We want to hear from you!

BYU-Idaho values suggestions and ideas that can improve the university.
Use our Feedback Form to let us know what you think.

Brigham Young University Logo

Class Information

Below are the date, time, location, and outline for this class.

Called and Clueless: Helps for Members with Music Callings

Taught by Michelle Willis


Day Time Location
Friday, August 2 2 p.m. Taylor 276
Michelle Willis

Michelle Willis


Michelle Willis graduated from Ricks College with an Associate’s Degree in Arts and Sciences. She also earned her B.A in Choral Music Education from Boise State University.

Willis worked as a music/arts member of the Herriman Arts Council for seven years. In 2008, she founded the Herriman Community Orchestra, in which she serves as conductor. She enjoys working as an educational composer for the Utah Opera, where she helps school-aged children create their own operas. Willis has conducted extensive personal research into mental illness, as she and two of her children have the disease, and she is certified as a panel member for NAMI'S "Parents and Teachers as Allies" program and "Hope for Tomorrow."

Willis met her husband, Spencer, at Ricks College in 1995. Her husband, a member of the Tabernacle Choir, also shares a passion for music. They have four children ranging in age from five to thirteen: Melody, Adam, Kira and Bethany. Willis loves to spend time in nature and listen to birds and streams. She loves animals, composing and performing music, reading, and finding reasons to laugh.

Class Outline

Many members accept callings to serve musically in their ward or stake without feeling they have sufficient skills in conducting, musical preparation, and/or rehearsal techniques.  This course provides immediate help with those skills in a fun and approachable ways to help members return to their music callings with confidence.

Learning Objectives:

  1. In the LDS Hymnbook and Children's Songbook, members are presented with numerous time signatures. We will look at all of them and learn how to confidently conduct each type (Simple Meters: 2/4, 4/4, 2/2 and Compound Meters: 3/4, 6/8, 9/8,12/8)
  2. Music is made of "sentences." We will learn how to start and end each musical "sentence" with proper entrances and cutoffs using breath, body, and proper hand gestures.
  3. Hang on! What do we do with those fermatas? We will study how to interpret and conduct different types of fermatas.
  4. To baton or not to baton? That is the question. Find out when is the right time to use a baton and how to make it an effective tool for you.
  5. How to bridge the gap between music director and accompanist/organist. What needs to be communicated? Who is in charge of tempos, dynamics, and fermatas?
  6. Tempos have a great deal to do with our congregation's involvement and comfort ability. We will learn how to choose what's best for our ward at large.
  7. Life-saving tips for novice organists: what you need to know so you can sound like a pro when you're scared to death to even try it.
  8. We will discuss how to prepare personally for conducting in public, working with choirs, and working with primary-aged youth. You will come to know what it is you want from the music and the singers.
  9. There are some great ways to get the most out of your ward choir or primary youth. Some effective rehearsal tips are the key to opening great musical growth in your ward.