A choir teacher is a music teacher who specializes in helping students learn to use their voices in an ensemble setting. This involves learning information about music and reading music, skills for managing the sound one produces, and skills for interacting with the other singers in the choir. Although children sing in a group in the very early grades, they are not likely to be in a class called a choir class, and hence have a choir teacher, until they are in upper elementary school, if not middle school.
Like other teachers, choir teachers in public schools are required to be certified by the state in which they teach. In order to qualify for certification, they usually must successfully complete a course of study in education and music at the undergraduate or graduate level and pass at least one examination. Choir teachers frequently have other skills in the realm of music, such as being singers themselves or playing an instrument.
In some schools, all students attend a choir class, while in others, choir is an elective. This means that the choir teacher may be teaching different types of students, depending on which set-up is in place. In the first case, many of the students most likely have no special training and no special interest in the class. In the second case, students may have both a particular talent for singing and an interest in devoting time to learning how to do it better. Schools with a large number of students may have a chorus as a level one class leading to an upper level choir class. The choir teacher will often teach a large number of classes in a day and may see each group of students no more than three times per week.
Within choir class, the choir teacher helps students to warm up their voices, learn singing techniques, and learn specific pieces of repertoire that he or she has chosen as appropriate for the available voices. Students learn to listen to each other as they sing, and older students learn to sing in parts that are appropriate to the range of their voices, which the choir teacher determines. Often, the choir class performs in a public concert once or twice a semester.
Sometimes a music position is not offered as a full-time position in a single school. In this case, a choir teacher may teach at multiple schools in a district or in multiple districts. In addition to teaching choir classes, the choir teacher may give private voice lessons within the school day as an elective, or outside of school. Coaching students who have a lead role in a school musical and rehearsing the chorus singers is another role that may fall to the choir teacher.