Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tonal Tuesdays - Practising with Purpose

Our choir has regular practices every OTHER week.  That means that we need to make every minute count.  We will not compromise on the quality of our music so we don't take short cuts.  As mentioned before, we will change an ending or chord here and there if it improves the sound.  

I recently read about a choir called Village Harmony, that got together for only one week, spent 7 hours a day and prepared 30 - 35 songs to sing in concert.  Another conductor prepares choirs in 6 weeks, using no sheet music and often including dance moves in a workshop he calls Singing Safaris for a concert.  He contends that they work so fast, the conscious mind has no time to accept the impossibilities.

I think it is amazing that the choirs and the leaders have the energy to want to work with such speed and intensity. I know that before a concert or a musical, the practices can be intense but the time is short.  I know you can relate when I say that during those moments, you can wonder why you thought this was a good idea.  That kind of intensive, time sensitive work on something as pleasurable as choir music really does not turn my crank. I would feel like the fellow in the clip art minus the cigar.
I really enjoy our practices.  We work hard but we have fun.  I am certain the people who work under self-imposed short deadlines may have fun too as their personalities may be suited to that.  However, it isn't my style.  We have had to step up the pace by times when needed but I don't think I would ever want to do that on purpose as a format.

Practise is important so that camaraderie  as well as sound be considered.  You work as a group and the more comfortable you are together, the better the sound.  I wonder if that kind of feeling can be created in a short, intense time.

We start our season off with a pot luck dinner and practice.  It is so fun to be more casual and to learn about each other as people.  I love our choir.  Each of the member is different and brings a different level of skills and background that enriches us.  That kind of connection would be lost in the speed singing format.  Perhaps it would form after given the chance.  To me, it is the people who enrich me and the music and the people for whom we perform.

Do you agree?


Colleen said...

I think if you were going to do really intense practice sessions that everyone would really have to be in the mood for it to work. If you weren't it could be disaster. At least with it a bit spread out you can learn to improve your sound and have good days and bad days.

Embro Thistle Singers said...

That is a really good point in that all the people would have to agree and be ready for that intensity. I guess if you knew that it was intense for a short time it might be a good challenge. Then again ---?