Monday, May 04, 2020

Discover the joys of singing on your own

Opportunities to sing with others, especially in harmony, are very rare when you’re confined to your house.

This could be a chance to discover the joys of singing on your own.

Like many of you I love singing in harmony. It’s something I’m really missing at the moment. But it’s just not possible unless you have some singers in your house during lockdown.

Many singers are going online, but as you’ve probably discovered, it will just be you singing whilst listening to a recording or the leader singing. Everyone else will be muted.

This can be a scary proposition.

Singers in choirs are used to being surrounded by other voices singing the same part. Under-confident singers can disappear into the mix.

But singing online means it’s jut you in a room by yourself (usually).

This can be great because it means you have total responsibility for getting your part right. There is nobody to hide behind. It can be an opportunity to find out whether you’ve been singing your part correctly all this time.

But some singers will find this off-putting. You might be worried about your housemates overhearing you. You might not like the sound of your own voice. You might find it a struggle to learn a new part without other singers around you.

It might put you on the spot, but there can be many advantages to singing on your own.

Here are some ways in which singing on your own can be liberating. You can either sing alone with just your voice, or sing along to a recording. or join in with an online session (where you’re on mute) or even sing along to an instrument (if you play one).

  • sing like nobody is listening – because they’re probably not! Make sure your housemates are out or you go somewhere where you feel safe and not overheard. Then sing as loudly or raucously or quietly or sweetly as you like. Nobody is there to judge you, nobody is there to make sure you get it ‘right’.
  • experiment with your voice – since you don’t have the rest of the choir to fit in with, you can play with your voice. Try different vocal qualities, different ranges, funny faces, strange accents. Put on weird cartoon voices in the shower. Who knows what you might discover?
  • improve your confidence – just singing along with another harmony part by yourself (even if it’s scary and difficult at first) will do wonders for your confidence. Singing by yourself is a bit like when you first hear a recording of your voice or see yourself on video – it takes a while to get used to it. But the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. When you go back to choir you will find that your confidence as a singer has grown.
  • make up your own harmonies – again, because you have no other singers to fit in with, you can create your own harmonies. Don’t stick with just the part you know. See if you can find a line that fits above (or below) the tune. Have fun!
  • nail your own part – if you do want to work on choir material, singing on your own allows you to really practice your own part. There is nobody else there to get bored with the repetitions. You can take your time and work at your own pace.
  • be the soloist – you may have never had the courage to put yourself forward for solos in your choir, but now’s the chance! Dig out a choir recording of a song you love and sing the solo part over it. Find your inner diva.
I’d love to hear about your own experiences of singing by yourself and how it is different from singing in a choir.

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Chris Rowbury




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