This time of year, many of us are preparing our ensembles for final concerts, major works, cantatas, high worship events and more! Our rehearsal time is limited, so there isn’t time for a complete overhaul of our ensemble’s sound. However, there are a few quick tune-ups we can make to improve our choir’s sound right away. Here are five things choral directors can do to procure that once last ounce of improvement in their ensemble’s sound:
REFINED POSTURE: I see so many ensembles with their faces buried in the score. Re-establishing good singing posture is an easy fix that pays immediate dividends.
- Head - Aligned and level
- Shoulders - up, back and down
- Chest – raised and fully open
- Arms – hanging freely
- Knees – free to move
- Feet – shoulder-width apart, one slightly forward
RAISED SOFT PALATE: Reminding singers to slightly raise the soft palate during singing immediately adds warmth and beauty to most choral tone. Continue working to change the mind’s ear to no longer accept shallow and horizontal tones.
VOWEL UNIFORMITY: This may be the single most effective way to impact the power and beauty of your ensemble right away. Work carefully through vocalises and sections of repertoire, ensuring singers are shaping and maintaining proper vowel shapes. The most common mistake is the morphing of vowel shapes on sustained note values.
SYNCHRONIZED ENTRANCES AND RELEASES: The mixing of voiced and unvoiced consonant sounds creates confusion and dissonance in choral fabric. Spend time teaching and reteaching proper pronunciation and enunciation. The most common problems occur confusing d’s with t’s and s’s with z’s. For attacks, remember, breathe together = sing together.
SUSTAINED SUPPORT: The loss of intensity during a phrase usually occurs due to deficient air intake and poor air economy. Work with singers to re-establish proper principles for inhalation and air economy. You will see immediate results as you head into the home stretch leading to your special performance.