Harmonizing Voices: Techniques for Ensemble Vocal Rehearsals

Harmonizing Voices: Techniques for Ensemble Vocal Rehearsals

The Power of Silence: Singing Without Using Your Voice

Ah, the joys of being a performing artist – the bright lights, the thunderous applause, the…sore throat? Yes, my friends, even the most seasoned vocalists can fall victim to the dreaded bug that plagues us all. Just recently, I found myself in a bit of a predicament.

I had a whole weekend of singing gigs lined up, but my voice was feeling a bit under the weather. What’s a singer to do? Well, thanks to the brilliant insights I gleaned from Chris Rowbury’s blog post, I discovered the power of “silent singing” – the secret weapon for vocalists in need of a little TLC.

The key, Rowbury explains, is to “sing along silently but in your head and moving your mouth very slightly to match the vowel sounds.” It’s almost as good as practicing out loud, but without the strain on your delicate vocal cords. As Rowbury so eloquently puts it, “It might sound mad, but it’s a really good rehearsal technique when you’re on your own.”

I decided to give this technique a try, and let me tell you, it was a game-changer. Not only did it allow me to rehearse the arrangements without taxing my voice, but it also helped me stay in the musical zone, even when my body wasn’t cooperating. It was like my own personal vocal workout, but without the sweat (or the sore throat).

And the best part? Rowbury’s research suggests that “there is some evidence that imagining doing physical exercises can be almost as good as doing them in reality. The same goes for singing.” So in a way, I was getting the best of both worlds – the mental and physical benefits of rehearsing, without the physical toll.

Of course, as Rowbury wisely advises, the first step when dealing with any kind of bug is to rest and recover. But when the show must go on and your voice isn’t cooperating, silent singing is the way to go. It’s the vocal equivalent of a gentle yoga session – soothing, strengthening, and sure to leave you feeling refreshed and ready to hit the stage.

Humming: The Swiss Army Knife of Vocal Warmups

As a vocal coach and ensemble director, I’ve seen my fair share of pre-performance rituals. From elaborate vocal warmups to superstitious good-luck charms, the performing arts world is filled with quirky traditions. But one technique that never fails to impress me is the humble hum.

In a delightful blog post, Liz Garnett eloquently explores the many uses of humming in the world of choral singing and vocal training. And let me tell you, this unassuming little sound packs a powerful punch.

Garnett’s insights come straight from the classrooms of the BinG Harmony College, where she’s had the pleasure of working with a diverse array of vocalists. As she explains, humming can be a “nice gentle and safe way to start phonation and get the voice moving” during a warmup. But its benefits go far beyond just getting the vocal cords warmed up.

One of Garnett’s favorite ways to utilize humming is as a listening exercise. She describes a calming and collaborative activity where the ensemble members simply hum, “breathing as we needed to.” The purpose, she says, is to “open up our ears and help us connect to each other through sound, to counteract the tendency for adrenaline to focus perception and isolate members of an ensemble from one another.”

I’ve tried this exercise with my own choirs, and the results are nothing short of magical. There’s something about the collective hum that seems to ground the ensemble, synchronizing our breath and our attention in a way that heightens our musical connection. It’s like a musical meditation, preparing us both physically and mentally for the performance ahead.

But Garnett doesn’t stop there. She also suggests using humming as a way to “park your preparation” between the warmup and the performance. By humming quietly to yourself, you can “keep the happy hormones of the rest-digest system circulating through you” and maintain that focused, ready-to-sing state of mind.

It’s like having a purring cat to stroke, she says, but without the pesky hairballs. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good purr-worthy pre-show ritual?

The beauty of humming, as Garnett so eloquently conveys, is that it’s accessible to singers of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a nervous newbie, this simple technique can work wonders for your voice, your ears, and your ensemble. So the next time you’re feeling the pre-show jitters, don’t reach for the throat lozenges – reach for that inner hum, and let it carry you to vocal greatness.

The Importance of Vocal Training: Unlocking Your True Potential

As performers, we often find ourselves caught up in the whirlwind of rehearsals, gigs, and the constant pursuit of perfection. But amidst the chaos, it’s easy to forget the importance of one crucial element: vocal training.

In a thought-provoking blog post, Chris Rowbury reminds us of the vital role that voice training plays in the life of a singer. And as the director of the https://www.musicaltheatercenter.org/, I couldn’t agree more.

You see, vocal training isn’t just about hitting the right notes or perfecting your vibrato. It’s about unlocking your true potential as a performer, and helping you to develop a healthy, sustainable vocal technique that will serve you for years to come.

Think of it this way: our voices are like fine-tuned instruments, and just like a guitar or a piano, they require regular maintenance and care to keep them in top shape. Without proper training and technique, we run the risk of vocal strain, fatigue, and even permanent damage.

But the benefits of vocal training go far beyond just physical health. As Rowbury so eloquently puts it, “Voice training isn’t just about the voice – it’s about the whole person.” By focusing on things like breath support, resonance, and expression, we develop a deeper understanding of our own bodies and how they work in service of our art.

And let’s not forget the confidence boost that comes with knowing you’ve got the technical chops to back up your performance. When you trust in your vocal technique, you can let go of the fear and self-doubt that can so often hold us back, and instead channel that energy into a truly captivating and authentic performance.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: “But I’m already a seasoned performer! Do I really need to bother with all this voice training stuff?” And to that, I say, emphatically: yes, yes, and yes!

Even the most seasoned pros can benefit from ongoing vocal training. It’s like having a personal trainer for your voice – someone to help you identify and address those niggling little issues, and push you to reach new heights of vocal prowess.

So if you’re serious about taking your musical theater performance to the next level, I encourage you to make vocal training a priority. Whether it’s working with a private coach, attending workshops and masterclasses, or even just incorporating some simple vocal warmups into your daily routine, the investment will pay off tenfold.

After all, our voices are the very foundation of our art. And by nurturing and strengthening that foundation, we unlock the power to truly captivate our audiences and leave a lasting impression. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start harmonizing those voices!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top