Magic Choral Trick #176 Clench the Teeth and Perk Up the Tempo
Well – not exactly Clenching. More like keeping the teeth together – touching lightly.
This technique seems to be working to help pick up the tempo of a song my women’s chorus already knows really well. And as we know – when a song gets locked into body memory, it takes some effort to change things.
We’re trying to shift from thinking of the song in 4 at metronome marking 160, to singing it in 2 at 96. Potential here for it to be a bit of a dog’s breakfast.
However, we found last night that if we really limited the amount of lip and mouth movement (by keeping the teeth closed), singing it under the breath AND using the metronome, there’s real hope.
Everyone understands the importance of limited tongue, jaw and lip movement in synchronizing an uptempo piece, but giving the body just the one instruction – in this case, keeping the teeth lightly closed – seems to work better than constantly having to make judgement calls about exactly how much mouth movement is ok.
I promised the chorus that as soon as the synchronization at this new tempo is clean, I’d let them open their mouths again (But not too much).