There have been two articles in the UK national press this week, one bemoaning the fact that we don’t sing Christmas carols together as much as we used to, and the other celebrating the thriving culture of pub Christmas carols in Yorkshire.
The truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. Let’s look at the evidence.
But what exactly is the ‘natural voice’ and how do choirs run on ‘natural voice’ principles differ from other choirs? You’re in luck! Caroline Bithell has just written an amazing book that answers all your questions. Let’s look at what’s in it.
Some teachers find themselves having to lead singing sessions at their school, but don’t have that much experience of using songs from the world music repertoire (‘world songs’) or of teaching songs by ear.
Here is a short guide to using world songs in the classroom with some handy references to warms ups, song sources, and how to lead choirs.
Some choirs and singing groups meet frequently, often once a week, requiring a high level of commitment. Others meet less frequently and work on a drop-in basis with no requirement to attend every session.
You work on a song in choir week after week, but slowly things seem to get worse. You worry about getting the words right, you can’t seem to remember the second part of the melody, your voice stops hitting the high notes.
A while back I went to a singing workshop led by an internationally acclaimed workshop leader. I was very disappointed at the lack of teaching skills on display. But in the end the sound we made was amazing.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a guide to help you take your first few steps as a new singer in an established choir. Next week I’ll be writing a guide for choir leaders and choir committees on how to ease new members into established choirs.
The fact is that pretty much anyone can lead a choir. Some do it better than others and some do it worse, but it’s not rocket science. However, your particular choir leader is special and brings something unique to your choir.
That special something can’t be copied or franchised. Choirs are all about the people in them – including their leader. I’ll show you some lessons that can be learnt from this, whether you’re a singer or a choir leader (or a business opportunist!).