Monday, April 14, 2014

Can open-access choirs cater for every kind of singer?

As a member of the Natural Voice Practitioners’ Network I share their belief that everybody can sing and nobody should be excluded from music-making. Which is why no ‘natural voice’ choirs hold auditions or use unnecessary musical jargon.

odd one out
adapted from a photo by Brian Robert Marshall

But can such open-access choirs ever be truly inclusive? I don’t believe they can and I think we need to be clear about that when promoting our work.

Monday, April 07, 2014

How to choose soloists in your choir: audition or self-selection?

Rather than everyone singing all the time, many choirs ring the changes by creating smaller ensembles within the larger choir or have occasional solos.

choir solo
photo by Shelly Mags

In a non-auditioned, open-access choir, what is the fairest way to choose singers to take on these roles?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Singing in a choir – balancing individual freedom with the demands of the team

Those of us who love to sing often love to sing at the top of our voices. It’s joyous!


But when you’re part of a choir you have to rein in those tendencies for the greater good of the overall sound. How do you achieve that balance without feeling restricted?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Process vs. product: are you along for the singing ride or just the final performance?

Learning and polishing a song can be a long process. Some people find it a chore and can’t wait to get to the end result: a public performance.

ABBA, Brussells May 09 (1)

But others enjoy the ride, going deeper into the song, finding the nuances, becoming immersed in the whole process and not having any particular end in sight. However, process and product don’t have to be different things.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Never tell someone they can’t sing – it is brutal, damaging and untrue

Most of the people who come to my singing workshops are in their 50s and pretty much all of them have a story to tell about the time someone told them they couldn’t sing.

photo by TrueDragon13

Many of the stories date back to the time when they were at primary or even infant school. What amazing power a throwaway remark like “Just stand at the back and mime” can have!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Helping singers learn to hold a harmony part on their own

If you’re in a choir you’ll be used to singing your harmony part surrounded by others singing the same thing. But it seems much harder to hold a part by yourself when you’re in a small group.

birds singing
photo by Eric Kilby

In this post I’ll show you how easy it is, how it’s your own head that gets in the way, and I’ll also outline a process that your choir can use to help train singers to hold a part on their own.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

What’s the opposite of a “Singing for fun” choir?

Certain people are rather dismissive of “Singing for fun” choirs. If it’s for fun then it can’t possibly be of any quality.


Then I got to wondering: what are their choirs like? What’s the opposite of “Singing for fun”? — “Singing for boredom”? “Singing for misery”? I know which choir I’d rather be in!