Choir Training Workshop with Clive Walkley
17 January 2009
Review by Tracker

Choir training is a vast subject hardly covered in a two hour session. Clive however gave us his valued advice on the main topics of voice production, rehearsal techniques, conducting and resources.

He started by giving us some warm-up exercises including scales and rounds with emphasis on posture, correct breathing with an open throat and vowel production. The placing on consonants at the ends of words was also explained. Advice about sight reading was to recognise patterns, to separate melody and rhythm when rehearsing and to observe the dynamic shape of phrasing and the correct word stresses. Rehearsal technique should observe the personal needs of our elderly singers who may have hearing and concentration difficulties. There is also the need for clear instructions, conducting style reflecting the style of the music, the need to communicate with singers by eye to eye technique and a cheerful encouraging style of leadership. There is a need to avoid too long periods sitting or standing and boring choristers by spending too much time on rehearsing one part.

The remaining time was spent looking through and singing from the many books which Clive brought with him. This event reminded me of the epic survey of communion settings given by Jeremy Suter. In both cases I think there is a need for us to be able to follow up the valued advice received by browsing through the resources or seeking further advice, possibly in a "gardener's question time" event. We hope to implement such a follow up principle in our forthcoming keyboard skills course.

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