Monday, December 03, 2018

The hardest thing about going to choir is leaving the house!

Humans – dontcha just love ’em?! They say they really want to do something, then they don’t turn up.

fireside

What is that about? How come it’s so hard to leave the house when it’s choir time?

Monday, November 26, 2018

Singers, don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it’s the only way to learn

Many singers hold back because they’re afraid of getting it wrong.

wrong way

But if you never make mistakes, you’ll never learn what getting it right is.

Monday, November 19, 2018

What to do if you think someone in your part is singing it ‘wrong’?

There are times when you hear someone in your part singing something different from you. Especially when you are learning a new song.

odd_one_out
photo by Peter O'Connor

What’s the best thing to do in this situation? Let’s look at some of the options.

Monday, November 12, 2018

How to work with a mixed group of music readers and non-readers

I always teach songs by ear. As a member of the Natural Voice Network, our ethos is to make singing accessible to as many people as possible. This means we never assume any prior musical experience or knowledge.

Handel and Haydn society 1893

But, sometimes there are music-readers in my singing groups who ask for the sheet music. How can you accommodate these demands whilst keeping the work accessible to everyone?

Monday, November 05, 2018

Why do I sound much lower (or higher) than the person next to me when singing the same part?

In choral singing, you often hear the term blend. Much attention is given to the shape of vowel sounds to help achieve blend.

John_Raitt_Rosemary_Clooney

However, the timbre of voice is perhaps even more important than vowel sounds. Why do two singers sound so different when singing the same thing?

Monday, October 29, 2018

How to find the balance between easy and challenging songs in a drop-in singing group

A drop-in singing group is exactly what it sounds like: singers don’t need to make a regular commitment, but can drop in any time they want to.

handout A5 PORTRAIT FRONT

I’ve written about before the pros and cons of these kind of groups. But here is what I’ve learnt from leading a monthly drop-in group for the last few years.

Monday, October 22, 2018

How to cope with too many male singers (a rare and unusual problem!)

It’s very common for choirs to be short of men. Most of my singing workshops attract far fewer men than women.

Mixed choir

But sometimes – very occasionally – loads of men turn up unexpectedly. Which can be a problem too. Here are some ideas for what to do.