Choral Teaching

Some groups need a more comprehensive program than what is offered in Choral Coaching. For those groups, we recommend a program of Choral Teaching.

As with Choral Coaching, it is important to note that SingIsrael is not a replacement for your conductor. We are the "outside eyes and ears" of your conductor and we work closely with your conductor, to insure that each session we spend with you focuses on developing – and reinforcing – the skills necessary for a great performance.

SingIsrael's Choral Teaching is structured in four main categories: Vocal Techniques, Musicianship, Stage Presence, and Choreography. We work with your group on each of these categories to help your group learn the fundamentals of good singing and good performing. Here is an outline of each category, and what we work on in each of the four areas.

Vocal Techniques

The term Vocal Techniques includes all aspects of the art of singing. In our teaching, our training, and our coaching, we focus on the skills and techniques used in a cappella (unaccompanied) singing as the basis for nearly all vocal techniques work. The logic behind our thinking is: "A good a cappella singer can sing any type of music well." Therefore, we work with a group on the following areas:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Breath support
  • Breath management
  • Effective use of vocal resonators
  • Developing a clear, open, "warm" vocal sound
  • Avoiding vocal tension
  • Developing "Unit Sound"
  • Target vowels
  • Vowel migration/modification
  • Tone and voice placement

As mentioned above, each group's needs are different, so we work with a group's conductor to determine the overall technical ability of the group and to prioritize the needs of the group. As the needs are prioritized, effective exercises are introduced to aid in development or correction of each of the above areas, always with an emphasis on creating a rich, resonant, freely produced vocal sound.

Musicianship

Another word for Musicianship might be "artistry." As part of our choral development program, we help improve the musical artistry of each singer individually, as well as of the group as a whole. We help each singer understand the importance of singing well to the overall sound of the group. We also work to improve overall Musicianship by introducing various concepts:

  • How to eliminate "choppy" singing
  • Handling ascending and descending intervals as a tuning aid
  • Vowel migration to "lock in" Unit Sound
  • Effective use of the "singer's breath"
  • What is "forward motion" and why is it important?
  • Aural interpretation, and developing "mood" within a song
  • The use of vocal "color" as an interpretative device
  • The importance of the "inner smile"
  • Focusing of tone

Beyond this, we explain why each of these techniques is so important to good vocal performance. We strongly believe that it is not enough just to correct a problem or difficulty, but that if the singers understand why a correction is so important, they will desire – and be able – to transfer that correction throughout all pieces of the repertoire.

Stage presence

Of course, a good choral performance requires more from a group's singers than just singing well. A good singer also knows how to effectively use his/her body during performance to help express the mood and believability of the performance. This simple act of how to present oneself on stage during performance is called Stage Presence.

Proper use and understanding of Stage Presence involves an innate understanding of how to use the body as an interpretive aid to the music being sung. Stage Presence however, does not mean "moving about" on stage. That is choreography, something not all groups use in their performance, and it will be discussed in the next section. Stage Presence is used by all performers, however. It is the concept of physically "feeling comfortable" during performance, and integrates posture, stance, and attitude to help present a believable performance. Areas covered in this section include:

  • "Reference Position"
  • "Down The Tiles"
  • "Press" and "Release"
  • Facial expression
  • Body complement
  • Visual focus

As with Vocal Techniques, Stage Presence is a skill set built upon fundamentals. Elements of Stage Presence are introduced to a group early in the education program implementation, so that these skills become integrated into the performance, as do basics like proper breathing.

Choreography

The final element of a choral development program is Choreography. Let's get one thing straight – Choreography does not mean dancing! Choreography is planned and executed stage movements that accompany a singing performance. It can include any type of movement by the singers; therefore, we like to introduce the basics of stage movement to all groups, if possible. We understand that some groups don't like or use Choreography, but we believe some of that comes from being afraid to try movement. We try to introduce movement in a fun and easy way; a way to help you "visually interpret" the song. This "visual interpretation" can often help the performer present a more meaningful and believable performance. It also makes any performance more interesting for those watching and listening in the audience.

Areas covered in Choreography include:

  • The "four dimensions"
  • Leg movements - Basic steps ("Heel-toe," "Crossover," "Taps," "Touches," and "Kicks," "Traveling")
  • Hand Movements ("Swipes" and "Passes," Finger/hand points)
  • Body complement, "Presses" and "Releases"
  • Turns
  • Use of height differentiation
  • Integrating leg movements, hand movements, and body complement

What does it cost?

The cost depends on three factors:

  • How often does your group want a teaching session? This is a decision each group must answer for itself, but we recommend at least 4 sessions, with each session being scheduled approximately 4 weeks apart.
  • Does your group want a solo or joint session? You can choose to have either Alex or Patrick come to your session alone (a solo session) or you can have both of us come (a joint session), which will cost a little more.
  • Where is your group located? In addition to the session cost, there is a cost for the time and expense that it takes for us to reach you. If you work near us, this cost is lower than if you work far away.

After we've had a chance to talk over your needs, we will provide a detailed proposal outlining all the costs and expenses. To discuss your needs, please contact us.

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