Suggestions for Reheasal by Robert Russell,University of Maine,USA

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  • Sing the phrase from end to beginning. This will build your confidence to finish the phrase without losing breath.
  • Sing the piece from end to beginning to build confidence in the conclusion of the piece.
  • At the first rehearsal of a piece, start with that section of the piece that you find most beautiful, most expressive, or most exciting.
  • At concert time the focus must be on expression, not technique. Rehearsal builds vocal (and choral) technique. The singer in concert who focuses on technique risks boring the audience.
  • In developing agility, begin with simple exercises and proceed to more complex.
  • Of the many techniques that I have encountered for singing passagework (the melismas in Handel's Messiah, for example) the one that I like best is a lightly produced [nah]. The ideal, of course, is to sing the passages clearly and on the breath, "like pearls on a string." Amateur singers are often challenged to do so. In my experience rehearsing such passages on [nah] produces clarity without sacrificing vocal health. The [nah] must not be audible to the audience. It is the responsibility of the conductor to coach the chorus as to what is too much and what is not enough. Some singers may be encouraged to sing the passages with [nah] while others may sing the pure vowel.
  • One technique for blending the male voices in a choral setting is to ask the men to sing a descending major scale beginning in falsetto. FIRST ask the women to sing a descending A Major scale, beginning on A=440. THEN ask the men to sing with the women at pitch (men in falsetto). FINALLY ask the men to sing alone. Beginning with the support of the women may encourage the inexperienced tenors and basses to experiment in a vocal range that is unfamiliar to them. Blend and pitch will be mutually supported with this exercise. At the point of vocal passage from falsetto to head voice, add an extra measure of breath, not breath pressure, to ease the transition.
  • If the head voice is the underdeveloped register in males, the chest voice is in females either underdeveloped or used exclusively. For those women who use chest voice exclusively, some commit the Cardinal Choral Sin: singing tenor. Most every choral conductor who has conducted inexperienced or developing choirs has at some point asked women to assist the tenors in singing their part. That is not a crime, because much of the tenor line lies comfortably in the alto range some of the time. The crime is asking, or allowing, women to sing tenor exclusively, developing only the chest voice to the exclusion of the head voice. However, the converse is also true: Some women never use the chest voice and thus lose a powerful vocally expressive part of the voice. Chest voice is a legitimate register, and as long as the voice is not pushed high using exclusively the chest register, it is safe and effective to use this register. All women, sopranos included, should be encouraged to develop ALL of the voice: head and chest registers. The only danger is when chest voice is pushed too high in the range, generally agreed to be a pitch around f'.
  • The technique of "choral roving," assigning singers to move to a different vocal line, has been used effectively to create balance in a choral ensemble. Allowing baritones to sing tenor occasionally, altos to sing tenor occasionally, and sopranos to sing alto occasionally is not only good musical training, it makes for a better choral sound, as long as the voice continues to be used in a healthy manner. I have upon rare occasion moved tenors to baritone and tenors to alto, and, even rarer, altos to soprano. I have never asked basses to sing soprano. J
  • Conducting gesture affects the sound that you get: legato, tenuto, staccato, marcato. If you ask the choir to sing legato, determine that your gesture is not marcato.
  • Train in this order:

  • Tune a single pitch.
    Tune a brief descending scale, sol-do.
    Tune an extended, faster scale.
    Tune a sustained chord.
    Tune a series of chord changes.
    Tune a phrase.
    Tune a song.
You can't sing a song in tune until you sing a phrase in tune. You can't sing a phrase in tune until you can sing a scale in tune. You can't sing a scale in tune until you can sing a pitch in tune. If you feel that the choir is singing with a generally healthy sound and intonation is still a problem, try simplifying the musical demands according to the suggested order above.


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Koir Universiti Teknologi Petronas 2009.

Senada, Seirama, Sejiwa.