New Choir Teacher. Not sure how to approach some issues.
Date: September 19, 2013
Hi guys. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Here are some things that I'm dealing with:
1. I have a select group, and one of my pieces has a G above the Treble Clef in the soprano 1 line. While trying to emphazie relaxing, having a good core support, and exhaling the note, a few of my sopranos aren't quite getting it, which causes stress, and self doubt, and makes it even harder. Now, I'm a male, so the female voice is somewhat a mystery. I do tell them to sing on the vowel, avoid consonants, and to just support each other. They're great ladies, and I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can for them. But when one of them asks for specifics, I draw a blank. I warm them up each day, and we do go into that range and beyond, just to vocally stretch them. Honestly, I think it's psychological, but I can't look at a 17 year old girl and say "It's in your head". Another explanation could be that they just aren't ready to sing that high, but I have no idea how to tell it's that from any of the other reasons. Anything you guys can advise? They're terrific students and I want to make sure I'm the best teacher I can be for them.
2. Now, I also have a non select group. These are students, 9-12th grade, who have joined choir due to it being an elective, and probably one they viewed as an easy A. Unfortunately for them, I demand excellence and have a high quality to my expectations, which so far, they seem to be into. However, as well behaved as these kids are, the soprano section can not hold pitch. To the extent, where I'll play an A in the treble clef, and they will sing anywhere but there. What I usually end up doing is figuring out the closest note that the section is singing, play that on the piano and work on that, but it's time consuming, and not always guaranteed to work. I move them around the classroom frequently, so that we can try and find the best placement, but it's hard. They're relatively enthusiastic, which is great, but if I teach them a part, and it could be 5 measures, the second they sing it as a section, it falls apart. As with the first issue, I think it's in their head, but I have no tricks in my bag other than what was taught me. Firm core, relaxed shoulders, big belly of air, and a wide and deep vocal space.
3. Final issue (for now, and thanks again for taking the time to read this). Any advice on how to slowly move an airy, spread tenor sound to something a bit more forward? I'm modifying the vowels constantly, and it's working a bit. But it could just be that these are young men and their voices are still changing.
I appreciate it guys. Thank you.
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