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Thread: Methods used in choral teaching

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    Default Methods used in choral teaching

    I've watched a video about conducting entitled "Making Music Alive". I really admire the conductor Lloyd Faustch who is being featured in the video. Presented are the 3 methods that are used in choral teaching which he called 3 keystones: Warm-up, Breathing and Diction. I am thinking if there can be additional methods used aside from the three. Please shed light on this.
    I was also struck about his statement that the choir members tend to imitate the voice of the conductor. It is rather dangerous to do it because they don't actually understand how the conductor uses his voice in terms of technique. I have made my own comments about it and would be glad to hear some comments from you too.Thank you.

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    Personally I would not suggest to try and get the singers to copy/imitate the conductors voice. As a singer my self I like when the conductors makes us (choristers) read the poetry and then from the text create our own idea of what voice sounds we want as a choir. For example you don't want to imitate a conductor who is a trained operatic singer when you are conducting a piece by say Morten Lauridsen or Eric Whitacre. You might want that style if you are singing the classic Ave Maria? perhaps. other advice would be to make the singers love the song, if they (we) don't like it we wont sing it as good as we can or could. Hope this helps?

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    My training as a choral singer helped me to solve the "enigma" in the Enigma Variations of Edward Elgar. His "Variations on an Original Theme" was presented in 1899 with notes stating that there was an "enigma" within. It had not been solved for over 110 years until some vocal training in my engineers brain clicked on his enigma solution. Enigma Variations, as it is usually know, was about Elgar's circle of friends. I considered what might be mathematical about it because I have always believed that "music is mathematics made audible." Circle of friends could relate to a circle. Every circle has a constant, Pi, which is usually approximated by 3.142. My vocal training sometimes included singing the conventional do re mi fa etc., but sometimes we varied it by singing 1 2 3 4 etc. When one vocalizes 3-1-4-2 in that manner, the first four notes of the enigma theme are heard! Further research uncovered fractional Pi also hidden in the first 4 bars. This music was written by a man who was an ardent "puzzler" in the year after the humorous Indiana Pi Bill of 1897 which attempted to legislate the value of Pi. After 30 years of no one solving the enigma, Elgar gave three more sentences which contain multiple hints directed at fractional Pi. Great fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by music20 View Post
    I've watched a video about conducting entitled "Making Music Alive". I really admire the conductor Lloyd Faustch who is being featured in the video. Presented are the 3 methods that are used in choral teaching which he called 3 keystones: Warm-up, Breathing and Diction. I am thinking if there can be additional methods used aside from the three. Please shed light on this.
    I was also struck about his statement that the choir members tend to imitate the voice of the conductor. It is rather dangerous to do it because they don't actually understand how the conductor uses his voice in terms of technique. I have made my own comments about it and would be glad to hear some comments from you too.Thank you.
    There are several really great warm up techniques for chorale Ensembles, when I was in college my chorale conductor in order to build proper placement would do several vocal exercises such as an exercise called Hello!!!!!!!!!! In this vocal warm up the students would start in the middle register saying an over emphasized hello and going on an arpeggio and making the arpeggio turn back down to the middle register, by doing this placement is naturally set up and diction is easier as well as better use of breathing is developed from this warm up-it won't sound pretty and it isn't supposed too. In this warm up start out at the middle register working down the scale below middle C first and then ascending the scale above middle C.

    Then there is a series of rounds called:Rose, Rose which is sung A Capella this is also another warm up technique for build pitch skills, breath control, diction and proper placement. Here are the words for Rose, Rose:

    Rose, Rose will I ever see thee wed
    I will marry at thy will sire, at thy will.

    Repeat in rounds.

    The other really great skill building warm up are known as Vaccai and Bel Canto

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