Make the most of your Convention and All State Choir experience

So you’ve made All State. What’s next? Sometimes after the dust settles we realize that after focusing so hard on the competition there is actually a really cool experience in store for you, and that is traveling to the TMEA convention in San Antonio to rehearse and perform with the All State Choir.

If your director has not already mentioned you will be in rehearsal a lot. Did you also know you will be rehearsing at one of the biggest music conventions in the nation? I hope you consider taking advantage of all he amazing opportunities there are in San Antonio.

Here are some items to think about so that you can make the most of your convention.

Learn the New Music

Just do it! First time All Staters tend to be better about this…then they go to the convention and realize few people put in the work. Then, the second year they are likely to slack off with the rest of ’em. Don’t be that person! It’s much more fun to make music than to plunk notes in rehearsal, and you can be a better leader and help your peers learn faster if you’re prepared. Also….you may miss out on auditioning for a solo if you don’t crack open your packet before convention!


The number one thing you are going to need during these long days of rehearsal is sleep. On the full days you will have 8 hours of rehearsal a day (with breaks of course)! The best thing you can do is not stay up too late and try not to waste your voice speaking over loud noises (like those crowded restaurants!) Refer back to our post about preparing for camp for more tips on how to be kind to your voice and body during these grueling few days.

Saving your voice

This may not be obvious so some singers in the choir: The competition is over, and it is pointless to overuse your voice so that your neighbor can hear you! You never hear yourself in the choir of over 200 and try to focus on making music rather than singing loud 100% of the time. If you are not feeling well or feeling fatigued vocally, it is generally a good idea to focus on your breath and to only sing with your full voice half of the time, or take a time out to just listen.

Must-See Events

1. College night:

College night is the time where admission representatives from universities nation wide come to recruit all state students and answer any questions you might have about their music programs. Maybe this is your first time making an All State choir. Or maybe you are junior thinking of a music minor or major. In any case, it is a big deal to make an All State ensemble, so big that Universities Nation-Wide make the trip to Texas to recruit and talk about music scholarships for interested students.

College night will be held Friday night 5:00-8:00pm in CC exhibit hall. All of the All State choirs will be out of rehearsal promptly at 5pm on Friday so that you can attend. I know you’ll be exhausted, but please take advantage of this great opportunity to talk to colleges about your future as a music major.

2. Exhibit Hall

Visiting the amazing exhibit hall is a must see for many reasons. For instrumentalists, there are a variety of booths to try out the newest and best brands of reeds, cases, supplies….even entire pianos! For singers and choir directors, a gigantic collection of sheet music and volumes of song books. I have also seen massage booths, food, and booths with musical t-shirts/gadgets/more. A lot of it is geared toward directors (ie: fundraising, tour information and uniforms) but there is still a lot to see. And don’t forget the free candy/swag from all the exhibits! You can also take this time to scope out any patches or All State swag you want to take home.

3. Concerts

Your time is limited, but there’s a chance you can pop in and hear a great concert. Every year music educators from across the state submit their ensembles’ recordings to be considered to be an honor choir and perform at the convention, it’s like winning the State title for your choir as these honor choirs are the best in the state from elementary through college. This year college choirs from Texas Christian University and Texas State will be performing.

4. Sessions for Teachers

Usually, the most important part of the convention for music educators are the sessions designed for choir directors to share ideas to bring back to their local programs. Check out the complete listing of sessions on the app or in your booklet you receive at registration. This year some sessions I am interested in sessions entitled “Solutions for Smaller Choirs” and “Music and the Brain.”

Even if you did not make the All State ensemble, we have had high school students drive into watch the choir concerts or even rehearsals. It’s so cool to see their eyes light up and really understand the magnitude of this experience. If you are an aspiring music educator, this convention also offers great opportunities to learn about interview strategies and network with fine arts directors of various districts. If you end up majoring in music in Texas, you will likely be back at the convention as a college student or a teacher later on.

See you in San Antonio!


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