Basic skills for singers: Teaching a kids' choir to Bow together
here are several responses. Enjoy! polly
Hi - Our directors give the kids a hand signal to bow at the waist and say to
themselves as they bow down "have I shined my shoes today?" (in 4/4 time,
maybe a slow andante). Then, as they start back up, they say to themselves
"Yes, I shined my shoes today." Works great.
Los Angeles Children's Chorus
I learned this trick while working with young singers at the Kansas City Lyric
Opera Camp, and it continues to work with children of all ages. The director
aknowledges the choir with an outstretched hand, looking back over
at the singers to let them know "this is it". As the director bows, bringing
that hand down, the choir softly (silently is best) says together "Are my shoes
tied?...Yes, they are!" This is exactly enough time to get everyone down in a
unison bow on the question, and back up smiling on the answer. Even
kindergarteners can figure out that it's not a real question, since some of us
are wearing buckle or velcro or slip on shoes, but that it's a way to keep us
all together. In an opera curtain call, the cast joins hands, and
the person in
the center raises his/hers to lead the silent Q&A. Hope you enjoy it
as much as
My other, similar trick, to get singers to relax and renew posture/blood flow
between songs of a long program, is to mouth the words "toe jam" to
this is part of our physical warm up for rehearsals, they automatically
respond, and almost always smile back at me. Thank you Ken Phillips!
Jo Anne Taylor
Minnehaha Academy Middle School Choirs
(612)721-3359, ext 2031
Here's what I do: (It works!)
(1) First I walk to the stage right side of the chorus, indicate them with
my left arm, and I bow to the audience.
(2) Next I acknowledge the accompanist, who stands and bows.
(3) Next I turn my back to the audience, raise BOTH ARMS to salute the
chorus (which is the company bow signal), turn back to the audience, and WE
ALL now bow to the audience. We remain bowed long enough to say (to
ourselves, but in rehearsal we say it outloud) the name of our chorus:
"Pilgrim Pops Chorus."
Ruth McKendree Treen
I use: palm up is acknowledgment - turn the hand over and the choir bows
(no hand turn = no now).
The bow is a silent 1 2 3 4 down 1 2 3 4 up.
I hope all is well for you!
Then I read your message -- you mean bows as in acknowledging the
audience's thunderous ovation. Short answer -- we don't do the
"choral bow." Lots of people do, and that's great. On some simple,
unobtrusive cue from the conductor. It works for many, and
sometimes, it even looks OK, but too often, it looks like a
trained-seal act. Symphony players do not take individual bows. We
don't either. Simply a personal quirk, and no offense meant against
those who perfer the group bow.
I do the main bow, and acknowledge soloists or sections,and, of
course the accompanist. I have the orch stand, etc etc -- all
Toes, bow, toes, teeth!
Choir goes up on tip-toes (not real high)
Then down from the waist to bow
Back up on the toes
And relax to a good posture with a big smile
I can do the same thing from the front and we all bow together
I can signal from the side ... they bow and I follow.
A friend of mine who always has his choir bow for concerts does it like
this: he moves to one side and takes a bow as the conductor, then he
gestures toward the choir with his hand as we all do to direct the applause
toward them. That's their cue to take a bow. When he gestures, they bow.
Just be careful. If you get too carried away, it looks like a bunch of
trained seals! But it works well, and audiences do get a kick out of,
especially if it's done well. Practice!
Have them lower their bodies from the waist up only and slowly look at their
shoes and say "have I tied my shoes?". As they come up slowly in the same
manner say " yes! I've tied my shoes". This gives them a focus point for
their eyes (their shoes) so the audience doesn't see eyeballs and the saying
is just about the right tempo for a nice relaxed bow. I have used this with
elementary through high school and it always works. Of course, don't forget
to have them say the words SILENTLY for the real thing!
Never underestimate the ability of children. They can surprise you
when presented with a challenge!)
ChildrenSong of New Jersey