Monday, April 17, 2017

Do you need to practice outside choir rehearsals?

Many singers come to choir – especially “singing for fun” groups – to get away from the stresses of regular life. They love to sing and find it a relaxing escape from the daily grind.

singing in car
photo by Aka Hige

But if your choir performs, there comes a time when you need to be “off the book”, know all the lyrics and be totally familiar with your part. Can that all be done within the rehearsal sessions?

all singers have responsibilities

Even if it’s a community choir or a “singing for fun” choir or an informal singing group, all singers have responsibilities (see How to be a good choir member).

These don’t have to be onerous, but do help the group function as well as it can.

One of the best ways of ensuring that your singing group thrives is to Ask not what your choir can do for you – ask what you can do for your choir.

It simply involves an adjustment of your thinking. Rather than going along every week and expecting your choir leader (and committee) to do everything for you, find ways in which you can fully participate. It will give you a feel of ‘ownership’ of the choir and allow you to feel part of a team who are all in it together.

Part of this is to make sure that you are fully prepared when a concert comes up.

do your homework

Some singers are able to pick up the words as they go along and remember their part after going over it a couple of times. But the rest of us are mere human beings!

Which means that it’s very unlikely that you’ll be ready to perform if you don’t do any work outside rehearsals.

An obvious bit of homework is to learn the lyrics of all the songs you’ll be performing.

Don’t just recite them though, sing them along with the melody of your own part – that will anchor them far better. And practice whilst doing a range of different things, not just sitting still and quiet: dusting the house, washing up, cleaning your teeth, driving, etc.

If you are practising your part on your own at home, try to sing it against a recording of the other parts (or get some mates round who sing different parts). You may well nail it on its own, but may crumble as soon as the other parts come in!

You might find this post useful: How to practice a choir song on your own (and a big concert’s coming up).

Other important things to work on are: where you are supposed to be for each song (especially important if there are different choir configurations or you sing different parts); make sure your costume allows you to breathe easily; check that you have everything you need for the performance (water bottle, sheet music, etc.); nail any ‘choralography’ that’s involved.

None of this has to feel like school all over again.

Practice little and often and keep it light and fun, don’t plug away at it for too long. By doing sufficient work on your own you will feel far more comfortable and confident when the performance comes along.

Good luck!

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Chris Rowbury



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Chris Rowbury


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