230 episodes

Formerly the Find Your Forte podcast - Step up to the podium with purpose and make the most of your public or private school's choral program with solutions you never saw coming! Join Choir Ninja, Ryan Guth as he brings you weekly interviews with veteran in-the-trenches choral directors on how to manage your choir, teach concepts like sight-singing and group vocal technique, market your program, and help inspire a love of choral music in your students each day.

Choir Ninja, with Ryan Guth Ryan Guth

    • Music Interviews
    • 4.7 • 116 Ratings

Formerly the Find Your Forte podcast - Step up to the podium with purpose and make the most of your public or private school's choral program with solutions you never saw coming! Join Choir Ninja, Ryan Guth as he brings you weekly interviews with veteran in-the-trenches choral directors on how to manage your choir, teach concepts like sight-singing and group vocal technique, market your program, and help inspire a love of choral music in your students each day.

    B.R.E.A.T.H.E, with Ryan Guth

    B.R.E.A.T.H.E, with Ryan Guth

    It's that time again! Back-to-school, new church choir season, community choir getting back into it... Remember to B.R.E.A.T.H.E. Listen as Ryan gives a warm hug of encouragement and a few well-timed reminders to make sure you get started right and stay strong all year! Sponsored by Choirs Are Horrible - The card game for choir nerds

    • 21 min
    Coda, with Dr. Donald Beebe and Maryann Beebe, Jon & Robbin Rose, and Don Crafton, and Adam Rabung

    Coda, with Dr. Donald Beebe and Maryann Beebe, Jon & Robbin Rose, and Don Crafton, and Adam Rabung

    This is the final episode of the Choir Ninja Podcast. As always, the goal is to bring value to you choir directors, so Ryan gives you a chance to get to know the people behind the companies that have supported this show. Listen to their origin stories, their goals, and what motivates them to make the choral world better everyday. Ryan also has a special farewell for Choir Nation, and a reminder that there is enough pie for everyone.     [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android] Show Notes: Donald Beebe and Maryann Beebe, from Sheet Music Deals Donald started playing piano as a child, and loved the music store. PhD in Renaissance Studies from Yale Shifted to accounting Passion for early music combined with the desire to get music inexpensively led to the creation of Sheet Music Deals. Customer care and service is cornerstone of their business. Typical turnaround time is 2 weeks. They promote Arts Partner relationships, where they work with artists to promote each other’s work. Choir Nation, what are you looking for in your music store? What experience are you looking for? Donald wants to hear from you! Jon and Robbin Rose, with My Music Folders Jon and Robbin started a community choir. By coincidence, their first rehearsal was the day after 9/11. They were expecting 60 people to show up; double that number came to the first rehearsal. They started buying folders for their own choir, bought more than they needed to get a discount, and then sold the extras to other choirs. They sold out so fast, they decided, “Let’s do this again!” Their business has grown from one choral folder to band folders, orchestra folders, and choir robes. They have worked with several notable clients to custom design the folder they need for their specific needs. Jon and Robbin are musicians. They use their own products, and are constantly testing and revising their products. Since they buy and sell directly, the money that the save on not having a distributor gets invested in quality. They never cut corners on quality. Folders mean something beyond the most utilitarian use. You can get a personalized folder to commemorate a particular achievement or event, like a choir tour. They are launching “Song a Week,” a music subscription service that will link new composers with new music to high school choir directors. Membership give you a new piece each week, with the right to reproduce as many copies as you want for your choir. The selections will be curated to provide music appropriate for the season. Look for www.song-a-week.com, launching soon. Don Crafton and Adam Rabung, with Sight Reading Factory Don needed something to help his choirs strengthen their sight-reading skills. What he wanted didn’t exist, so he designed what he needed. A mutual friend connected Don with Adam, a programmer whose job would be to translate Don’s ideas into a computer program. Their first customers were passionate about the product, so much so that they wrote messages of appreciation, with suggestions for improvements. Ryan’s assistant, Stevie Berryman, is awesome and Ryan is helpless without her. Choir Nation is also awesome. Thanks for going along on this journey. Remember: sharing is important. This is not a zero sum game. There is enough pie for everyone. It is our job to make the pie bigger. A win for you is not a loss for anyone else, and vice versa. You have the ability to do so much good in this world. People just need an invitation, and to know that you care. People need you; they don’t know it yet, but they need you.   Resources/links Mentioned: Choir Nation group on Facebook (What should a sheet music retailer do?) Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout fo

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Motivation Monday: Feeling Like An Imposter?, with Ryan Guth

    Motivation Monday: Feeling Like An Imposter?, with Ryan Guth

    Imposter syndrome is real, and it means that you are human and have achieved success. Be thankful that you have these feelings; they mean you are accomplishing something worthwhile. But that doesn’t make it easy to deal with. For this penultimate podcast episode, Ryan returns to one of the post prevalent issues plaguing directors. Name your imposter syndrome, call it out for what it is, and then keep on doing amazing things. [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android] Show Notes:   Feeling like an imposter?   Yes. Duh. Of course. Anyone who has achieved any modicum of success (unless they're up their own butt) deals with imposter syndrome.   What is it? It’s the fear that you'll be found out; the idea that you're actually a fraud and don't deserve what you've worked so hard to achieve. YOU worked hard and have realized some success. And because YOU'RE responsible for your own success, you feel like YOU put yourself there. Which you did. Which is why it's easier to tell yourself you're a fraud.   The reality You deserve your success, for the same reason you feel like an imposter: YOU earned it yourself. Remember, everyone else is working toward their own successes, so why should you feel like you shouldn't.   Being successful puts you in the spotlight Now you not only deal with imposter syndrome, you deal with people who hate you for your success. So, now you speak negativity to yourself for the same reasons: Maybe because you took something other than the traditional path, and they watched you take a shortcut and are envious. Maybe you're just plain talented and don't have to work as hard. Maybe you worked harder than others were willing to work. Maybe your focus was on serving others, and those others are giving you all the attention. Maybe you operate in an environment where your peers believe in a zero-sum game, even though you don't. Maybe you're anti-establishment and just popped out of nowhere, not taking the traditional path to success. Maybe those with a higher degree of education (or debt) are struggling, but you chose a different route. Maybe… You name it.   The problem with listening to your imposter syndrome You stop doing what helped you achieve success in the first place. You, by proxy, allow your critics to control you and your level of anxiety. It's a losing scenario, because if you listen to your imposter syndrome and kill your success your self-talk changes and attacks you for being a failure.   So what do you do? Understand that it's part of being successful. Say “Of course. Just when I'm trying to enjoy life… Here you are!” Name it. (Mine is Phil) Put it in a bubble. Push it out. Affirm, out loud, that you deserve success. Name, out loud, all the people that have benefited along the way. Keep a “Smile File” of notes, emails, cards, articles, and things having to do with your journey that make you smile. Have someone you can talk to about your imposter syndrome who will be your cheerleader. Could be a best friend or spouse, or it could be someone you meet in Choir Nation. Bio: Having spent most of his middle and high school career in detention, Ryan Guth loves to speak to audiences about ways for choral directors to engage the seemingly un-engageable. Ryan learned fearlessness and indomitable spirit from a young age through many years studying the martial arts while also pursuing music – especially the time in middle school when he tried to break a board with his head in front his entire ninth grade class and failed spectacularly. He believes the best choir directors face challenges head-on (no pun intended), are solutions-oriented, and take full responsibility for all aspects of their program.  Ryan’s most popular and surprisingly positive article “Your Choir Sucks Because You Suck” was shared over 2,200 times in 48 hours, and has since become his manife

    • 26 min
    Countdown, with Ryan Guth and Stevie Berryman

    Countdown, with Ryan Guth and Stevie Berryman

    We begin the Choir Ninja wrap up with a countdown of the stats, names, and episodes that define us. In this antepenultimate episode, Ryan and Stevie look back on the moments and interviews that have stayed with them. Did they mention your favorites? [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android] Show Notes: 2 Names Find Your Forte Choir Ninja 226 episodes featuring my musings, Stevie’s brilliant ideas, and interviews with the greatest minds in the choral world More than 186,000 unique listens 8.7 million minutes of audio consumed by Choir Nation 2736 members of a little Facebook group called Choir Nation The most super-concentrated positive, vulnerable, supportive, honest, humble choir group on Facebook. I’ve met HUNDREDS of really amazing nice choral directors (and a handful of truly horrible people) 3 happy sponsors Sheet Music Deals My Music Folders Sightreading Factory 1 Sponsor that helped me when I needed a boost KI Concerts Top 5 episodes by download numbers Your choir sucks because you suck, with Ryan Guth Technique Tuesday 002 : Male Vocal Range Evaluation FYF 002 : The importance of being present on the podium with Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt FYF 004 : Serve with your whole being for a long and happy life, with Dr. Helen Kemp Find your entry point, with Craig Hella Johnson And COUNTLESS hours behind a computer and or microphone doing my best. Ryan’s favorite episodes (in no particular order) From a journey standpoint FYF 004 : Serve with your whole being for a long and happy life, with Dr. Helen Kemp FYF 002 : The importance of being present on the podium with Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt The Creative Roots Run Deep, with James Mulholland FYF 016 : Turn your setbacks into success (Pts 1 and 2), with Gabriel Crouch Find your entry point, with Craig Hella Johnson From a practicality standpoint (Ones that Ryan wishes he’s heard a decade ago) The 3 R’s of Sight-Singing, with Jon Duncan and Chris Munce 4 Functions of the Church Choir: Check Your Priorities, with Brian Hehn Agnes Isn’t the Boss of You, with Lynn Lyons Connect with their Culture, with Conrad Weber How to teach a piece using sequential layering, with Denise Eaton Stevie’s favorite episodes Inspiring/motivational Functional Art and Label Makers, with Terry Price When You’re Not Their First Love, with Beth Richey Sullivan When You Teach for Generations, with Benita Eldridge Leave My Christmas Carols Alone, with Dr. John Yarrington Equality and Dignity for All People, with Sean Baugh Homeless, Not Voiceless, with Johnathan Palant How to do things better Beer Choir, with Mike Engelhardt Uke, I Am Your Father, with Christopher Kurt 8 must-do’s for choral directors in December, with Amanda Simon and Ryan Guth Thank you! Thank you to ALL the Guests Thank you to the guests that I didn’t get a chance to interview: Trey Davis, with Red Shift Tim Herbel, with In Cahoots Fundraising Phil Drozda (Prairie Middle School in Aurora, CO) Mario and Lauraine Guarneri, with BERP & Co. Matthew Myers Thank you to ALL the Patrons Thank you Choir Nation! Bio: For the first time in many years, Stevie Berryman is soon to be unemployed. The mother of two and wife of one will stay busy creating snarky card games for niche audiences. You can find Stevie teaching or conducting at various handbell festivals around the country, which is not at all a made up job and is in fact something that people pay her to do, even though it’s her favorite way to spend a weekend anyway. Stevie is also active on Facebook about 23 hours a day, so you can usually find her in Choir Nation or Team Handbell. If you are in the Houston area, come to a Houston Chamber Ringers concert and see why an episode all about handbells cracked the top 20 list of most popular Choir Ninja podcasts.   Resources/links Mentioned: Choir Nation group on Facebook

    • 1 hr 25 min
    Big Wins with Little Singers, with Anna Dore

    Big Wins with Little Singers, with Anna Dore

    At the end of this episode, Ryan Guth makes an important announcement about Choir Ninja. If you’ve ever felt stuck in your job, like you couldn’t make your reality match your vision, this episode is for you. Anna Dore talks about what she, as an elementary choir and band director, learned from the Choir Ninja podcast that helped her transform first her attitude and then her program. She has brought an inspiring creative approach to fully engaging her students with their music. Her students have responded, and their parents and Anna’s administration have noticed. [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android] Show Notes: Overcoming professional frustration Choir Ninja Podcast Grad School Program Changes to push my own creativity and vision: Grant for new risers--Flip Forms; allowed for more movement and dancing in my performances Themed concerts tied to character education (inspired by Stevie’s episode “Sell Out Your Concerts”. Cross-curricular collaboration: tie the theme into general education class work; essays, projects, etc. Display student work at the concert. Extra Performance Elements for higher audience engagement: Choreography Narrators Solos Digital Program using Google Slides (inspired by Ryan’s episode “Programs with Impact”) Theme Ideas: “History Has Its Eyes on You”: “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia “Seize the Day’ from Newsies “My Shot” from Hamilton “I Was Here” by Lady Antebellum “Pursue Your Dreams” #Passion #Persistence #Pride “Try Everything” from Zootopia “Climb Every Mountain” from Sound of Music “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story “I Wanna Be Like You” from Jungle Book “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Tarzan Result: High engagement from my students High audience engagement and positive audience feedback Very positive administrative feedback and support Bio: Anna Dore is an elementary choir director, band director, and general music teacher at Woodside Elementary School in River Vale, New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Grove City College in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in music education from Montclair State University. She lives in Hawthorne, New Jersey with her husband, Ryan.   Resources/links Mentioned: Woodside Elementary School Choir Nation group on Facebook Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)     My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!) WHILE YOU ARE THERE, PREORDER CHOIRS ARE HORRIBLE!    

    • 35 min
    From Failure to Flanders Fields, with Dr. Paul Aitken

    From Failure to Flanders Fields, with Dr. Paul Aitken

    November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of World War I. It’s an unprecedented milestone of the modern era. Dr. Paul Aitken will observe that anniversary in concert with a performance of his moving and beloved setting of the poem “Flanders Fields,” on location at the Flanders Fields battlefield in Belgium. Dr. Aitken is encouraging choirs around the world to observe this milestone in their own ways, because making music together is sometimes the best possible response to war.   [Subscribe on iTunes] [Subscribe on Android]   Highlight to Tweet: “Let’s do concerts of peace this 11/11, and show our true colors.” -Dr. Paul Aitken Show Notes: Choir directors like to help people. That can carry over into very different fields, but helping people is helping people. After getting rejected from doctoral programs at the University of Oklahoma (twice), Paul got permission to audit the program. During that time he set a poem called "In Flanders Fields," by WWI veteran, John McCrae to music. It was the first winner of the Raymond W. Brock Student Composition Competition in 1998. The powerful piece helped to win him a spot in the OU doctoral program. His current success comes from that difficult place of failure. Coming up this year: A mass choir singing "Flanders Fields" and Paul’s 30-minute-long cantata, "And None Shall Be Afraid" at Flanders Fields proper. Honoring veterans around the world by remembering the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day (this November 11th) by organizing concerts around the world that feature choirs singing songs of peace and performances of "Flanders Fields" worldwide. Bio: Dr. Paul A. Aitken (b. 1970) is Director of Music & Worship Arts and Composer-in-Residence at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise, Idaho where he oversees more than twenty ensembles and a professional staff of six spanning two campuses.The first ever winner of the ACDA Brock Student Composition Competition for his piece “Flanders Fields,” Aitken is sought after as both conductor and composer. He has been commissioned by organizations such as the American Guild of Organists, the State of Idaho, and the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale. Aitken made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 conducting his major work, And None Shall Be Afraid with a choir of 200 and the New England Symphonic Ensemble. Aitken now has more than 40 compositions to his credit spanning more than two decades of writing.Aitken is a lifetime member of ACDA and has served at State, Division and National levels, including National Chair of Music in Worship. Dr. Aitken holds degrees from the University of Western Ontario, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and the University of Oklahoma. He is married to his lovely wife, MacKenzie, and together they are raising four teenage boys and running a very robust real estate business together. Resources/links Mentioned: Paul Aitken’s website Paul Aitken on Facebook And YouTube Or Twitter And why not also check out Paul on Soundcloud And of course, Instagram Choir Nation group on Facebook Patreon - Support the podcast! Watch THIS version of “Flanders Fields” In Flanders FieldsBy John McCrae, 1872 - 1918In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on row, That mark our place, and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly, Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead; short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe! To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high! If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, and not Dan Forrest The Great British Bake Off Giada De Laurentiis has a huge head     Sponsored by: Introducing Sheet Music Deals!     Sigh

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
116 Ratings

116 Ratings

KristieR11 ,

Great info

This podcast is filled with great content and information for anyone working in the music biz. Keep up the great work Ryan!

Minixon ,

Women should wear whatever they want.

It’s cool until you get sick of the sexism.

Stick with finance Ryan.

Story Spectacular ,

Music to My Ears:)

Even though I am not in a choir, I am a singer and make my living in the arts. I found many of Ryan Guths topics and interviews applicable to my own life. The production quality of Choir Ninja is top notch. A must listen for Choral Directors!

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