I really enjoyed your session. The work you are doing is vitally important  so many choral directors and their choirs would benefit from working with you.  Vance George, Director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, after attending the interest session at the 2006 ACDA Western Division Convention in Salt Lake City

Every choral director should be required to attend one of Tom's clinics. Not only are his sessions very informative, but his message tugs strongly at your heart and emotions and will dramatically improve your rehearsals and change your choir forever.  Diana J. Leland, past president of National ACDA, ACDA North Central Division, and ACDA of Minnesota, after attending the 2009 ACDA-MN Summer Dialogue Conference session






My name is Tom Carter, and for the past thirty years I've been helping actors and singers create engaging experiences for themselves and their audiences. In 1989, after I sang with the San Jose State University Choraliers, Charlene Archibeque asked me to come back to work with the group on stage presence. I've been working with choirs ever since, and the results have been extremely rewarding.

When singers connect deeply and specifically to text and music, their faces and bodies are dynamically expressive, their singing is vibrant and nuanced, and
most significantly their connection draws the audience into the heart and soul of the music. Very exciting stuff!
In 2005, I wrote Choral CHARISMA: Singing with Expression. The book's reception has been gratifyingly positive, and has led to my working with wonderful choirs across the country and presenting sessions at conferences nationwide. The website describes this rehearsal and performance process, offering tools that directors and singers can use to broaden the choral experience for all involved. The book provides a much deeper exploration of the concepts and instructional strategies involved.

What I Offer

  • Coaching (Master Classes/Workshops/Clinics): I work with you and your group, provide brief interactive instruction on the basic methods of connection, then dig into the rep, exploring and enjoying what for many is a transformative process. For other goals – such as creating a tighter sense of ensemble, or helping timid singers find their creativity and power – I adjust and adapt.
  • Leadership Mentoring: If you are not as confident as you'd like to be in front of a group, or if you would like your classroom management skills to be stronger, allow me to mentor you. This could be done live, with me observing you in the actual space, or it could be done via email or phone. Observing you with Skype (or a similar program) would also be a possibility.

More About the Coaching

Usually, I will jump right into the rehearsal situation, establish a common vocabulary, then work with the singers on the repertoire (while the director conducts). 

Occasionally, a director wants a more intense "workout" for the singers.

  • Trust Building:  The musicians engage in fun exercises which invite total personal and group commitment.
  • Expression Exploration: After we're on solid ground in terms of the above, the musicians do more extreme  activities designed to get them in touch with their creative process ... and aware of the forces that are currently preventing their full expression. 
  • Movement: Empowering the singers to move makes a huge difference in their expressive capacity; when singers move, they are much more likely to move their audiences.

Coaching Experience

I have worked with many diverse groups and directors, including...

The Choraliers of San Jose State University: Charlene Archibeque
San Ramon Valley High School Concert Choir: Ken Abrams
Indianapolis Children's Choir: Henry Leck
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Varsity Men's Choir:
Peter Eklund
Howell High School A Cappella Choir (Michigan):
Rod Bushey
California State University East Bay Choirs: Buddy James
San Francisco Girls Chorus (Chorissima): Susan McMane
Chelsea High School, Middle School, and Elementary Choirs (Michigan): Steve Hinz
Southern Nazarene University Chorale: D. Brent Ballweg

Spokane Area Children's Chorus (Ensemble Choir): Kristina Ploeger
Western Washington University Concert Choir: Leslie Guelker-Cone
Western Washington University String Class: Staff
Mt. Eden High School Chamber Singers:
Ken Rawdon
Hamburg High School Concert Chorale (New York): Norm Zogaib
Aragon High School Choirs: David Martin
West Valley College Chamber Singers:
Lou De La Rosa
Crystal Children's Choir: Karl Chang & Jenny Chiang
University of Kentucky Choirs: Jeff Johnson, Lori Hetzel, Frank Eychaner, and John Flanery
Fullerton Union High School Academy of the Arts Vocal Ensemble: Scott Hedgecock
Walla Walla High School Choirs (Washington): Norbert Rossi
Camerata Singers: John Koza
Stillwater Junior High School Choirs (Minnesota): Sue Gilsdorf
Liberty High School Choirs: Sue Stuart
UC Berkeley Choral Ensembles: Mark Sumner
Davis Senior High School Choirs: Karen Gardias
Marysville-Pilchuck High School Choirs: Jeff Tillinghast
Vivace Youth Chorus of San Jose: Peggy Spool
Ygnacio Valley High School Choirs: Geoff Carter
San Francisco School of the Arts [High School] Chamber Chorus: Ilan Glasman
Junipero Serra High School Men's Chorus: Jay Jordan
WomenSing: Martin Benvenuto
New Choir: Eileen Chang
San Francisco State University Chamber Choir: Josh Habermann
San Jose State University Chorale: Elena Sharkova
Viva la Musica!: Shulamit Hoffmann
Lexington Singers (Kentucky): Jeff Johnson
Peninsula Women's Chorus: Martin Benvenuto
Ragazzi (Boys Choir): Joyce Keil
Los Altos United Methodist Church Choir: Shulamit Hoffmann
Mount Whitney High School Choirs: Brad Hayashi
Los Gatos High School Women's Choir: Maricel Riley
Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory School Chamber Choir and Jazz Choir
: Drew Lewis

Conventions, Conferences, Clinics, & Workshops

Sweet Adelines' International Educational Symposium 2017 in College Park, Maryland. Sessions included "Introducing the Concepts," "Move the Singers, Move the Audience," "A Singer Prepares," and "The Director's Special." Demo choir was "Harbor City Music Company," directed by Michael Gellert.

KCDA Summer Convention 2013 in Topeka, Kansas. Sessions included "Singing with Expression," "Move the Choir; Move the Audience," and "Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment." Demo choir was "This Generation" from Washburn Rural High School, directed by Adam White

ACDA National Convention 2009 in Oklahoma City, Interest Session: "The Fully Expressive Choir: A State of the Art Approach." Demo
choir was the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Varsity Men's Chorus, directed by Peter Eklund

Retreat clinician for Henry Leck and the Indianapolis Children's Choir, Summer 2011

ACDA Western Regional Convention 2006 in Salt Lake City, Interest Session, "Choral Charisma: Singing with Expression." Demo choir was the Hamilton High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by John Hamilton

2011 Arizona Music Educators Association In-Service Conference, with Clydene Balke and the Apollo High School Vocal Ensemble

Douglas County Honor Chorus clinician (Atlanta 2010), working with directors Sandra Chandler, Lauren Harper, Peggy Killian, and Karl Kuhlken

Michigan Music Conference of 2010, choral headliner presenting these sessions: "Leading the Fully Committed Choir," "Movement & The Singer," "Empowering Singers with Authentic Expression," "Pre-Planning Through Performance," & "Working with the Soloist." Demo choir was the Howell High School A Cappella Choir, directed by Rod Bushey

ICDA Summer Convention 2010. Demo choir was the Linn-Mar "Convention Chorale," directed by Bob Anderson

ACDA-MN Summer Dialogue Conference 2009, Interest  Session
& Dialogue, August 7, 2009. Demo choir was the Detroit Lakes High School Laker Singers, directed by Kathryn Larson

Washington Music Educators Association Conference 2010, presenting two sessions: "From Gum to Glory: Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment," and "Choral Charisma: Leading the Expressive Choir," with the Mount Vernon High School Concert Choir, directed by Megan Lizama

Oklahoma ACDA Convention 2009: Demo choir was the Norman High School Chamber Singers, directed by Darin Chapin

Washington State ACDA Summer Institute, Co-headliner with Charlene Archibeque, July 22, 2009: Demo choir was a fabulous volunteer choir of music educators (I called them the WashingTones), directed by Kristina Ploeger

Cobb County Music Teachers' Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia, August 2006: Melissa Arassi

Choristers Guild of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, August 2006: Carteena Robohm and Joanne Wang

Bay Area Handbell Seminar, September 2006: David Ruder

Columbia Basin (Washington) Music Educators Association Clinic, October 2007: Norbert Rossi, with the Walla Walla High School Chamber Choir and singers from  Richland High School (Greg Fryhling), Kamiakin High School (David Wright), and Pasco High School (Mel Haug) 

I Cantori di Carmel Choral Workshop Series, October 2007: Sal Ferrantelli

Spokane Area Directors' Clinic, July 2008: Kristina Ploeger, with the SACC Ensemble Choir 

Music Association of California Community Colleges State Conference, with the Honor Choir directed by Dr. Iris S. Levine, November, 2008

California Coastal Region ACDA Conference, with the San Francisco State University Chorale, directed by David Xiques, November 2008


University of Kentucky Choral Invitational, October 2005: Jeff Johnson & Lori Hetzel

While 'singing with authentic expression' may be an uncommon focus for a festival clinician, the impact on the many singers at this event was "transformational," according to several directors present.


The standard fee for coaching is
$250/hour + Expenses (travel, food, hotel...), with the fee for presentations and retreats being $1000/day + Expenses.
This includes workshops necessitating national or international travel (I live near San Jose, California). If you can't afford the standard fee, please propose an amount which will work for you; I'd rather find a way to work together than let budgets get in the way.

Contact Info

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss the possibility of my working with you or your group, please email me at tpcarter@earthlink.net. I look forward to it, and am constantly grateful to be able to support so many wonderful people.

And if you haven't done so already, feel free to check out the rest of the website to learn more about the process, and find out what people are saying about the coachings and the book.

Trouble Navigating the Site? 

If you have trouble with the page buttons, try clicking on the "Resources" button (top of page under the quotes), then clicking the other buttons (come up from underneath them with the arrow), and opening the pages from there. OR...


Philosophy & Feedback  
Book & Reviews  
Safety First 
Movement & Warm-Ups 
Director's Face
Strong Program







Copyright © 2007 Tom Carter. All Rights Reserved.

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