Audiation (also called inner hearing) is the process in which pitch is produced internally in the mind of the musician, with no sound being produced out loud, and is an important skill that should be developed in singers. In all vocal production, singers must first audiate all the musical elements (pitch, rhythm, text, vowel, dynamic, etc.) prior to producing any sound. Beyond this fundamental skill, audiation is also frequently utilized by educators during sight-reading assessment at state contests and festivals. During this sight-reading assessment, audiation is used as an instructional method that allows students to practice pitch during the designated rehearsal time.
Although a useful instructional method in sight-reading and a necessary skill in vocal production, the development of this skill is often overlooked. This is understandable as the process of audiation occurs entirely in a singer’s mind, making it difficult to teach and assess. ChoralEd episode 26 addresses this challenge describing activities and a sequential approach for the teaching of audiation in the classroom.
- Sing vocal exercises with various pitches audiated.
- Incorporate simple melodic dictation.
- Notate a familiar song on the board. Have students identify this song through the use of audiation.
- After stopping in rehearsal, avoid playing starting pitches on the piano. Instead, have students audiate their starting pitch, then proceed with rehearsal as usual.
Sight-Reading Instructional Sequence for Teaching Audiation
- Audiate the entire sight-reading exercise with the piano playing vocal parts.
- Half the choir sings / half the choir audiates.
- Alternate singing and audiating every measure.
- Sing only beats one and three of every measure, audiate beats two and four.
- Sing only beat one of every measure, audiate beats two through four.
- Sing every tonic note. Audiate all other pitches.
- Audiate the entire exercise while the teacher plays beat one of every measure.
- Sing only the first beat of every system or page. Audiate all other pitches.
- Audiate the entire exercise.
To watch ChoralEd, Episode 26 on YouTube click HERE.
To listen to ChoralEd, Episode 26 on Apple Podcasts click HERE.