- Pass the Ear Test
Can you mimic the tone of a single note pressed anywhere the entire length of the keyboard?
Can you easily replay a passage played on the piano?
Are you sensitive enough to hear nuances on melodies and sing them easily?
Sadly, some persons, even those in the chorus find these things difficult. So very few are the individuals with the innate ear/talent to easily pass the tests.
If you are one of them, you are blessed. If you’re not, you need to give double effort. A less-endowed but diligent learner can also pass the tests. But as I said, they need to give more.
If you consistently fail the ear tests, that’s another matter.
- Interest Quotient
Interest, a.k.a. dedication, a.k.a. devotion, is a very important barometer if a choir/group is on its way to excellence.
Do you, as members look forward to the rehearsals?
Do you study on your own?
Do you carry your song sheets with you?
*Sometimes it’s ironic to see people eagerly join the choir, but always give excuses they cannot come to practice. What it meant is, their choir responsibility gets pushed to the least of their priorities. They can easily forego of the rehearsals. They go to all kinds of places and occasions and if it conflicts with the choir, guess what gets booted out of the schedule.
*It’s refreshing to see singers really make time for the sessions, and hardly absent themselves. You can also see them all focused on the tasks at hand. Some others are distracted and bored but they are not. You see them thirst for the routines and the learning.
Are you the kind of learner who is excited to try something new? Or are you the type who frowns at changes and difficult routines? Losers (sorry, no pun intended) are the ones who find themselves silently or loudly complaining about every little hard thing sent their way. Winners are the ones who look at the task and with focused resolve deliver.
Sometimes success over challenges lies on the attitude.
In short, be teachable. Accept tasks. Focus on the tasks. Deliver smoothly.
- Choral Sound Unity
Individuals as we are, we developed unique ways of using our voices whether it be in speaking or in singing. We have different accents, didn’t we? And some of us speak/sing in modulated voice and still some of us do nasally. Some have high pitched voices, and vice versa.
In the chorus, it is given that we have different vocal ranges. But speaking of unity, we need to learn a united process in singing. And it is always with a full-throated ease. Sing vowels the same way, always vertically, never ever horizontally, unless the song asks for it, e.g. in singing tribal songs, ethnic pieces and the like.
If a choir is to be photographed, everyone should be captured with the same facial movements, the same mouth opening, the same jaw drop, the same facial expression, etc. Nobody should be deviating from the group goal.
I have always tried to go the extra mile. Aside from the usual drill a choir director goes through, from time to time, I create mp3 vocal guides. Sadly, very few people subscribe to them. Very few actually download those mp3s. And the result is predictable: very few actually deliver excellence. Summation: lackluster group performance. Why? Because there are people who would rather idle or play around. Until judgment day. I mean they realize how foolishly they stashed away all the help they can get too late in the day. Well, some of them awakes a day or two before judgment day, and cram their way to the performance.
Having a great choir is never incidental. A good choir is composed of good members. Who are these good people? They are the ones who give a great deal of their focused ANALYSIS, THOUGHT and EFFORT. If every singer can honestly say they carry these ideals in a preparation, the result will be astounding. The result will be rewarding. The result will be encouraging to go on and improve the singing craft.