Vocal tips ‐ Dorothy Nancekievill (International Staff Songster Leader) 1. Care of voices Start every rehearsal with either some gentle vocal warm ups OR as time is always pressing, choose repertoire that is placed in the middle of everyone’s range to loosen up the voice Humming is an excellent form of warm up, as it is gentle on the vocal chords and helps the voice to be well placed Encourage good, controlled breathing. Never force your singers to over sing, or sing out of their range 2. Choice of repertoire/rehearsals Always choose repertoire that suits your particular group – maximise strengths and minimise weaknesses. Give your singers confidence by excellent preparation, avoid making them feel vulnerable at any time. Rehearse different sections, combinations of parts and if it is possible, organise some sectionals Do choose repertoire regularly to challenge and develop your group and push the boundaries, but only perform songs that have been well rehearsed, as every performance is important. Try to make the rehearsal an energising, motivating and joyful experience. 3. Essentials Clear diction is essential – concentrate on clear consonants and pure vowels Establishing a secure sense of pulse is only way to achieve accurate and tight rhythms. Where rhythms are challenging subdivide the beat and rehearse slowly until everyone is together Plan the shape of each phrase to reflect the meaning of the words and to give it a real sense of direction. Think of the whole piece and make music, do not just sing notes Work hard to achieve a good ensemble sound, by getting the singers to listen as much as sing. Persuade them to sing with their ears!! 4. Communicate Once the words and music have been sorted the biggest priority is to communicate with the listener. Each song is different the atmosphere required needs to be reflected in people’s faces This is done best by the group that is prepared, motivated, and sincere, and in control of what they are doing. I once heard singing described as the “Gateway to Holiness” and that God could use music offered, even by people who often feel unworthy, as a way to connect with others and bring them closer to God. It is wonderful to know that we can be part of this special ministry. Every group throughout the territory has different personnel and special talents, I believe that any group doing their best can communicate the gospel effectively and challenge both those listening and those singing.