in providing ongoing opportunities for interested youth to sing barbershop. It is important that a local region/club undertaking this task plans carefully and is willing to commit resources and provide support for an extended time to give the project the best chance of success.