In ChoralEd Episode 16 Vicki Bailey shares some vocal exercises for the development of ensemble cohesion. Ms. Bailey suggests the use of kinesthetic movement as a means to enhance an ensemble’s collective musical experience. Kinesthetic activities to internalize the pulse include gently tapping the shoulder of a neighbor or walking in tempo. Additional kinesthetic activities include drawing the phrase with the arm or taking a step forward on the most important word(s) in a phrase.
The development of a collective ensemble breath may also further enhance ensemble cohesion. To enhance ensemble breath, Ms. Bailey suggests the following exercises.
- Sustained breathing, exhaling on a hiss (with a kinesthetic aid).
- Conduct the ensemble asking students to follow your changing tempi, dynamics, and articulation in real time.
- Clap on the rest to ensure accurate rhythmic alignment.
Ms. Bailey incorporates rounds in her ensembles to address specific ensemble cohesion challenges including tempo, balance, cut-offs, breath, and onset. In addition, she suggests addressing ensemble cohesion challenges by creating vocal exercises based on the ensemble’s repertoire.
To watch ChoralEd, Episode 16 on YouTube click HERE