Look at any extensive library of musical literature and you will see not one, but many books by James Jordan. No writer is more prolific in the realm of vocal technique, rehearsal strategies, conducting, and what it takes to succeed in the world of choral music. Jordan is a professor and the Senior Conductor at Westminster Choir College, conducting Westminster Schola Cantorum and the Westminster Williamson Voices.
He is the recipient of a number of awards and has gained critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Pepper Editor Chris Titko was able to sit down with Mr. Jordan and discuss a number of topics ranging from his introduction to music to his latest book.
Perhaps most fascinating is the story of how James Jordan came to be interested in choral conducting. Surprisingly, he was not a serious musician until he entered Susquehanna University. After two years of pre-med, Jordan decided to change his major to music. He was rejected after his first audition, but his determination impressed the Music Education Department and he was enrolled. Though he never sang in high school, James Jordan fell in love with choral music while attending a Luther College Choir concert with his now wife.
Mr. Jordan also talks about his book The Musician’s Soul and its importance as a starting block for choral conducting. In this book, he has compiled a number of different conducting philosophies in one easily accessible place. He has succeeded in creating a comprehensive text that is perfect for a young conductor looking to take that first step toward becoming a professional.
Jordan also speaks to the emotional aspect of conducting a choir in the video The Human Connection. Among the most important facets of music are the shared feelings of the performers. He describes a trip to a local middle school where one of his students worked and was shocked at the difficulty of the pieces his student had chosen. What was more striking, however, was how the students not only rose to the challenge but also bonded together through their love of the music.
There is much more to learn and enjoy in this video playlist. Click here to view them all.