Sound good already? Think about joining a chorus as a way to sharpen your musical and vocal skills.
Most choral directors teach at least some vocal technique and usually take time to do warm-up exercises. Choral singing is a terrific opportunity to improve your rhythmic skills, your vocal range, your listening skills, your confidence, and your all-round musicality — it’s a free vocal lesson. You’re bound to learn something new and useful.
In addition, those who have experienced it know that there is nothing quite so magical as singing in a group. Letting go of personal identity in order to aspire to something more grand, we become a small cog in a very large wheel of harmony. When you join a chorus you become part of a fine-tuned, but very large instrument — one with perfection on its mind.
Like me, many of you, grew up singing in these groups: children’s chorus in Sunday school, Glee Club in high school, college chorale, community chorus, adult worship choir. That’s where we encountered music as a discipline as well an art form. A return in that direction might give you not only the opportunity to hone your vocal craft, but the opportunity to meet the challenge of performing solos. You can see how joining a chorus is a great way to learn to sing; it’s like taking free vocal lessons.
In addition to the improvements you will make to your singing voice, your general musicianship will advance. You will be exposed to the symbolic language of music and be forced to sharpen your ears — skills you can carry over to whatever kind of music you might want to sing.
A tip for soprano chorus members: you have the easiest job because sopranos generally sing the melody. If you want to get a free harmony lesson as well as a free vocal lesson try spending some time singing with the alto section.
And there’s more . . . We’re going to assume that because you want to sing you are solo material. Once you have established yourself in the chorus the next step is to try out for the solos. This will give you even more personalized training. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to experience singing in front of an audience — something that is hard to come by for a new singer.
A chorus is a also a great place to meet other like-minded people and begin to develop relationships. It gives you an opportunity to start building a fan base as well. Singers get to spend a lifetime doing self-promotion. You might as well get started now.
There’s a lot to be learned from choral singing. A word of caution, however, if you have a vocal technique that is working for you, filter the choral director’s new ideas through your good sense and take away only that which adds to what you are already doing. Just bear in mind that in choral singing the voice is meant to blend and solo singing the voice is meant to stand out.
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