Just as it is important to hone your tone and sing with your best voice as an individual. A singing group must also sing with it’s best voice. achieving that one voice sound can be a challenge for duets and choirs alike. I have helped countless groups do just that and I continue to do so every week. I’d like to share with you a 6 step exercise that I have found to be effective in making singers mindful of what it means to sing with one voice, and then own that skill through practical application.
Singing in a Circle – With Styles
Becoming Mindful of One Voice
- Give up individuality, in favor of becoming many-singers-with-one-sound.
- Do some general warm ups, standing backed up against a wall to remind you of upright, aligned posture.
- Move into a circle (limit circles to no more than 8–10) and hold hands and continue to warm up.
- Keeping the circle, turn and face away from each other. Join hands again and continue to warm up, this time having to listen much harder.
Getting Practical With One Voice
- Choose music with four different leaders and teams singing in four different styles including traditional, contemporary, gospel and pop. Still in a circle holding hands and facing each other, work on matching and blending with group’s style and voice quality.
- Now, quickly move randomly from track to track requiring the singers to listen, adjust and yield to that singer and each other. Your group will quickly start to own your new skills of listening and flexibility.
Keep Working at It
Using this exercise, I have seen large groups with singer from different backgrounds and ranged in age from 25 to 66 quickly begin to have a single sound just by being “in touch” and listening. It is a wonderful thing to see and hear as singers give up their unique sounds and yield to a common sound.
If you use this exercise with your group, encourage your singers to practice these flexibility and blending skills on their own, then bring those skills to the next class, rehearsal or service. The same principles work for choirs, choruses, bands, duos, trios, quartets etc.
Remember: Practice Makes Permanent, and Muscles Have Memory. Practice and memorize the right skills and you’ll own them.
Vocal Coach Tools to Help
I developed a few audio training materials to help groups achieve one voice. Vocal Coach Blend is a teaching CD that lays a foundation of blending skills. Then our 2 Ultimate Choir Warm-Up CDs are great for practicing your blending skill alone or with your group. These 3 CDs are included in our Vocal Coach Blend Series along with a fun style exercise CD.
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