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​INSPIRARE: Breathing Life into Our Music
A Manual for Church Choir Conductors in Asia

Joel M. Navarro, DMA

For many decades church choir conductors in Asia have been the recipient of excellent conducting textbooks written by European and American authors. A good number have become staple resources in the pedagogy of conducting. As noteworthy as these books are, there is yet a book that can address specific needs of Southeast Asian church choir conductors, most of whom are part of the developing world and have unique experiences that are hardly addressed by these choral resources. The developed world has accessibility to many choral resources, which are otherwise hard to come by in countries where they are so costly.

This author has observed that in many Asian choral cultures, much emphasis is given to extended repetition and rehearsal time so that musical components are aligned. Advanced learning systems in the West will spend a few minutes learning something that takes a far longer time to learn in the context of Asia. This situation may not necessarily be a minus for Asian cultures. In the process, relationships between choristers are built more lastingly through time. Asian culture cultivates a sense of trust and kinship. It enables singers to develop teamwork and global awareness of and adjustment to the singing environment.

In navigating these pedagogical and cultural rivers, the choral conductor is expected to meet more than the usual demands of work in a church setting. They include the need for spirituality, relationality, stewardship, and leader