The Institute’s professional development program connects the performance goals of artistry and education with the democratic values of diversity, inclusion and social responsibility - values closely aligned with the arts and education in a changing world. While course instruction focuses on developing and refining conducting and teaching expertise, participants are encouraged to transcend technical mastery and embrace the opportunity to make music in a way that empowers and transforms the lives of singers and their communities.

The CME Institute course for Choral Teacher Education in Michigan, courses in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and satellite courses in the U.S.  encourage ongoing, long-term professional development in choral music education. Participants generally attend a series of courses or annually repeated workshops and study retreats to connect with a trusted community of choral colleagues who support one another's musical growth and professional development. The ongoing CME Institute courses in all countries offer three or more choral teacher certification levels.

For those interested in furthering their choral music education studies beyond Level III, the Institute program offers the CME Artist-Teacher and Master Teacher Diplomas, available with Professors Doreen Rao, Sandra Snow, and Institute Faculty in the United States , United Kingdom, or through private study.


Course Objectives



Course participants will develop a growing knowledge of diverse and distinguished choral repertoire. Classical, contemporary, vernacular folk and world musics will be studied as the basis for teaching and learning in the choir. With an emphasis on the transformative potential of musical experience, participants will practice the art of programming to include historically significant and cross cultural repertoire alongside the contemporary music of living composers.

Vocal Expertise

Course participants will explore the essential elements of bel canto vocal technique including posture, breathing, vowel alignment and vocal diction principles (IPA). Participants will examine the use of extended vocal techniques and tone color variations as these skills apply to engaging singers in a wide range of musical styles and cultural perspectives. Course participants will explore the fundamental principles of vocal acoustics and will demonstrate the ability to use a variety of singing techniques related to breathing, movement and vocalization to support the vocal development of choristers.

Score Preparation

Course participants will develop a systematic approach to the study of choral repertoire to master a sequential and details analysis of (1) text, (2) musical structure (form), and (3) compositional elements. Course participants will apply score preparation methods based on best practices related to structural analysis, musicology, harmony, counterpoint and culture. Instruction includes charting and score memorization techniques.


Course participants will develop a confident and articulate conducting technique as a fundamental form of musical communication and performance teaching. Participants will practice gesture as a dynamic form of listening, teaching and performing. Participants will examine the use of conducting as a form of musical understanding and non-verbal pedagogy practicing gesture to promote musical engagement and inspired performance.

Concert Programming

Course participants will practice developing concert programs and repertoire-based choral curriculum to: (1) teach musicianship (non-verbal knowledge), (2) empower personal confidence, (3) encourage social responsibility, (4) develop community and (5) promote well-being. Participants will explore innovative program models, collaborative performance strategies and multigenerational singing opportunities including audience engagement and social outreach as central to music education in the world today.

Rehearsal Planning

Course participants will study musical structure and composition as the foundation for effective rehearsal planning and choral pedagogy. Through the process of "charting: the music (graphic representation), participants will practice a rehearsal planning method that begins with the musical mastery of primary themes, then moving toward the gradual integration and mastery of the entire work.

Rehearsal Pedagogy

Course participants will develop a dynamic range of experientially oriented teaching techniques and nonverbal rehearsal methods. Through the use of conducting gesture, chant, solfege, movement and other nonverbal choral pedagogies, participants will practice rehearsing in the spirit of collaboration. Co-creativity, musical engagement and problem-solving methodologies will be exercised in the context of the repertoire.

Performance Practice

Course participants develop a broader understanding of historically informed and culturally considered musical practices from a diversity of perspectives. Linking reflective practice with the values of ethical discernment, participants will demonstrate performance practices that embody the skills of adaptability, cooperation, receptivity and respect.

"Goodwork" (Excellence and Ethics)

Course participants will examine what constitutes "Goodwork" in 21st century choral music education. Participants will demonstrate the qualities of joyful, engaged and reflective rehearsal pedagogies practiced collaboratively for the artistic, educational and social benefit of young singers and their communities. With mastery as a long term objective, participants will practice moving directly from score preparation to rehearsal pedagogy to musical performance as the basis for transformative, life-changing choral music experience.

Socially Engaged Musicianship

Through the use of mindfulness and reflective choral pedagogy, participants will realize enhanced attention, deep listening and awareness as a means of encouraging the singer' ability to be fully present in rehearsal and performance. Engaged musicianship is being wholeheartedly committed to a fully present in the emotional, intellectual and spiritual meaning of the music.