How do you begin your choir rehearsal?
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,455
    I think I would like to begin with a prayer.  I have not done this before and would love ideas.  Thank you.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Have you considered liturgy of the hours?
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • I always begin with vocalises... after limbering up and deep breathing. There are many varieties of these. With a small group,such as a schola, I sing out combinations of solfege syllables, making it a point to include some intervals that are difficult, even up or down more than an octave. The object is perfectly to match pitches, and equally important, to listen for and perfectly match vowel quality. I also often go around having each member say an interval of his-her own choosing, such as re-ti, and then sing it for all to hear - this is very good ear-training, and they really enjoy it.  One can do these things also with larger groups, also having them sing a variety of four-part chords, including some difficult non-standard ones, always striving for blend of pitch and vowel quality - and, the sine qua non: perfectly straight tone. You must ever be persistent and insistent on realising the goals and purposes of the warm-up. Always begin with prayer, preferably a sung collect with musical appropriateness. I even once made up a very brief 'office' for the beginning and ending of rehearsals, including Vs and Rs, psalm, collect, scriptural verse, and ending. To close rehearsals I always sing the Our Father recto tono, with the Amen descending to la-ti; this preceded by the chant Ave Maria.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    This "Prayer for Choristers" by the RSCM may be suitable: 

    Bless, O Lord, us Thy servants, 
    who minister in Thy temple. 
    Grant that what we sing with our lips, 
    we may believe in our hearts, 
    and what we believe in our hearts, 
    we may show forth in our lives. 
    Through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
    Amen.

    Thanked by 1canadash
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,455
    Thank you for your ideas.  I would love to know how long you hold rehearsals. 
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    My rehearsals were an hour a week. For warmup I tried to create simple exercises to address a particular issue we were struggling with - pronunciation, intervals, intonation, breath control, and so on.

    I definitely should have been more regular about starting or ending with prayer.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,383
    Begin:  On time.

    End:  On time.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    My rehearsals always begin (according to custom at this parish) with all reciting the collect: "Direct us, O Lord, in all of our doings with your most gracious favor. And further us with your continual help that all our works begun, continued, and ended in you may glorify your holy name and finally by your mercy obtain everlasting life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

    As for time, I do an hour and a half, two in "crunch time".
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    When we began at 6:00, with a sung Angelus.
    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,518
    My rehearsals would begin with whisky, if I could stand the taste of alcohol.
  • By seeing who's there, who's not, and then getting down to business.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,455
    Thank you again... especially for the laughs!  Alcohol is a great idea, except that I must drive home, and then it would be a bad idea. The prayers presented are lovely and so is the idea of the Angelus.  Warm up, on time!
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    re: liturgy of the hours

    If 15 minutes on vespers (evening prayer) is too long to take out, you might try compline (night prayer). It's close to 5 minutes, and it's on a one week cycle, so if you always rehearse on Tuesdays, you can make print outs, and use them every week.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Usually sing something familiar and easy to boost confidence.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Gentle physical exercise to relax muscles and encourage good posture; followed by vocal exercises progressing from yawns to relaxed jaw, open throat and unfocused vowels, to resonance, focus, agility and intonation.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    ... then there's a bit in the middle when we rehearse music for the liturgy .. followed by prayer & the pub.
  • I try to begin with this prayer:
    Direct, we beseech Thee O Lord, all our actions by Thy holy inspiration and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance, that every work and prayer of our may always begin from Thee and through Thee, be happily ended, through Christ our Lord.  (It's a collect from the long version of the Litany of the Saints).


    Then we pray for the intercession of the Immaculate Conception, St Cecilia, St Gregory, and the parish patron.

    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Yes, prayer is good. (intercession of St Cecilia)

    Warm-up:
    - Two or three long breaths, expire/exhale for 16 or 20 measures (4/4 staff).
    - Then vocalizes. Two possible patterns: CEGECDEFGFEDC or CECGGFEDC. Simple. These sequences, built on the major C chord, help the ear memorize major 3rd + minor 3rd with the 5th CG. Start on C then shift all the notes by one semitone up and repeat, etc. See how high you can go without straining your vocal chords and throat; remember: it's a warm-up.
    - Keep shoulders down, breathe with the belly. Visualize.

    There comes the chant. Relax. Enjoy.   :-)