Caller Training Materials

Article Type Author Last Update Description
Summary Barry Clasper ( 2020-09-07 15:20:43

Newer callers or people wondering what might be involved in learning to call are interested in what kind of educational material might be available. This article summarizes available caller training materials. The KnowledgeBase has many articles that are aimed at providing technical information to callers. The distinction between them and the materials listed here is that this article deals with items particularly aimed at people in the early stages of learning to call.

In the table below you can click on the title to view the material described (in most cases)

Title Description
So You Want To Be a Caller?

Struggling Up The Cliff
The first paper, by Paul Cote who is a verteran caller, explains what is really involved in learning to call from the vantage point of 27 years experience. The second paper by Tom Gray is a report from a newer caller on what he is encountering as he is learning to call.
List of Schools If the papers above haven’t deterred you, here’s a current list of caller schools taught by CALLERLAB members.
Starter Kit for Newer Callers This 3-ring binder of materials was created by the CALLERLAB Caller Training Committee to start new callers on their way. Some caller schools provide it as part of their handout materials, or you can order it from the CALLERLAB Home Office for $25.
Scholarship Information The CALLERLAB Foundation provides funds for scholarships to caller schools. You can get information on how to apply on the linked page.
Mentoring Handbook This handbook was written by the CALLERLAB Caller Training Committee to help callers who are mentoring a protege. However, the information it contains is extremely helpful to newer callers who don’t have access to a mentor in their area.
How To Call This handbook was written by Jim Mayo in 1966 but remains relevant today. The basic principles have not changed!
Modules Modules represent a great entry point into understanding choreography and how dance sequences are constructed. This article points to a long list of materials on the subject.
Sight and Module Resolution Systems This reference document, created by the CALLERLAB Choreographic Applications Committee contains a wealth of information on resolving squares. It can seem overwhelming to beginners, but the introductory chapters contain valuable insights into fundamentals and an introduction to relevant terminology.
Tim Marriner Resource Pages The late Tim Marriner left a library of educational material available online. It contains many papers and handouts on topics relevant to a beginner caller.
Taminations Taminations is an online tool that allows you to view the official definitions of calls along with an animated display of the call action. The website contains a huge repository of square dance information in a searchable form. The CALLERLAB Square Dance Music Producers Committee has provided this website to aggregate their collective music offerings. It includes most of the currently active music producers. It provides a generalized search facility across labels and provides a listing of the most recent releases.
Online Teaching Resource The CALLERLAB Online Teaching Resource provides a huge amount of information on the calls comprising the entry level programs: definitions, teaching tips, sample modules, standard applications, and much more.
CALLERLAB Program Documents Each CALLERLAB program has a number of documents associated with it: call lists, definitions, teaching checklists, standard applications, etc. This article collects them all together.
Books The KnowledgeBase points to a number of published books available for purchase, many of which are aimed at newer callers. The link shows a list of those articles.
Computer Aids The KnowledgeBase points to a number of computer programs designed to assist callers in tasks such as writing choreography, managing and playing music, and using computer numbers.

Square Dance Calling Makes a Comeback in Chicago

Article Type Submitter Date Story Abstract
Winning Ways Story Janice Cha ( 2019-08-27

Square dancing is enjoying a surge of interest from both dancers and callers in the greater Chicago area. Clubs in Glenview, Wilmette, Evanston and Arlington Heights, as well as Chicago’s North Side, will be offering classes for beginners and intermediate dancers starting in September. But without callers to lead classes, this uniquely American dance form would be in danger of extinction. Luckily, Chicago has become one of the leading areas in the country when it comes to the number of square dance callers-in-training.

Read More …

Struggling Up The Cliff (on becoming a caller)

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description

Tom Gray

July 2016

Alberta Chatter Article

This newsletter article from a new caller describes what it’s like trying to learn to call, and what support and resources would be useful to a new caller.

Stages Document from Women In Calling Committee

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document Women In Calling Committee of CALLERLAB, Deborah Carroll-Jones Chairperson July, 2008 “Stages” Document

This document was produced by the Women In Calling Committee to assist and inform women callers regarding issues that are unique to women callers.

Caller Mentoring Guidelines

Article Type Author Publication Date Links Description
Document CALLERLAB Caller Training Committee ( 2013-01-06 Full Document

This document was prepared by the Caller Training Committee to assist those callers who are mentoring newer callers. (See document abstract below)

If you are thinking of becoming a Mentor for a new caller, this booklet is designed to help a more experienced caller to work with a new caller. If a friend wants to learn to call, the experienced caller can just give them a record and help them learn a singing call. However, callers know that there is more to calling than memorizing a singing call. If the experienced caller wants to really help, they need to become a Mentor. This booklet will provide ideas for being a Mentor to a new caller. The committee expects that the Mentor will work with the student caller for a period of time that can be up to two years. The new caller would become more independent over that time, but could consult with the Mentor when needed.

A potential caller may get started by trying a singing call at an amateur night, by teaching square dancing in combination with called recordings, or by developing an interest in choreography. Most often the new/potential caller sings a singing call at a club dance and is encouraged by their dancer friends to continue learning to call. The new caller does not yet have a complete idea of the complexity of calling and needs guidance. As a Mentor, you can provide that help, but may yourself want some guidance. CALLERLAB’s Caller Training Committee hopes that you will be able to use this booklet as a framework.

First, if a new caller has successfully performed one or more singing calls, they should be encouraged to understand the complexities of learning more about calling. A recommended step would be to have the new caller buy the Starter Kit which is available from CALLERLAB at a cost of $25. This kit includes names and pictograms of formations, names and pictograms of arrangements, some definitions of common terms used by callers, the Standard Basic and Mainstreams Handbook, and copies of the call definitions. The information in this kit gives a new caller a sense of how complex calling can be. This kit is an excellent reference tool. You, as a Mentor, will be the person who can help the new caller use this tool.

Each section of this “Mentor’s Guide” talks about important skills or knowledge that a caller should have. There are also homework sheets and suggested exercises that the mentor caller can use to help the new caller.

CALLERLAB’s Caller Training Committee has tried to put the sections in a logical progression, but you may want to vary your approach. The order is not set in stone to be followed exactly. It is designed to be delivered at your discretion so that the student caller can build upon a foundation of knowledge and skills. The student
caller should not rush through the sections, but should take the time to master the skills in each chapter. The mentor needs to be able to advise the student caller that he/she needs more practice in a certain skill, and ask for completed homework that shows the skill is being mastered.

Calling is delivering commands to music with timing so that the dancers can move smoothly to the music and commands without stopping. Because music is so important, our first section is designed to introduce the student caller to music structure and help him/her deliver calls in a way that relates to the music.

Understanding the calls is mandatory to a caller’s delivery of smooth flowing patter. Too often a new caller wants to become a “sight caller” and rushes past needed skills to work on sight resolution. We, the committee members who are writing these guidelines, want to stress that without proper foundation knowledge of what the calls accomplish, a caller cannot become an effective “sight caller”.

Finally, please understand that members of the Caller Training Committee are interested in helping you to mentor a new caller. If you are confused by any of the content, please contact us through the CALLERLAB Home Office at 1-785-783-3665.

Thank you for becoming a Mentor.