It's Time To Practice, Pitches!
If you've ever been in one – or directed one – you know a choir is a totally different animal than, say...band.
I compare it to driving a bus – it can be slow to respond and sometimes ungainly but it does arrive at its destination – usually. Provided, of course, it didn't crash somewhere along the way.
The biggest issue facing choirs, in my experience, comes down to practice. But with so many moving parts, how can that be made easier?
Unless you’re dealing with a professional choir at the top of their game, you’ve undoubtedly noticed harmonies are often a major obstacle. One Alto gets confused by hearing the Soprano line and the whole section is suddenly blissfully unaware that they’re actually singing the wrong melody. And who can blame them? It’s hard to stick to your note when someone else is singing something totally different in your ear. This is not to mention that fact that the accompaniment may be totally different from the rest of the music, creating further confusion.
One solid answer to this is to encourage students to learn their parts individually - memorize them so well that they can sing it in their sleep. Although seemingly a simple solution on its face, there are quite a lot of pitfalls. For starters, overworked choir directors often have limited time - often barely enough to handle the already scheduled practices, let alone more focused time on specific sections.
Second, the student might not know another instrument and be able to accompany themselves to learn the notes. Even if they are, this takes a good bit of motivation and let’s face it - students are already pretty busy.
So what’s the answer?
Simple: Individual tracks for each part. Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass. This way, students can really drill down into their own parts and learn them cold. Taking it a step further, consider adding a track with all the other parts - including accompaniment. If they practice with this as well, they won’t get overwhelmed when they’re finally singing with a full choir.
And what if the music notation happens to be in the wrong key, or somewhere along the line you decide it sounds better half a step down? Fortunately, there’s a solution to that too.
Musico has a feature that not only lets you lay out tracks for your students simply and easily, it also includes a key change feature and even tempo adjustment. And there’s an online practice diary built in so you can see who’s slacking and who’s doing the work.
This helps students to hold themselves accountable as well…
Imagine everyone knowing their parts and staying on key - a choir director’s dream. With a little bit of ingenuity and planning, you can take your choir from meh to amazing in no time!
For a fun example of how this can work for you, click HERE or on the image below to have a free Musico lesson plan sent to your Messenger inbox!