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University of Texas at Austin
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TMAA Sight-Reading Procedure for Choir

When the Conductor Enters the Room:

  • Approach the conductor with a professional greeting. It is suggested that this be done by a TMAA active or provisional member judge.
  • Have the conductor provide the time keeper with any “Warnings” (ex. One minute then 30 seconds, etc).
  • Show the conductor the selection to be performed and ask the following question verbatim: “This organization will be reading (title of selection) which has been chosen for conference          (varsity or non-varsity groups). Is this the correct conference for your organization?”

Instruction Period:

  • After a brief professional greeting to the ensemble, introduce yourself and the other adjudicators to the students.
  • Ask the conductor the following question verbatim: “Has this organization or any of its student members heard, read, rehearsed or performed this selection (indicating the music) at any time prior to this contest?” If the answer is “yes”, refer to Section 1111, (A) and (B) of the “UIL Constitution and Contest Rules”.
  • Ask the conductor if he/she would like the rules read to their organization. It the answer is "no" say "Your timing will begin when your conductor asks you to turn over the music or when he/she opens his/her score." If the answer is "yes" read the following without embellishment:

"Your conductor will be given six minutes (seven minutes for sub-non-varsity choirs) to study the score and instruct your choir. At any time during the instruction period the tonic chord may be played once in broken chord style. You, the performers, may NOT reproduce it. Your conductor may instruct you by tapping out rhythms and talking about any passage of music but may not hum, sing any part, or allow it to be played on the piano. You, the performers, may chant rhythms and/or text and tap or clap the rhythms. But you may not reproduce the music tonally. You may ask questions and make comments, according to your conductor's wishes. Neither the conductor nor you, the performers, may mark on the sight-reading music unless instructed to do so by a judge. At the completion of the instruction period, you will be given the tonic chord, in broken chord style and you may reproduce the tonic chord, utilizing your organization's preferred method of sight-reading (numbers, syllables, etc). Your accompanist will then give the starting pitches, which each section may sing, again utilizing your preferred method. Your conductor may sing the starting pitch with each section. After your choir has sung its starting pitches no further warm-up or musical instruction of any kind is permitted by your conductor, including the use of verbal counting to initiate the reading. The selection will then be sung without piano accompaniment and using your organization's preferred method of sight-reading. Your conductor may choose to read the piece in the printed key or any other key suitable for your group.

Following the first reading, your conductor will have two minutes for instruction. The same procedures described for the first reading will apply. The selection will then be sung a cappella. Your choir may continue to use your preferred method of sight-reading or you may sing the words printed in the score. The conductor's decision to use text or not will have no bearing on the final rating. Both readings will be judged.

Do you have any questions regarding the sight-reading procedure?

Your timing will begin when your conductor asks you to open your music or when he/she opens his/her score."

At the Conclusion of the Performance:

  • Thank the students and ask them to be sure and leave the music (where instructed).
  • Remind them to be sure that they take all their personal items with them as they leave the room.