‘Singing is the language of the heart,’ says Prof. Hermann Rauhe, honorary cantor at St. Michael’s. ‘Singing together promotes sympathy, confidence and trust and strengthens social bonds, as it requires participants to listen carefully to each other.’
Under the leadership of Ulrike Dreßel, the St. Michael’s singing school for children and youth sees itself as one of the many supporting pillars of the musical message of the Gospel and the Evangelical Lutheran faith at St. Michael’s. The ‘choir year’ nearly corresponds with the church year, which begins on the First Sunday of Advent. Throughout the year, the different choir groups of children and youth sing at main church services on Sunday morning, in vespers in the early evening and at baptism services, with church celebrations and holidays running throughout the year like a common thread. Concerts, children’s musicals, choir trips and church celebrations further complement and enrich the work of the choir.
Musical training for children aged four and older
The singing school concept focuses on long-term musical learning for children, who are taught in age-specific groups that build on each other in terms of content. Lateral entry is possible on registration but requires a brief voice test. We recommend complementing instruction with additional one-to-one voice training and basic piano lessons.
St. Michael’s Mice (for preschool children from the age of four)
Preschool children come together to discover their voice as an instrument. As they learn spiritual and secular children’s songs, the budding singers are introduced to music, rhythm and melodies in a fun and playful way. Songs requiring motions and movement support children’s natural urge to move.
Children’s choir 1 (for children in years 1 and 2)
Building on the musical experiences gained at preschool age, the children deepen their skills here, learning lyrics based on the ‘three-sense method’. For them, ‘hearing, seeing and feeling’ means hearing the melody, seeing the accompanying movement of the choirmaster and imitating both in their own singing. Children’s natural urge to move is thus put to good use and songs are immediately learnt by heart.
Children’s choir 2 (for children in years 3 and 4)
From reading age, the three-sense method fades into the background as the multi-voice choral singing based on notes comes to the fore. The targeted exercises train and henceforth prepare the children’s voices, with a particular focus on pitch and a feel for rhythm. The children’s choir 2 sees itself as a link between the younger and older children.
Youth choir 1 (for youth in years 5 to 7)
Multi-voice singing is an integral part of the choir practices starting in the youth choirs. Sight-singing exercises simplify the process of learning great musical pieces. The period of voice change is alleviated with careful attention to the voice.
Youth choir 2 (for youth in years 8 and higher)
Youth from the age of 13 have the opportunity to join the advanced youth choir following a brief voice test. With intensive voice training – including one-to-one lessons – the voice is further cultivated to learn demanding choir music. Concert trips and joint projects with the St. Michael’s Kantorei also promote musical quality.
The repertoire of all the choir groups encompasses hymns, psalm settings and new spiritual songs, as well as pop songs, secular songs and ballads.