The Voices I Hear - Book

A Philosophical and Practical Approach to the Choral Art

Will Kesling

Item #: G-10678     Status: Available

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Drawing from his five decades of success as a conductor and educator in the choral field, Will Kesling has compiled a comprehensive choral methods resource that addresses every necessary fundamental for achieving artistry in the choral art.

Written in clear and conversational language, this resource covers:

  • Building a healthy and beautiful choral sound
  • Dealing with vocal issues
  • Selecting repertoire and programming concerts
  • Developing score study skills and interpretive insights
  • Understanding the characteristics of musical periods and composers
  • Planning, preparing for, and running rehearsals

The Voices I Hear also explores important but often overlooked topics, including a discussion of performing sacred music in secular education settings, techniques for performing choral-orchestral works, choral versus orchestral conducting, and how to become a true “maestro.” Individual chapters also function as standalone topics of study.

A valuable read for emerging and seasoned conductors alike, The Voices I Hear is an expert study of the aesthetic, intellectual, and practical aspects of the choral art.

Dr. Will Kesling is Professor of Choral and Orchestral Conducting at the University of Florida, where he has taught for two decades. He has conducted hundreds of choral ensembles and nearly fifty of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. His ensembles have received international attention for their excellence and musical expression.


Thank you, Dr. Kesling, for the decade you gave of yourself to write the most complete and comprehensive writing on the topics of choral techniques, methods, and conducting I have seen. It is in-depth yet practical, to the point of being a valuable resource for both the young conductors entering the choral field to the well-established professionals. You have given us a solid foundation in all significant areas of the choral art, including, among many others, the production of beautiful vocal tone, detailed physical vocal production, textual and physical components of English diction, repertoire programming, appropriate style, interpretation and phrasing, and a pathway to successful conducting of combined choral and orchestral forces. Your enormous and highly successful career, with worldwide performances and numerous awards and honors, has enabled you to bring validity and integrity to the entire writing.

—Donald Neuen
    Distinguished Professor Emeritus, UCLA
    Former member of the Robert Shaw Chorale
    Mr. Shaw’s Assistant Conductor with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Choruses

For more than 50 years, Dr. Will Kesling has been and continues to be a prominent figure and voice in the International and American choral profession. His new book, The Voices I Hear, is the distillation of his long and distinguished career as a conductor and choral music educator. The driving and consuming passion throughout Kesling’s life is the preparation and performance of the world’s rich and diverse choral and orchestral repertoire and the education, development, and growth of those who perform and conduct it. This book is a summation of a lifetime immersed in the choral art and all its many aspects. It overflows with insights into the choral art that will not only instruct the beginning conductor but also will enlighten and entertain the seasoned professional conductor and educator. It is filled with wit, wisdom, and practical advice to all practitioners of the choral arts. I enthusiastically recommend Kesling’s enlightening new book as an important addition to the choral pedagogy bibliography and for use as an invaluable new text for choral practicum classes for both graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Kesling has brought to the choral profession significant new insights to all lovers of the choral art.

—Craig Jessop
    Professor of Music, University of Utah
    Former Music Director of the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square
    and the United States Air Force Singing Sergeants

Will Kesling’s book, The Voices I Hear, is practical and philosophical, useful and inspirational, focused and comprehensive. The observations and advice are based on his vast personal experiences on the podium with choirs and orchestras, and the book is a monumental resource for both the young conductor and the veteran. Containing a broad spectrum of musical styles, composers, and topics, Kesling’s direct and practical writing connects immediately with today’s choral musician. Keep The Voices I Hear nearby as there will be many times down the road where the information and opinions in Dr. Kesling’s book will answer the questions you have, as well as the ones you didn’t even know to ask!

—Jerry Blackstone
    Professor Emeritus of Music (conducting) and Director of Choirs (retired)
    School of Music, Theatre & Dance, University of Michigan

This is the textbook I wish had been available when I was beginning my studies. It is comprehensive in scope, practical and helpful in its suggestions, and, perhaps most surprising in a book from an academic, superbly written in clear and powerful English. Kesling speaks with conviction, clarity, and polish, and he finds colorful and memorable ways of making his points and presents the material from the perspective of one who has done all these things for decades at a highly professional level. I give this volume the highest possible recommendation.

—Daniel Gawthrop
    Composer & Conductor

Categories: Method, Pedagogy, Reference/Textbooks, Rehearsal

Number of Pages: 472

Format: Book

Discipline: Choir