The Revival Of Choir Singing In Britain
Whenever I speak about the benefits of singing for health many people take Gareth Malone into the conversation. He’s definitely made a huge impact on people in Britain and helped to revive singing for fun, health and happiness. Kudos to him – because people need encouragement and inspiration to take the first steps and start enjoying the benefits of singing.
The Traditional Style Of Choirs
I have been a member of seven choirs and though I just loved the experience of it there were some considerable problems regarding singing there. Take these things into account before you join a choir:
1) choir members have different levels of experience, ability and talent
2) many choral singers have developed long-life habits of singing that aren’t beneficial for them or the choir as a whole
3) many choral singers don’t have the time and discipline to practice at home
4) you cannot hear yourself properly when you sing in a group
5) traditional vocal exercises used during the choral warm-ups do not help you or guarantee healthy way of singing
6) a choir conductor might be a great musician but might not be willing to put a lot of energy into developing the voices of the members
7) choir singing is great if the songs, the style and environment suits your personality and voice
As It Is In Heaven
Singing can change peoples’ lives. It is truly transformational. The Swedish director Key Pollak showed in his film As It Is Heaven how singing, based on authentic expression, can open people’s hearts. However, change is something that some people welcome while other people resist. See the trailer:
The greatest benefit of singing in a group or a choir is the experience of Unity through music and the vibrations of all the voices. It’s something that cannot be measured or reasoned about. It just IS. Find the type of choir that suits you and you will experience it. That’s my wish for everybody.
The Prague Lady Teachers Choir
I coached the Prague ladies for a year. I worked with small groups as well as participating in the choir rehearsals. The weakest point of their singing was the tendency of “falling flat” on certain tones. I was asked to help them with that. I took them through the basics to help them improve breathing and resonance. Finally, we discovered that the lack of overtones (=poor resonance), insufficient breath support and change of register (the voice break)- all together caused the “flat” intonation on specific tones and vowels. The situation has improved since that, plus the motivation and enjoyment have grown. I love the overall sound of the choir very much and appreciate their ability to express emotions as well as pronouncing the words so clearly! Here’s a little taste of how they sing and how I coach them: