Monday, February 27, 2023

You can never be too humble to go back to basics

As singers and choir leaders we grow and develop skills over time. We leave behind us things we consider to be only for beginners.

But no matter how elementary something is, we can always learn something new by revisiting it.

Experienced pianists still do their scales. Professional opera singers do simple vocalises as warm ups. Celebrated artists often keep up a daily life drawing practice.

However experienced or talented or professional we think we’ve become, it’s important to be humble and go back to basics from time to time.

Although something might seem simple and for beginners only, if we revisit it, we do so as different people with a different set of skills.

We will notice different, more subtle elements. We might realise how hard it is to get it right (whereas a beginner might just blunder through, eager to get onto the next thing).

Get your choir to sing in unison (see Sing something simple (and see if your singing is as good as you think it is). Try a simple song and focus on elements like blend, tuning, timing, dynamics, etc.

As a singer you might decide to take a few singing lessons. Or practice simple scales but noticing tensions, inaccuracies, vocal tone, etc.

Choir leaders might go on a conducting course, approaching it as if they are new to the game. Or stand in for a colleague and take a rehearsal of a complete beginners’ choir.

What might you do to go back to basics?


Chris Rowbury


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