Jan 172005

I’m still going through choral conducting books to find short snippets of good advice for my handouts. Here’s the next batch–notes taken from “The Wednesday Workout” by Richard Devinney:

  • You should spend a great deal of time studying the text of a hymn or anthem, as the text is usually what gives it a place in the worship service.
  • As you study your score, mark it up… but use a pencil so you can change your mind!
  • The size of your arm movements should indicate dynamics, but should also be proportional to the size of your group. Larger arm movements will be required for a congregation than for a 16-voice choir.
  • Good sound starts with good posture. The choir is likely to emulate the director’s posture.
  • A major element of effective conducting is eye contact. Learn your score, and look at your choir. You can’t expect them to look at you if you’re not looking at them.
  • Do not sing while conducting. Listen instead.
  • We talk too much and sing too little.
  • Humor will be one of your best tools. Laughter relaxes the singer, which makes the sound better.
  • When the choir needs to work on learning notes for extended periods of time, break into sections. You’ll get twice as much accomplished and avoid boring the idle sections to tears.
  • It’s impossible to blend voices unless the vowel sounds are sung uniformly by everyone in the group.
  • Words should be sung as they are spoken, but we don’t all speak them correctly in the first place. The authority on pronunciation is the dictionary.
  • Choose music that you love. You will be more successful in directing music you love because you will have more enthusiasm for it.
  • Ask choir members to rate their enjoyment of a song after they have presented it. Find out if it is a selection they feel is worth repeating in the future. Note the response for reference.
  • To recruit new choir members, an announcement in the bulletin or newsletter will do little more than to let a few people know that you would welcome new members. Personal contact by the director is the best option for recruiting.

Some of these may be duplicates of previous (or future!) entries. I’ll weed out duplicates as I combine them for my handouts, but it’s too much work to do here. 🙂 Yeah, I’m lazy.

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