To help a fledgling (but able) choir learn repertoire
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 157
    Original post: I am acquiescing to my choir's request of recorded parts with which to practice. Previous directors have done this. My goal is to provide recordings of my playing while singing each part, or my playing and laying an instrument over each part. However, I am spending so. much. time. doing even a few songs, and am simply using my cell phone to record. I'm thinking there has to be a simpler way. Beside ChoralTracks (which we cannot afford currently), has anyone found an effective way to record practice tracks for their choir?

    OR... maybe I am asking the wrong questions.
    What process have you found helpful for an able but fledgling choir to learn new repertoire? So much of our rehearsal is going over each part, then going over the tenor's part another 2 or 3 times. Morale is low among some of the better (strong sight readers) singers. (Idea for myself for development as a director are welcome, as well!) Thank you for your ideas

    The pieces we are learning/ will learn through the end of the choir year are below:

    Ave Maria (Caccini)
    Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
    God So Loved the World (Goemanne)
    Jesu! Rex Admirabilis (Palestrina)
    O Sacrum Convivium (
    Panis Angelicus (Lambillotte)
    Take Up Your Cross (Royal School of Music from SJMP)
    Ubi Caritas (Durufle)

  • Durufle is made much easier if you first rehearse the consonant harmonies and then introduce the added-note melodies. Work by consonant intervals between parts since those are the easiest to recognize. A good example is the opening few measures - I would ensure that the open fourth between the two tenor parts, and the motion between the first tenor and moving bass, were secure before attempting to combine the two in close harmony.

    The Mozart becomes much easier if the function of each note is revealed - one can work from theory knowledge to ascertain the next note instead of it being a shot in the dark. Solfege may also be of use.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 281
    Some directors I've worked with send out emails with links to youtube videos of the pieces, sung by groups whose interpretations they like, for us to study before rehearsal. But really benefitting from this requires dedicated attentive study, not listening to it in the car on the way to rehearsal. So it's not as beneficial as one might hope.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • Ask choir members to whip out their phones during rehearsal, and they can record something you do IN rehearsal.

    E.g. altos, I'm going to play your part for XYZ. Whip out your phones!

    Interestingly, some people are more likely to listen to a recording they've made themselves, as opposed to one the director sends out. I think because they had ownership in the making of it.
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 157
    Great ideas. Thank you
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Carol
    Posts: 495
    Some popular pieces can be found with parts individually emphasized online on a site called Cyberbass. I use it on my computer for free. I have a friend who pays for another site,Choraline or maybe Choral line? You have to have your score in front of you because there are no lyrics, just parts pounded out, but it is helpful.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 282
    Sometimes our MD will have everyone sing a particular voice part during practice, especially if there is only one or two voices. For example, we have one tenor so Sopranos might join in to help the tenor learn the part. Sometimes the Tenor and Sopranos help the Alto's. Or, Sopranos and Alto's will sing there respective parts together, then Tenor and Alto's, Tenor and Sopranos, mix it up. That way everyone is learning and it gets the better singers to help too.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,210
    There is also the free Choralia site, founded and operated by the treasurer of CPDL.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,433
    Yes Chuck! I just found this b/c of a choir I sing in. It's really great!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Suggestion - singers should be concerned with learning their part first (individually and then later with other parts in harmony), without words. Words should come last.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,968
    At some point you might have to admit your job is to teach them reading, sometimes easiest to address in warmups. But in the meantime can the basses supply the correct solfege syllables for the tenor or alto "Ave, ave verum"? Are the lower voices involved enough with the soprano note-feeding that they learn the exact length of the comma at "…examine, in mortis" and won't be fazed by the first violins' syncopation? Can your singers apply detailed nuances asked of the tenors in an imitative piece like Dixit Maria to their own entrances?